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Types of Tattoos

Modern tattoos use tattoo inks, tattooing needles, and tattoo machines to apply ink. The artist uses tattoo ink sets and applies the ink to the skin using tattoo needles and tattoo machines which hold the needles and cover larger surfaces or allow for precision work. Customers looking for these tattoos can visit tattoo artists and parlors, which are modern and regulated by health authorities.

Traditional tattoos via hand-tapping involve a short stick that has a needle attached. The stick is hit rapidly with another stick, causing the needle to bounce in and out of the skin, inserting ink into the skin. While this is done, an assistant or another artist must stretch the skin taut. This hand-tapping technique has origins in Native American traditions and in Polynesian traditions. It is still used in some locations and there are a few artists in the US who practice the technique.

Traditional Japanese tattoos, also known as Tebori, use an ancient technique that is passed down from master to apprentice. This type of tattoo makes no use of tattoo machines. Instead, tattoo artists use individual needles to create the tattoos. The process is more painful and much longer than the process used with modern, Western tattoo equipment. However, the Tebori tattoo method also creates very intricate and detailed tattoos that are truly one-of-a-kind. Tattoo masters in Japan spend many years studying the art, so they achieve a high level of mastery. Some traditional tattoos are associated with organized crime in Japan.

Yantra tattooing is another ancient practice of tattooing, popular in Thailand and other Asian countries. Traditionally, the tattoos were made with sharpened bamboo sticks of spears. The tattoos are considered to have an almost sacred quality and are said to bring protection as well as luck to the wearer. To get this type of tattoo, customer often must go to special temples, such as the Wat Bang Phra in Thailand.

Temporary tattoos are not really tattoos at all, but are rather stickers which are applied to the skin and can be easily removed. These so-called tattoos do not use any traditional tattooing equipment. However, temporary tattoos may have a unique and interesting application in the future. In 2011, researchers announced that a ultra-thin electronic device, attached to the skin in the same manner as a temporary tattoo, could revolutionize medicine. The electronic temporary tattoo can monitor a patient’s heart beat, muscle activity, and brain waves. Scientists believe that in the future it could have other applications as well.

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