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Tattooing has been a prehistoric Eurasian practice since Neolithic times.In ancient China, Tattoo has often been associated with criminals and bandits since at least Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC to 256 BC). Tattoos have been used as cultural symbols among many tribal population as well as Caste based Hindu population of India.Tattooing has been a part of Filipino life since pre-Hispanic colonisation of the Philippine Islands, tattooing in the Philippines to some were a form of rank and accomplishments, some believed that tattoos had magical qualities. During the gradual process of Christianization in Europe, tattoos were often considered remaining elements of paganismand generally legally prohibited.

Tattooing for spiritual and decorative purposes in Japan is thought to extend back to at least the Jōmon or Paleolithic period (approximately 10,000 BCE) and was widespread during various periods for both the Japanese and the native Ainu.

Between 1603 – 1868 Japanese tattooing was only practiced by the “ukiyo-e” (The floating world culture). generally firemen, manual workers and prostitutes wore tattoos which communicated their status. Between 1720 – 1870 Criminals were tattooed as a visible mark of punishment, this actually replaced having ears and noses removed. A criminal would often receive a single ring on their arm for each crime committed which easily conveyed their criminality. This practice was eventually abolished by the “Meji” government who banned the art of tattooing altogether, viewing it as barbaric and unrespectable, this subsequently forced a sub culture of criminals and outcasts, many of whom were the old Samurai warriors (“Ronin” – Master less). These people had no place in “decent society” and were frowned upon, they were kept separate and simply could not integrate into mainstream society because of their obvious visible tattoos, this forced them into criminal activities which ultimately formed the roots for the modern Japanese mafia – “Yakuza” for which tattoos in Japan have almost become synonymous.During the latter decades of the 20th century tattooing became a popular social practice worldwide. Many younger (and some older) people today either have aspirations to have a tattoo somewhere on their body, or already have one or more. Some elect for one or several small tattoos such as butterflies, flowers, or other designs, while others may have significant portions of their skin covered. Popular along these lines are the ‘half-sleeve’, having the upper arm covered in tattoos, or ‘full-sleeve’, which includes the upper and lower arms. Whether or not to get a tattoo which is visible while wearing clothing is a matter of taste, but also involves consideration of future employment opportunities, and societal and family pressures.

The Jewish Positions

Orthodox Jews, in application of Halakha (Jewish Law), reveal Leviticus 19:28 prohibits getting tattoos: Do not make gashes in your skin for the dead. Do not make any marks on your skin. I am God. One reading of Leviticus is to apply it only to the specific ancient practice of rubbing the ashes of the dead into wounds; but modern tattooing is included in other religious interpretations. Orthodox/Traditional Jews also point to Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 180:1, that elucidates the biblical passage above as a prohibition against markings beyond the ancient practice, including tattoos. Maimonides concluded that regardless of intent, the act of tattooing is prohibited (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Idolatry 12:11).

Conservative Jews point to the next verse of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 180:2), “If it [the tattoo] was done in the flesh of another, the one to whom it was done is blameless” – this is used by them to say that tattooing yourself is different from obtaining a tattoo, and that the latter may be acceptable. Orthodox Jews disagree, and read the text as referring to forced tattooing—as was done during the Holocaust—which is not considered a violation of Jewish Law on the part of the victim. In another vein, cutting into the skin to perform surgery and temporary tattooing used for surgical purposes (e.g.: to mark the lines of an incision) are ped in the Shulhan Arukh 180:3.

In most sectors of the religious Jewish community, having a tattoo does not prohibit participation, and one may be buried in a Jewish cemetery and participate fully in all synagogue ritual.

Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews neither condemn nor condone tattooing.

Christian Positions

Leviticus 19:28 is often cited by Christians as a verse prohibiting tattoos. According to the King James Version of the Bible, the verse states, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am LORD.” While it may appear that the passage disallows any markings of the flesh, even applying to the modern-day use of tattoos. Christians who believe that the religious doctrines of the Old Testament are superseded by the New Testamentmay still find explicit or implicit directives against tattooing.

Muslim positions

Sharia (or Islamic Law), the majority of Sunni Muslims hold that tattooing is religiously forbidden (along with most other forms of ‘permanent’ physical modification). This view arises from references in the Prophetic Hadith which denounce those who attempt to change the creation of God (Arabic: Allah), in what is seen as excessive attempts to beautify that which was already perfected. The human being is seen as having been ennobled by God (Arabic: Allah), the human form viewed as created beautiful, such that the act of tattooing would be a form of mutilation.


A variety of medical issues can result from tattooing. Because it requires breaking the skin barrier, tattooing may carry health risks, including infection and allergic reactions. Modern tattooists reduce such risks by following universal precautions, working with single-use items, and sterilising their equipment after each use.Dermatologists have observed rare but severe medical complications from tattoo pigments in the body, and have noted that people acquiring tattoos rarely assess health risks prior to receiving their tattoos. Some medical practitioners have recommended greater regulation of pigments used in tattoo ink. The wide range of pigments currently used in tattoo inks may create unforeseen health problems.

INFECTION: Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, diseases may be transmitted if the instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilised. However, infection from tattooing in clean and modern tattoo studios employing single-use needles is rare.Infections that can theoretically be transmitted by the use of unsterilised tattoo equipment or contaminated ink include surface infections of the skin, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and HIV.


