full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Claudia Aguirre: What makes tattoos permanent?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Tattoos have often been presented in popular media as either marks of the dangerous and dvnaeit or trendy youth fads. But while tattoo styles come and go, and their meaning has differed greatly across cultures, the practice is as old as civilization itself. Decorative skin markings have been dovcsireed in human remains all over the world, with the oldest found on a paveiurn mmumy dating back to 6,000 BCE. But have you ever wondered how tattooing really works? You may know that we shed our skin, losing about 30-40,000 skin clles per hour. That's about 1,000,000 per day. So, how come the tattoo doesn't gradually flake off along with them? The spmlie answer is that tattooing involves getting pigment deeper into the skin than the outermost layer that gets shed. Throughout history, different ctueurls have used various modhets to accomplish this. But the first modern tattooing machine was mleoded after Thomas Edison's engraving machine and ran on electricity. Tattooing machines used today insert tiny needles, loaded with dye, into the skin at a frequency of 50 to 3,000 times per minute. The needles punch through the epidermis, anlilwog ink to seep deep into the diemrs, which is composed of collagen fibers, nerves, glands, blood vessels and more. Every time a ndleee ptentreaes, it causes a wound that alerts the body to begin the inflammatory process, calling immune system cells to the wuond site to begin repairing the skin. And it is this very process that makes tattoos pnanmeert. First, specialized cells called macrophages eat the invading material in an attempt to calen up the iofnlmartamy mess. As these cells travel through the lymphatic system, some of them are carried back with a belly full of dye into the lymph nodes while others remain in the dermis. With no way to dispose of the pigment, the dyes inside them rmaien visible through the skin. Some of the ink particles are also suspended in the gel-like matrix of the dermis, while others are engulfed by dermal cells caelld fibroblasts. Initially, ink is depoteisd into the epidermis as well, but as the skin heals, the damaged epidermal cells are shed and rcpeelad by new, dye-free cells with the topmost layer peeling off like a heeling sunburn. brietilnsg or crusting is not typically seen with professional tattoos and cmpetloe epidermal regeneration requires 2-4 wekes, during which excess sun exposure and swimming should be avoided to pnveret fading. Dermal cells, however, remain in place until they die. When they do, they are taken up, ink and all, by younger cells nabrey, so the ink stays where it is. But with time, tattoos do fade naturally as the body reacts to the ailen pgnemit particles, slowly breaking them down to be creiard off by the iummne system's maocgpearhs. Ultraviolet radiation can also contribute to this pigment breakdown, though it can be mitigated by the use of suolncbk. But since the dermal cells are relatively stable, much of the ink will remain deep in the skin for a person's whole life. But if tattoos are embedded in your skin for life, is there any way to erase them? thliealcncy, yes. Today, a laser is used to penetrate the epidermis and blast apart underlying pigment colors of various wavelengths, black being the easiest to trgaet. The laser beam breaks the ink globules into smaller palectris that can then be cleared away by the macrophages. But some color inks are harder to remove than others, and there could be comctoialipns. For this reason, removing a tattoo is still more difficult than getting one, but not iblmpsisoe. So a single tattoo may not truly last forever, but ttaoots have been around longer than any eiixtsng culture. And their continuing popularity means that the art of tattooing is here to stay.

