Setting Proper Needle Depth
Skin has a total of 3 layers: Epidermis (composed of 5 sublayers), Dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The tattoo needle depth should penetrate into the Dermis layer. If the depth is too shallow, it will only penetrate into the epidermis sub layers and the ink will “bleed out” as the tattoo heals. This is because the 5 sub layers of the Epidermis is constantly growing outward to the top, any ink deposited will just be shed back out. If the depth is too deep, you will be causing unnecessary pain to your client and run the risk of infection.
The dermis layer of skin is between 1mm and 2mm into the skin. So when you are adjusting the tattoo machine, you will have to adjust within this parameter. With the needle, grip and proper tip (e.g. 3RL needle will go with a 3RT tip) on the tattoo machine, adjust the depth by adjusting the depth of the tip. Make sure you hold down the armature bar so that you are adjusting the tip at the point where the needle is in its down position. The tip of the needle should not be sticking out anymore than 2mm and no less than 1mm. Keep in mind that every person’s skin type is different and there is no exact measure. If during your tattoo there are excessive amounts of blood, it is obviously going in too deep. Practicing on fruit is a good method before trying on human skin. If the fruit is being badly damaged while you are puncturing the skin, the depth is going in too deep.
By David H.