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How do tattoos work?

How do tattoos work? | Roxxi & Sioux Tattoo Studio Melboourne

So you know what tattoos are but don't really understand how they exactly work? Have you been thinking about what makes the tattoo remain permanently in and on your skin? Well, I am here to answer all those questions you might have about tattoos and how they work?


When it comes to getting inked, it literally means inserting ink into the skin. There are a variety of tools that have been used to tattoo people over the years, but generally these are a needle of some sort - holding ink that then punctures the skin.

Unlike the type of needle used to draw blood from the body, the needles on a tattoo machine aren't hollow. Instead these needles work as a group that carry ink into the tiny spaces between each needle. This is referred to as capillary action. As this group of needles punctures the skin, it deposits the ink right beneath the skin surface to start creating your fresh ink!


To unpack what makes tattoos last how they we need to look at our skin. Our skin is divided into three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. The tiny group of tattoo needles, which we tend to refer to as "tattoo needle" pierces straight through the epidermis. That is the outermost layer that we can see and touch daily.

The ink is then able to be deposited into the dermis, which contains hair follicles, sweat glands, and blood vessels. Unlike the cells in the epidermis which continuously shed, the skin cells in the dermis take way longer for the body to replace. This is part of the reason why tattoos stay permanent.

While the body is being tattooed its natural immune system responds by sending messages along with special cells to help heal the wound being made by getting tattooed. Some of these cells job is to try to remove the ink particles. You will likely notice this the first time you take your cover off your tattoo or watch ink appear in your second skin. This is completely natural but most of the ink particles are way too big for your body to process completely so the instead it traps them within the dermis.

Over time these trapped particles will start to deteriorate as the body keeps trying to break them down. This is why tattoos may start to fade or bleed. However, the tattoo will mostly remain visible through the epidermis for a lifetime! Nice!


When it comes to getting a tattoo there are a few things to do first. Of course, think about what image you would like to get tattooed and where on your body you want it placed. Our super friendly tattoo artists love chatting ink, and would be stoked to help you plan your ink.

Our tattoo studio in Fitzroy has been issued with a health and safety certificate for tattooing by the Yarra Council. So you know that you're being well looked after in a clean and safe environment. We pride ourselves on our high hygiene standards. After getting tattooed at Roxxi's you will be provided with aftercare information. This is super important info to ensure your tattoo appearance and longevity is tip-top.

What are you waiting for? It's time to book your next tattoo!

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