Newbie - "raised" tattoos, why?

topic posted Wed, November 15, 2006 - 7:27 PM by  andrew
All... I am new to this stuff and considering getting my first tattoo soon.

I noticed that tattoos on some people look and feel (to the touch) like they are "raised", and some others look like they are under the skin and the skin surface feel smooth to the touch.

My questions: Why the difference? Do I have a choice?

Thx for any pointers.
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • Re: Newbie - "raised" tattoos, why?

    Thu, November 16, 2006 - 8:27 AM
    In my experience, it depends on how new that tattoo is and how the artist handles his application.

    When mine are fresh, I can feel them for a day or so; after they heal, it's just like regular skin.

    My first one, however, was done my a guy that *hammered* me. I don't feel it constantly, but if I get really hot or overly tense I can feel it. The guy I use now -- and who has done 15 of my 17 tattoos -- has a much lighter hand. His work stays just as well, but I don't have any of the "scarring"
    • Unsu...

      Re: Newbie - "raised" tattoos, why?

      Mon, March 5, 2007 - 2:13 AM
      My tattoo guy told me once it's because the particles of ink expand in the heat, at a higher rate the the rest of the skin.
      Mine do it from time to time and then go down again, it seems like quite a viable option.
  • Re: Newbie - "raised" tattoos, why?

    Sun, November 19, 2006 - 5:59 PM
    Thx for your replies... sound to me that it depends on how the "heavy handed" the artist is!
    • Re: Newbie - "raised" tattoos, why?

      Tue, November 21, 2006 - 7:57 AM
      that's very true
      It's just scarring
      Though I didn't think it was so neat at first, I actually kind of like to trace the lines on one of mine.
      • Re: Newbie - "raised" tattoos, why?

        Thu, November 23, 2006 - 7:06 AM
        A tattoo is, by its very nature, a scar. The trick is to do as little damage to the skin as possible while applying the tattoo, so that the scar tissue that forms is minimal (sufficient to retain the pigment forever, yet not so significant as to cause a three-dimensional scar). When a tattooer "hammers" an area, it damages the skin sufficiently to cause 3D scarring. IT's a matter of training, knowledge of equipment, knowledge of skin, etc. There's also customers who habitually keloid (3D scarring- people of African descent tend to keloid, which is why some scarification practices of great beauty evolved in the African continent).

        That said, some tattoos with thick outlines will have a raised line, but smooth color, which is not really a bad thing, but if it happen regularly, the tattooer really should be considering a different machine setup for his/her liner. When the color/solid areas do this, it's due to a) overworking an area, b) a hooked needle turning the skin to hamburger, or c) customer care, post-tattoo, being such that the healing process is interrupted by picking, scrubbing, sunburn, etc.

        Hope this helps.


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