I use a lot of slang words in my post that relate to tattoos and other body mods. So in this section I will try to define some of the less common terms that you may not be familiar with.
Autoclave – A sterilization device used to prepare needles for piercing or tattooing.
CBR(s) – An abbreviation for “Captive Bead Ring(s)”.
Cryosurgery – The use of an extremely cold substance such as liquid nitrogen to freeze tissue in order to remove a tattoo. Although effective, cryosurgery can result in distinct scarring.
Dermabrasion – scrubbing the skin with a coarse abrasive like sandpaper until you reach the layer of skin the tattoo ink resides in. This method can take weeks to heal and is prone to infection as it is just a somewhat controlled abrasion.
Drainage – In the process of healing, dead tissue (both from the affected area, and the corpses of cells sent to help heal) is thrown away and replaced with healed tissue. The body must have a channel for disposing of this waste to effectively heal. The body’s removal of this waste is referred to as “drainage”.
Electrocautery – A form of branding that uses a device which passes electrical current through an electrode which in turn becomes intensely hot.
Electrosurgery – A form of branding that uses a device which passes electrical current directly through the patients skin to, in effect, burn the tissue.
Excision – physically cutting out the skin where the tattoo resides. This method of tattoo removal is often combined with skin grafts to minimize scarring and create a more natural look once healed.
Flash – This is a term used to describe the tattoo artwork that you will find on most tattoo shops wall. If it’s already drawn when you walk through the door, it is FLASH.
Gauge – A measurement reference for the size of piercings. Follows surgical needle standards.
Heavy Handed – Used to describe a tattoo artist who places the ink too deep in the skin.
Impact – The amount a piercing gets bumped either by accident, or more commonly, clothing and general movement of the tissue.
Keloid – Firm, rubbery lesions, fibrous nodules, and can vary from pink to flesh-colored or red to dark brown in color. An overgrowth of scar tissue.
Mag – A string of single needles in a tattoo gun used to pound more ink into a large area than is possible with a single needle.
Microdermal – Also known as a surface anchor. A piercing/implant that is placed partially below and partially above the surface of the skin. A small shaft protrudes from the skin for a bead or other ornament.
Motion – If a piercing is placed in a location that moves, either by twisting, stretching, or compression of the skin, forces will be applied to the entire piercing, including the entrance and exit holes. The more a piercing moves, or the more “Motion” it receives will affect healing.
New School (Skool) – a reference to a tattoo artwork style very different from Old School. New school tattoos are very exaggerated, cartoonish, and have at least some depth.
Old School – A reference to a tattoo artwork style identified by small classic designs. (examples : hearts with ribbons, small birds, nautical stars). Old school tattoos are 2 dimensional in depth.
Sleeve – Used to describe complete covering of the arm from front to back with tattoos. Variations include quarter, half, and full sleeves.
Salabrasion – Tattoo removal which basically involves scrubbing the skin with a coarse abrasive like sandpaper until you reach the layer of skin the tattoo ink rest in using a salt based solution to help break up the tattoo ink. This method can take weeks to heal and is prone to infection.
Scratcher – An untalented or untrained amateur tattoo artist who typically puts clients at risk by reusing needles, not sterilizing equipment or following proper sterilization practices. A “Scratcher” tends to scratch the skin rather than applying smooth lines.
Strike Branding – The process of heating a small piece of metal to the appropriate temperature and striking it against the skin.
Tongue Bifurcation – The act of splitting the tongue down the center and creating two halves that move independent of one another.
Tribal – An artwork style identified by thick, usually black, lines arranged in various simple patterns. Common for arm bands.
Tygon – A type of body jewelry used for piercings. It is made out of a flexible plastic to reduce pressure on fresh piercings.
Up-Pressure – The jewelry exerts leverage up on the skin above it. This stresses the tissue, and also partially clamps off blood supply to it.