I had the other day a question that made me dwell deeper into the self harming aspect of tattooing and what it actually is. This is what my point of view on the matter.
Are tattoos a form of self harm? As tattoos are made by inserting a foreign object (ink pigment) into the dermis (second) layer of the skin using needles, it CAN’T be certified as self harm, as the wound is not created by the person receiving the tattoo, nor its created to inflict pain one oneself.
So let’s dig a bit deeper on the aspect of what tattoos actually mean to people and why they get them done.
Self Harm or Body Art
We are inclined to think of self harm when we consider a person that harms herself for the aspect of self punish or feeling the need to feel external pain in order to deal with interior (psychological) pain .
So how can tattoos be considered self harm?
As the process of tattooing involves pain in order to create the tattoo design in one’s skin, and the fact that we basically pay a “stranger” to inflict this pain upon us, might steer your mind in that direction.
The truth couldn’t be any further from this, as most people accept the pain (reluctantly) just to be able to decorate their body with images or designs that usually represent moments in their life that made them feel proud (like the birth of a child) or even to commemorate the loss of a loved one.
Even tattoos that might not have an apparent meaning and are just artwork immortalize in the person getting the tattoo that period of their life. I’m sure each one of us that have tattoos will agree that we can remember the moment in life they got each and every tattoo and can elaborate or how they were feeling, their friends or just stories related to that moment in time.
The pain aspect of getting a tattoo is always the negative part of the process and everybody dreads those moments, but I am yet to meet a person that has a professional tattoo that isn’t proud of showing it off.
The only way a tattoo can be considered a self harming method is if somebody gets a bad tattoo from an inexperienced or bad artist and keeps going back just to be scarred again with “tattoo fails”. But this is mostly down to customers always looking for the cheapest tattoo. Remember:”Cheap tattoos aren’t good, and good tattoos aren’t cheap.”
For example: If a proud father gets his sons portrait tattooed onto his chest, to immortalize his love for his child, how can this be classified as self harming?!
If we were to consider tattoos as self harming, then shouldn’t semi permanent make up be considered self harm?
You have more chances of thinking of plastic surgery as self harm or body mutilation than tattoos.
Tattoos are art, and we are basically decorating our bodies. Exactly how we decorate a Christmas tree, where each one is decorated in a different style with different ornaments to suit individual taste and bring joy to the person looking at is, or how we decorate our homes to suit our own individual preferences, the same can be said about tattoos.
I’m sure a google search will reveal some truly body art with some absolutely stunning tattoos, but also some really horrific examples, nowhere do tattoos come close to self harming.
Tattoos vs Cutting
Tattooing is done by having specially designed needles pierce through the epidermis (the first layer of skin) and depositing ink into the dermis (second layer of the skin).
Tattooing usually done in order to display an artistic image, to send a message or to celebrate one’s individuality.
One of the most common ways to self harm is by cutting through the skin all the way into the hypodermis (the fat tissue of the skin) and sometimes even deeper.
Self harming is how some people deal with internal pain, and need to compensate for it with external pain. Other times it is done as a method of self punishment.
As you can see, tattooing and self harming are two totally different subjects and in a lot of cases I have covered self harming scars with tattoos, as the client wanted to celebrate the fact that he has got help and dealt with the psychological issues.
Piercings And Self Harming
Piercings have also been seen at one point in history as self harming, as they could have been done onto one’s self.
A lot of times i have overheard conversations (usually by older people) where they considered piercings and tattoos as a cry for help or a mental instability.
Piercings and tattoos are solely done by people to decorate their bodies and to show off their individuality, and although piercings and tattoos were once taboo, nowadays are a very common sight.
How long does a tattoo take to heal? Usually it takes between 4-6 weeks. Although the epidermis (first layer of the skin) might heal in 2-3 weeks, the dermis (second layer of the skin) is still not fully healed.
Is sunbathing bad for tattoos? Yes, UV rays are very damaging to tattoos, especially in the healing stages of the tattoos. Always wear 50+ SPF sunscreen whenever you are out in the sun with a fresh tattoo.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will try to answer them as soon as possible.