Why Tattoos Are Permanent

The New Yorker's archives freely unfold, space plant photography, the science behind tattoos and more in our weekly look at the web

It seems pretty straight-forward why tattoos stick around forever. But as recently explained in a TED Ed video, the reason is more complicated than one may imagine. With each needle prick from the tattoo machine, the body is alerted of a fresh wound, and thus begins the inflammatory healing process. Over time, some pigment is disposed of internally, while other bits are absorbed by skin cells and remain
suspended in the dermis. So even though we shed nearly one million skin
cells each day, your tattoo will likely last as long as you do.