Tattoos and their removal

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A tattoo is a usually decorative mark visible on the surface of the skin. Tattoos are created by inserting pigment in the form of dyes or ink between the top two layers of the skin.
The removal of tattoos usually occurs with specialized lasers that break down the visible pigments. It is not always possible to completely eliminate the appearance of the pigment under the skin. For this reason, some people choose to conceal an old tattoo by having a newer one put over it.
Tattooing has been practiced since prehistoric times. The reasons for tattooing vary considerably in different time periods and cultures. The English word "tattoo" is thought to have its origin in the Tahitian language.
Currently in the United States, tattooing occurs for cosmetic, religious, sentimental, and aesthetic reasons. Tattooing is also popular to symbolize affiliation, such as to a gang, the military, or an ethnic group.
In the United States, both state and local municipalities govern the legal aspects of tattooing, such as licensing and health education requirements of tattoo artists and individuals who remove tattoos. The regulations for the removal of tattoos using lasers are more strictly enforced.
In recent years, tattooing has become a more accepted practice among many Americans. However, an increasing number of individuals are also seeking to have their tattoos altered or removed. In addition, some local governments pay for former gang members to have their tattooed symbols of affiliation removed.

Related Terms

Dermal pigmentation, electric tattoo machine, laser tattoo removal, skin pigmentation, tattoo ink, tattoo pigment.