How to know you've gone tattoo needle deep enough

How to know you've gone tattoo needle deep enough

Before we discuss the depth of the tattoo needle into the skin, let's understand the mechanics of the tattoo machine and needle.

How does a tattoo machine work?

There are many different methods of tattooing. In most contemporary tattoo studios, tattoo artists use rotary tattoo pens.
The tattoo machine uses a specific drive mechanism to push the needle into the skin at a rate of 6,000 strokes per minute, but the needle does not inject the ink directly into the skin.
So how does the machine ensure that the ink stays in the skin?
When the machine lets the ink pool on the surface and pushes the needle into the skin, the needle pierces the skin and creates a hole to store the ink. As the needle retracts and pushes out of the skin, the puncture hole in the skin becomes a vacuum, creating a vacuum seal that draws the ink into the hole previously created in the skin, drawing the ink deep enough to become permanent. In these created holes are skin cells called macrophages and fibroblasts. That's where the ink is captured and sealed.
The tattoo needles
Tattoos are usually made of nickel, chrome or steel. The standard thickness is between 0.30mm-0.35mm, needles also come in different shapes for different tattoo styles, shading, tinting and dotting. Round needles for shading and lining, flat needles for clean, darker lines, and large size needles for shading.

How far does the tattoo needle go?

Tattoo needles go through 1/16th of an inch of skin. This may not sound like a lot of skin, but it actually passes through five sub-layers of the epidermis, the dermis, and the top layer of the dermis. Within these layers is a collection of sweat glands, hair follicles, connective tissue, fat, and blood vessels.
During the tattooing process, the needle passes through the epidermis and the epidermal-dermal junction, opening a channel in the 2 mm thick dermis. Dermis is ideal for several reasons. It is far enough away that it does not bleed and is not exposed.
Knowing this, the tip of the tattoo needle is fine-tuned to ensure that it enters the skin at the correct depth. If you look at the tattoo needle in the machine, you will see that it extends no further than 2 mm.

What if the tattoo needle is too shallow or too deep?

The tattoo needle penetrates the skin about 1/16 inch deep, and you may be wondering what happens if the needle is too shallow or too deep.
The epidermis is a poor location for ink. Not only is it exposed to the elements, but it regenerates itself every 3 weeks. This means that the ink will transfer but not stay in the skin, and any ink trapped in the epidermis will break down and fade, eventually leaving a partial, messy and faded tattoo.
In addition, any bleeding that occurs when the needle leaves the skin and the ink is drawn in will push some of the ink out. If the ink is too light under the skin, all of the color will be removed before the tattoo heal, the faded tattoo will disappear quickly.
Beneath the dermis is the subcutaneous tissue. If that needle sinks that deep, complications are much more likely. The ink will have a harder time leaving the skin, but it will also be significantly less visible.You can also expect the tattoo process to be very painful. Ink that is trapped in the subcutaneous tissue can even lead to infection or tattoo bursts, where the ink moves around the fat layer, distorting the tattoo shape.
That's why tattoo artists are trained time and time again to keep the needle at a constant 1/16th of an inch and no farther. This prevents ink-induced toxicity.

Where should the tattoo needle go?

The answer is - about 1/16th of an inch deep into the skin. This means that the ink will be placed exactly 2 mm between the dermis layers
The skin has 3 layers, the epidermis (consisting of 5 sub-layers), the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis (further consisting of 5 sub-layers) is the surface of the skin and the outer layer of the skin. It is responsible for keeping the body waterproof and ensuring skin tone.
The dermis is located below the epidermis and is the layer that contains all the connective tissue, sweat glands and hair follicles.
The subcutaneous tissue or hypodermis is the layer that stores fat and connective tissue.
Of these three main layers, the hair follicles, sweat glands, fatty tissue, connective tissue and blood vessels together make up the largest organ of the body.
Tattoo needle depth should be deep into the dermis. The dermis is located in the middle of the skin and is the perfect place to ensure that the ink stays in the skin and does not "bleed out" as the tattoo heals.
To find out how to know where the dermis is located in the skin when getting a tattoo, we have also provided you with information and pictures.

How to know you've gone tattoo needle deep enough

Before the tattooing process begins, the tattooist adjusts the tattoo machine and needle according to the parameters of the dermis position, using the needle on the tattoo machine, the grip and the appropriate tip, and adjusting the depth by adjusting the depth of the tip. The tip is adjusted with the needle in its downward position. The tip of the needle extends no more than 2 mm and no less than 1 mm.
If you hear a slight popping sound and the needle lifts the skin, then you are doing well. You are at the correct depth.


Deciding to get a tattoo is both exciting and very serious. It's exciting because you will have this awesome permanent work of art. On the other hand, it is serious because it involves the painful process of being repeatedly "stabbed" with a tattoo needle.
This short article will give you a better understanding of how deep the needles should go into the skin.You are reading this article means that you are taking your tattoo experience seriously.