Perhaps due to the mechanism whereby the skin’s immune system encapsulates pigment particles in fibrous tissue, tattoo inks have been described as “remarkably nonreactive histologically”. However, some allergic reactions have been medically documented. No estimate of the overall incidence of allergic reactions to tattoo pigments exists.Allergies to latex are apparently more common than to inks; many artists will use non-latex gloves when requested.

Allergic reactions to tattoo pigments, while uncommon, are most often seen with red, yellow, and occasionally white. Reactions can be triggered by exposure to sunlight. People who are sensitive or allergic to certain metals may react to pigments in the skin with swelling and/or itching, and/or oozing of clear fluid called serum. Such reactions are quite rare, however, and some artists will recommend performing a test patch. Because the mercury and Azo-chemicals in red dyes are more commonly allergenic than other pigments, allergic reactions are most often seen in red tattoos. Less frequent allergic reactions to black, purple, and green pigments have also been noted.

Traditional metallic salts are prevalent in tattoo inks. A 3×5 inch tattoo may contain from 1 to 23 micrograms of lead; lead exposure has been linked to birth defects, cancer, and other reproductive harm. Organic pigments (i.e., non-heavy metal pigments) may also pose health concerns. A European Commission noted that close to 40% of organic tattoo colorants used in Europe had not been approved for cosmetic use, and that under 20% of colorants contained a carcinogenic aromatic amine.

MRI IMPLICATIONS:A few cases of burns on tattoos caused by MRI scans have been documented. Problems tend to occur with designs containing large areas of black ink, since black commonly contains iron oxide; the MRI scanner causes the iron to heat up either by inducing an electrical current or hysteresis. Burning can occur on smaller tattoos such as “permanent makeup”, but this is rare.Non-ferrous pigments have also been known to cause burns during an MRI. It should be stressed that tattoo burns are rare, so merely having a tattoo should not be a cause to not get an MRI scan if necessary.

DERMAL CONDITIONS:The most common dermal reactions to tattoo pigments are granulomas and various lichenoid diseases. Other conditions noted have been cement dermatitis, collagen deposits, discoid lupus erythematosus, eczematous eruptions, hyperkeratosis and parakeratosis, and keloids.

DELAYED REACTION:Hypersensitive reactions to tattoos are known to lay latent for significant periods of time before exhibiting symptoms. Delayed abrupt chronic reactions, such as eczematous dermatitis, are known to manifest themselves from months to as many as twenty years after the patient received his or her most recent tattoo.

Azo-type pigments used in tattoos tend to cleave through enzymatic catalysis of redox reactions, resulting in highly electrophilic aromatic amine by-products capable of covalently binding with DNA. Napthol and Azos break down in sunlight exposure into toxic and/or carcinogenic aromatic amines. As with heavy metals, these by-products of the pigments’ decomposition accumulate in the lymphatic system. Plastic-based inks (e.g., glow-in-the-dark ink) are known to lead to polymerisation under the skin, where the tattoo pigment particles converge into one solid plastic piece under the skin.


Occasionally, when a blood vessel is punctured during the tattooing procedure a haematoma (bruise) may appear. Bruises generally heal within one week.[16] Bruises can appear as halos around a tattoo, or if blood pools, as one larger bruise.


Some pigment migrates from a tattoo site to lymph nodes, where large particles may accumulate.[17] When larger particles accumulate in the lymph nodes, inflammation may occur. Smaller particles, such as those created by laser tattoo treatments, are small enough to be carried away by the lymphatic system and not accumulate.


Lymph nodes may become discoloured and inflamed with the presence of tattoo pigments, but discoloration and inflammation are also visual indicators of melanoma; consequently, diagnosing melanoma in a patient with tattoos is made difficult, and special precautions must be taken to avoid misdiagnoses.


A man who got a tattoo on his penis is now left with a permanent semi-erection, according to an article in the latest issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.The 21-year-old Iranian man found himself between a rock and a hard place after he got a tattoo in Persian script reading “borow be salaamat” (good luck on your journeys), and the first initial of his girlfriend’s last name (“M”).

The article in Sexual Medicine explains that a tattoo artist crafted the tattoo using a handheld needle which resulted in “bleeding from deep penile tissue for several days complicating the tattooing.” The man had shunt surgery — which drains excess fluid from inflamed areas of the body — performed to correct the problem, but the procedure was unsuccessful.

No surgery is necessary because, as the article notes, the man is capable of achieving a relatively normal erection and he’s not in pain. So, the patient has decided not to pursue any more corrective measures.

One wonders if the man reached his decision after he “realized that the side effect of the tattoo was that his dick looks bigger all the time. But it probably took him so long to come to that realization due to all the blood draining from his head.”


CONCLUSION: Some persons who tattooed their bodies have come to regret it and have not been able to get it off their body, worst of them are those who are carrying occult tattoos and have now changed their lives. They would have to live their lives being harassed by security agents and rival cult members. Some girls are not able to get married as descent men now reject them as a result of the tattoos in their body. They see them as wild girls even if the girls have now passed the crazy age and are better persons. Some men have not been able to get descent jobs as no employer want such persons in their firm.Before you put that  tattoo on your body consider the future implications of it. Do not join this crazy world with its crazy tattoos.


Ogaga Onokwakpor

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