What is skin for?
If we did not have skin, we would die very quickly. It insulates us, keeping us warm in cold weather and cool in the heat; keeps us hydrated and also waterproofs us; and protects our insides from the outside world. It holds us, surrounds us, binds us, envelops us.
We breathe through it, absorb things through it and excrete stuff from it.
We feel with our skin: touch, temperature, pressure and pain. We relate to the world and other people with our skin.
The skin has two layers:
- The outer epidermis, the protective layer which is constantly being made and shed and which gives our skin its colour;
- The deeper dermis, which contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and oil and sweat glands. This is the layer into which tattoo ink is injected.
Our skin is part of our identity. This is a two-edged sword, for as our physical skin separates and protects our insides from the world around us, so does the nature of our skin identify us by colour, race, nationality and culture. These differences have been used to divide us, perhaps since time began, even though beneath the skin, we are all the same.
Tattooing ourselves is also a two-edged sword. Many of us do it to stand out, to be different, rebellious, to look cool, but if enough of us are doing it, we all start looking the same! So then our tattoos have to be more and more extreme to make an impact on others, and to satisfy ourselves.
This process can actually become addictive and before you know it, you can find yourself covered with images you may later regret, not only aesthetically, but physically.
Increasingly it is being shown that having tattoo ink in the skin can act as a long-term irritant that can cause skin disease, autoimmune diseases which can also affect other organs such as the eyes, and even cancer.
So if you are considering a tattoo, please think before you ink…
- Why are you doing it?
- What purpose will it serve?
- How are you feeling?
- Are you in a great place to make a permanent decision that may affect the rest of your life?
- Could you possibly regret it? If so, please think again…
Take a moment to appreciate your skin…how lovely it is…what purpose it serves…whether clogging it up with ink that your body will be trying to clear for the rest of your life, thus overworking your immune system and possibly activating autoimmune disease and even cancer…is really what you want to do right now.
And if you do it anyway, and then you change your mind… we are here.
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