Does cosmetic tattoo hurt?
In this post I want to talk about a question that is constantly repeated when performing a cosmetic tattoo, does it hurt? Does it hurt much? Will it hurt? How to prevent it from hurting me?
Does cosmetic tattoo hurt?
The answer is YES , of course, it hurts, although it is tolerable pain, and since pain is subjective, it depends on each person and their threshold and / or sensitivity to pain.
Why does cosmetic tattoo hurt?
The answer is simple, NEEDLES are used.
To perform micropigmentation, a machine called a dermograph is used. The dermograph is a kind of turbine that has a motor that transmits movements to a tip and at that tip is where the needle is inserted to perform cosmetic tattoo.
With this needle, the pigment is introduced into the dermis, just below the epidermis (in the basal germ layer) of the skin, with a depth between 0.8-1.6 mm.
The dermis is a connective tissue that is vascularized, in which we find abundant nerve endings, and these endings are responsible for us having the sensation of pain.
Although it is a very fine needle that is used to make micropigmentation, and at a very superficial level, punctures are produced (painful stimuli) to be able to introduce the pigment, and those punctures hurt, and the pain will depend on the individual perception of each one, and the area to be pigmented, as the more vascularized areas will be more susceptible to the sensation of pain (for example, a lip micropigmentation is more painful than a decorative micropigmentation (decorative microtatto) on the back.
The thickness of the needles ranges between 0.15-1’75mm, and within the type of needles, we find that there are several combinations of needles according to the heads, being 1,3,5,8 round, flat 4 or 4 tips. 6 points, 5-7 point magnum…. All these combinations are to facilitate the procedure to be performed, such as filling a surface with color, such as filling an areola, to outline a lip … etc, and also to more needles more pain.
Speed also influences, fast speeds hurt more than slow speeds, and an outline hurts more than a filling.
What is pain?
Pain is a localised and subjective sensory perception that can be more or less intense, annoying, or unpleasant and that is felt in a part of the body and is the result of excitation or stimulation of specialised sensory nerve endings.
The skin has a large number of receptors, each one is specific to a type of stimulus. The pressure receptors in the skin are called mechanoreceptors, the heat and cold receptors are the thermoreceptors, and the nociceptors are the pain receptors.
The pain is produced by the stimulation of the nociceptors.
What does the pain depend on?
The pain will depend on the area of the body, the duration of the session (the longer the more pain), the speed of the needles (the higher the speed, the more pain) and the depth (the deeper the more pain) and the tolerance of the pain of the person.
Environmental factors, such as cold, also influence pain, a cold room causes more pain sensation.
Noise, a very noisy room makes the pain more noticeable than if you are in a room with a relaxed atmosphere (the ideal is to have soft music in the background, although it is not always possible)
Another factor that influences is if they have had a previous cosmetic tattoo, and the experience they had. If they remember it as something pleasant, bearable, they will have less pain sensation, compared to a previous session that they remember as painful.
The current state of health also influences the perception of pain. A person who is going to undergo a micropigmentation of oncological eyebrows, who has received news of illness, and therefore his mood is down, will have a greater perception of pain.
An experience of a family member or acquaintance, who has undergone micropigmentation, also means that he or she is already predisposed to having pain or not having pain.
Negative experiences make you have a greater predisposition to pain.
What areas hurt the most?
The areas most sensitive to pain, because they have a greater number of nerve endings, are: the lips, eyebrows, eyelids, hands, fingers, feet, toes, and bony areas (the tapping of the needle rumbles against bone, and there is no soft tissue to dampen the action of the needle)
In cosmetic tattoo, people refer to lips, eyebrows and eyeliner as very painful and identify it as annoying or strange sensation, and areolas, in the case of performing an areola in a breast undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy, as a rare sensation but not painful, and in the case of the periareolar scar they have a fine feeling of stiffness or hypersensitivity, this also depends on the time that has elapsed since the surgery.
How is the pain experienced during micropigmentation?
Most of the people report that the pain is bearable, that it is not a great pain, but an unpleasant sensation that stops when it has just been pigmented.
They liken it to passing an electric toothbrush through the skin continuously, others report that it hurts much less than plucking the eyebrows, others liken it to a kind of unpleasant tickling.
Those who have had previous tattoos say that it has nothing to do with the tattoo, that “this doesn’t hurt.”
Ultimately, there are as many pain perception experiences as there are people.
What to do to reduce the pain?
The area will not be anaesthetised as such, since they are minimally invasive procedures, and for this, what is used is a topical anaesthetic, and what the topical anaesthetic does is to numb the area.
An anaesthetic ointment will be applied topically at least half an hour before pigmentation, which will have to be covered for the stiffening or numbing sensation to take effect.
At all times we are going to notice that they are doing something to us, that they are prodding, it is a sensation like “stinging”
Topical anesthesia will continue to be applied throughout the cosmetic tattoo procedure, since a single application will be insufficient. Keep in mind that each procedure lasts between 30-90 minutes, depending on what is to be performed, and the effect of topical anesthesia does not cover that long, so frequent applications must be made.
Once the process is finished, it will be necessary to apply cold to the pigmented area, in this way the inflammation will be reduced, and the pain that appears after pigmentation will be alleviated (usually when the pigmentation ends the pain stops)
What happens after micropigmentation?
During the first hours, after micropigmentation, and due to the healing process in the area, it is normal to have a sensation of pain and / or stinging. The important thing here is not to touch the area or scratch. Also the first hours the area is usually inflamed, but in a matter of hours the inflammation decreases.
Usually after 3 hours the pain usually disappears.
In the case of the lips, and if the mucosa is touched, they are usually inflamed and there is a feeling of discomfort, rather than pain.
It is advisable to put local cold, protecting the skin from burns by the cold
In conclusion, cosmetic tattoo hurts, although the pain felt varies from person to person. To avoid or reduce pain, anesthetic ointments are used which make the area desensitized to pain. Some areas are more sensitive to pain than other areas and this is due to their location and the number of nociceptors in the area. There are also external factors that influence the perception of pain.