Open Cloze

Tattoos have often been presented in popular media as either marks of the dangerous and _______ or trendy youth fads. But while tattoo styles come and go, and their meaning has differed greatly across cultures, the practice is as old as civilization itself. Decorative skin markings have been __________ in human remains all over the world, with the oldest found on a ________ _____ dating back to 6,000 BCE. But have you ever wondered how tattooing really works? You may know that we shed our skin, losing about 30-40,000 skin _____ per hour. That's about 1,000,000 per day. So, how come the tattoo doesn't gradually flake off along with them? The ______ answer is that tattooing involves getting pigment deeper into the skin than the outermost layer that gets shed. Throughout history, different ________ have used various _______ to accomplish this. But the first modern tattooing machine was _______ after Thomas Edison's engraving machine and ran on electricity. Tattooing machines used today insert tiny needles, loaded with dye, into the skin at a frequency of 50 to 3,000 times per minute. The needles punch through the epidermis, ________ ink to seep deep into the ______, which is composed of collagen fibers, nerves, glands, blood vessels and more. Every time a ______ __________, it causes a wound that alerts the body to begin the inflammatory process, calling immune system cells to the _____ site to begin repairing the skin. And it is this very process that makes tattoos _________. First, specialized cells called macrophages eat the invading material in an attempt to _____ up the ____________ mess. As these cells travel through the lymphatic system, some of them are carried back with a belly full of dye into the lymph nodes while others remain in the dermis. With no way to dispose of the pigment, the dyes inside them ______ visible through the skin. Some of the ink particles are also suspended in the gel-like matrix of the dermis, while others are engulfed by dermal cells ______ fibroblasts. Initially, ink is _________ into the epidermis as well, but as the skin heals, the damaged epidermal cells are shed and ________ by new, dye-free cells with the topmost layer peeling off like a heeling sunburn. __________ or crusting is not typically seen with professional tattoos and ________ epidermal regeneration requires 2-4 _____, during which excess sun exposure and swimming should be avoided to _______ fading. Dermal cells, however, remain in place until they die. When they do, they are taken up, ink and all, by younger cells ______, so the ink stays where it is. But with time, tattoos do fade naturally as the body reacts to the _____ _______ particles, slowly breaking them down to be _______ off by the ______ system's ___________. Ultraviolet radiation can also contribute to this pigment breakdown, though it can be mitigated by the use of ________. But since the dermal cells are relatively stable, much of the ink will remain deep in the skin for a person's whole life. But if tattoos are embedded in your skin for life, is there any way to erase them? ___________, yes. Today, a laser is used to penetrate the epidermis and blast apart underlying pigment colors of various wavelengths, black being the easiest to ______. The laser beam breaks the ink globules into smaller _________ that can then be cleared away by the macrophages. But some color inks are harder to remove than others, and there could be _____________. For this reason, removing a tattoo is still more difficult than getting one, but not __________. So a single tattoo may not truly last forever, but _______ have been around longer than any ________ culture. And their continuing popularity means that the art of tattooing is here to stay.

Solution

  1. deposited
  2. remain
  3. penetrates
  4. permanent
  5. tattoos
  6. technically
  7. peruvian
  8. deviant
  9. alien
  10. particles
  11. needle
  12. blistering
  13. modeled
  14. weeks
  15. clean
  16. macrophages
  17. allowing
  18. simple
  19. wound
  20. sunblock
  21. mummy
  22. target
  23. cells
  24. impossible
  25. complete
  26. carried
  27. cultures
  28. discovered
  29. inflammatory
  30. immune
  31. dermis
  32. methods
  33. called
  34. prevent
  35. nearby
  36. replaced
  37. complications
  38. existing
  39. pigment

Original Text

Tattoos have often been presented in popular media as either marks of the dangerous and deviant or trendy youth fads. But while tattoo styles come and go, and their meaning has differed greatly across cultures, the practice is as old as civilization itself. Decorative skin markings have been discovered in human remains all over the world, with the oldest found on a Peruvian mummy dating back to 6,000 BCE. But have you ever wondered how tattooing really works? You may know that we shed our skin, losing about 30-40,000 skin cells per hour. That's about 1,000,000 per day. So, how come the tattoo doesn't gradually flake off along with them? The simple answer is that tattooing involves getting pigment deeper into the skin than the outermost layer that gets shed. Throughout history, different cultures have used various methods to accomplish this. But the first modern tattooing machine was modeled after Thomas Edison's engraving machine and ran on electricity. Tattooing machines used today insert tiny needles, loaded with dye, into the skin at a frequency of 50 to 3,000 times per minute. The needles punch through the epidermis, allowing ink to seep deep into the dermis, which is composed of collagen fibers, nerves, glands, blood vessels and more. Every time a needle penetrates, it causes a wound that alerts the body to begin the inflammatory process, calling immune system cells to the wound site to begin repairing the skin. And it is this very process that makes tattoos permanent. First, specialized cells called macrophages eat the invading material in an attempt to clean up the inflammatory mess. As these cells travel through the lymphatic system, some of them are carried back with a belly full of dye into the lymph nodes while others remain in the dermis. With no way to dispose of the pigment, the dyes inside them remain visible through the skin. Some of the ink particles are also suspended in the gel-like matrix of the dermis, while others are engulfed by dermal cells called fibroblasts. Initially, ink is deposited into the epidermis as well, but as the skin heals, the damaged epidermal cells are shed and replaced by new, dye-free cells with the topmost layer peeling off like a heeling sunburn. Blistering or crusting is not typically seen with professional tattoos and complete epidermal regeneration requires 2-4 weeks, during which excess sun exposure and swimming should be avoided to prevent fading. Dermal cells, however, remain in place until they die. When they do, they are taken up, ink and all, by younger cells nearby, so the ink stays where it is. But with time, tattoos do fade naturally as the body reacts to the alien pigment particles, slowly breaking them down to be carried off by the immune system's macrophages. Ultraviolet radiation can also contribute to this pigment breakdown, though it can be mitigated by the use of sunblock. But since the dermal cells are relatively stable, much of the ink will remain deep in the skin for a person's whole life. But if tattoos are embedded in your skin for life, is there any way to erase them? Technically, yes. Today, a laser is used to penetrate the epidermis and blast apart underlying pigment colors of various wavelengths, black being the easiest to target. The laser beam breaks the ink globules into smaller particles that can then be cleared away by the macrophages. But some color inks are harder to remove than others, and there could be complications. For this reason, removing a tattoo is still more difficult than getting one, but not impossible. So a single tattoo may not truly last forever, but tattoos have been around longer than any existing culture. And their continuing popularity means that the art of tattooing is here to stay.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
cells called 2
dermal cells 2

