A-Z on Body Arts: Tools, Materials, Techniques, Health Hazards and Prevention

Body art is an ancient but populous form of body enhancement. There are various reasons why people engage in body art such as coiffure, body painting, body markings and the like. Some are done for purely aesthetic or decorative purposes while others are for medicinal, spiritual, entertainment, identification or symbolic reasons.

A wide of tools can be used for body enhancement. These include dabbing tools, painting tools, incising tools, smearing tools, tattooing tools, etc. Materials used for body arts include tattooing dyes, special cleaning agents etc. Drawing and writing inks, such as Indian ink, Pelican ink and printer inks are popularly used for amateur tattoos. Other colourants that can be used include pigments and dyes. Other materials used include plant extracts, soot, carbon and ochre. Henna, which is a natural plant, is also used for the production of temporary tattoos.

There are several causes of health hazards in body arts. Majority of them are as a result of contamination of the instruments used. Examples of these are the skin penetrating tools such as lances, electrolysis needles and extractors. When these instruments are not effectively cleaned and sterilized before use on another person, or when single-use instruments are not discarded immediately after use.

There are also allergic and toxic reactions which are due to impurities from the production process of the pigments and dyes used for tattooing. Tattoo inks can contain aromatic amines with carcinogenic potential (can cause cancer). Some tattoo products have been seen to cause mild forms of skin cancer. Tattoo dyes especially red, green, yellow and blue dyes can cause allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattooed area. This can occur even years after you get the tattoo.

Moreover, skin problems such as bumps called granulomas form around tattoo ink. Tattooing also can lead to keloids or raised areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue. It may cause blood borne diseases. For instance, if the equipment used to create the tattoo is contaminated with infected blood, the person can contract various blood borne diseases including tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or even HIV/AIDS.

These health-related cases can be prevented by taking some practical steps. For instance, the tools and equipment used for the production of body arts must be sterilized. Washing hands is the single most important factor in preventing infection.

Also, chemicals used in body arts must be properly labeled so that there will not be any substitutions. The chemicals must be properly cared for. They must be kept in well secured containers etc. The instructions on how to use and care for them must be meticulously followed.

Moreover, all working surfaces used, for example, procedure couches/chairs, benches and tables, should be washed with warm water and detergent, rinsed and dried using a clean lint-free single-use cloth. Additionally, at the end of each working day, wash all visibly soiled surfaces with warm water and detergent. Rinse and dry the cleaned surfaces using a clean lint-free single-use cloth.

There are a lot of techniques that can be employed in body arts. The commonest technique is painting. It involves the application of the paint, dye or pigment by the use of brush. After drawing the sketch or layout of the design on the skin surface, brush is used to apply the paint on the body surface. Printing, whereby designs are sometimes printed on the body surface is also used. Sometimes papers with permissible ink are transferred onto the body surface. Laser printers are also used to transfer computerized designs onto the surfaces of skin. Paint can be dabbed on the body surface using sponge or foam to transfer designs onto skin surfaces. Sometimes, the ink or paint can be spread over the surface of the skin to create the design or impression on the surface of the skin.

Other techniques include incision, thus, cutting into the surface of the skin to create a design. This is used in scarification and some forms of tattooing. The interlocking of the hair strands to form decorative forms referred to as braiding or plaiting falls under body arts.

Body art is gaining much fame today in the art industry. Artists must be weary of the health hazards in the use of tools, materials and instruments. They must endeavor to keep healthy practices while engaging in this interesting form of artistic expression.

Navel Piercing Aftercare: Three Things You Must Do

We live in a pretty neat time in history when what was once thought to be the mark of a social outlier and outcast is now fairly commonplace. We’re talking about body art, with a specific concentration on navel piercing. It used to be that piercing a part of your body meant rocking some great earrings. Nowadays, the idea of having a navel piercing is not only not that big a deal – it can also serve as a bit of a rite of passage.

There are certainly a number of you out there who went out to the biggest city near your hometown while you were in college, and you all decided you’d get either a piercing or tattoo together. This way, you’d become “sisters” for life, and be the best of friends forever. At least, this was the idea until you had to be part of an audience as you watched your roommate or dorm cluster neighbor get her navel pierced. Some of you were stoked while others were aghast. Still, you all made a pact to be “sisters”, right?

One of the things you may have all not been listening to closely while getting your navels pierced was the process of aftercare. The last thing you wanted was for something to go wrong with your new body art, so now you had to stick to the rules of aftercare. You managed, and after a bit, you got a real kick sporting croptops & low-rise jeans.

So, if you’re reading this & looking to get your own navel piercing, it’s important to do so with the understanding that you’ll need to follow the aftercare procedures exactly as your piercer breaks them down.

Procedure may change slightly from artist to artist, but all will agree on these three “musts”:

Wash Your Hands Thoroughly – It’s the one reason that germs get spread in this world, and yet, it’s one of the easiest things to do. Before you even think of putting your hands near your belly button, wash them with soap and warm water.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing That Won’t Make Contact with Piercing – It’s not about being cute or alluring – it’s about making sure you don’t irritate the area. By wearing clothing that steers clear of your navel piercing, you give the area a chance to fully heal.

Get Your Dixie Cups, Sea Salt, and Purified Water Ahead of Time – Part of the aftercare work you have to put in is keeping your new piercing clean. This involves a saline solution in a cup and working with the physics of a vacuum seal. That said, if you know you’re getting a navel piercing, start getting your aftercare supplies before you get pierced.