Important Words

  1. accomplish
  2. alerts
  3. alien
  4. allowing
  5. answer
  6. art
  7. attempt
  8. avoided
  9. bce
  10. beam
  11. belly
  12. black
  13. blast
  14. blistering
  15. blood
  16. body
  17. breakdown
  18. breaking
  19. breaks
  20. called
  21. calling
  22. carried
  23. cells
  24. civilization
  25. clean
  26. cleared
  27. collagen
  28. color
  29. colors
  30. complete
  31. complications
  32. composed
  33. continuing
  34. contribute
  35. crusting
  36. culture
  37. cultures
  38. damaged
  39. dangerous
  40. dating
  41. day
  42. decorative
  43. deep
  44. deeper
  45. deposited
  46. dermal
  47. dermis
  48. deviant
  49. die
  50. differed
  51. difficult
  52. discovered
  53. dispose
  54. dye
  55. dyes
  56. easiest
  57. eat
  58. electricity
  59. embedded
  60. engraving
  61. engulfed
  62. epidermal
  63. epidermis
  64. erase
  65. excess
  66. existing
  67. exposure
  68. fade
  69. fading
  70. fads
  71. fibers
  72. fibroblasts
  73. flake
  74. frequency
  75. full
  76. glands
  77. globules
  78. gradually
  79. greatly
  80. harder
  81. heals
  82. heeling
  83. history
  84. hour
  85. human
  86. immune
  87. impossible
  88. inflammatory
  89. initially
  90. ink
  91. inks
  92. insert
  93. invading
  94. involves
  95. laser
  96. layer
  97. life
  98. loaded
  99. longer
  100. losing
  101. lymph
  102. lymphatic
  103. machine
  104. machines
  105. macrophages
  106. markings
  107. marks
  108. material
  109. matrix
  110. meaning
  111. means
  112. media
  113. mess
  114. methods
  115. minute
  116. mitigated
  117. modeled
  118. modern
  119. mummy
  120. naturally
  121. nearby
  122. needle
  123. needles
  124. nerves
  125. nodes
  126. oldest
  127. outermost
  128. particles
  129. peeling
  130. penetrate
  131. penetrates
  132. permanent
  133. peruvian
  134. pigment
  135. place
  136. popular
  137. popularity
  138. practice
  139. presented
  140. prevent
  141. process
  142. professional
  143. punch
  144. radiation
  145. ran
  146. reacts
  147. reason
  148. regeneration
  149. remain
  150. remains
  151. remove
  152. removing
  153. repairing
  154. replaced
  155. requires
  156. seep
  157. shed
  158. simple
  159. single
  160. site
  161. skin
  162. slowly
  163. smaller
  164. specialized
  165. stable
  166. stay
  167. stays
  168. styles
  169. sun
  170. sunblock
  171. sunburn
  172. suspended
  173. swimming
  174. system
  175. target
  176. tattoo
  177. tattooing
  178. tattoos
  179. technically
  180. thomas
  181. time
  182. times
  183. tiny
  184. today
  185. topmost
  186. travel
  187. trendy
  188. typically
  189. ultraviolet
  190. underlying
  191. vessels
  192. visible
  193. wavelengths
  194. weeks
  195. wondered
  196. works
  197. world
  198. wound
  199. younger
  200. youth