All the science that goes into a single tattoo

All the science that goes into a single tattoo

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All the science that goes into a single tattoo

Speaking of Science’s Rachel Feltman teamed up with the American Chemical Society to explain the chemicals that make tattoos and the body’s chemical reaction to getting them. (American Chemical Society)

Above, you can see the latest video in the American Chemical Society’s Reactions series . You can also see me (yes, me) getting a tattoo! For science! And no, it’s got nothing to do with Pittsburgh, random men who keep emailing me about Pittsburgh. It’s the astronomical symbol for Pluto, with an added "CH" for its largest moon, Charon.

I’m thrilled to have finally been given an opportunity to show off my unique talent for reciting scientific information from memory while getting stabbed with tiny needles over and over again.

[ Interactive: Thinking of inking? ]

If you’re hungry for more tattoo science — or just on the fence about getting inked — here are some good factoids to know:

Tattoos might make you feel good

Really! There are the obvious chemical responses, for starters: You’re going to have a rush of adrenaline, because someone is coming at you with a needle. And you’re going to get some pretty nice endorphins , too — your body’s chemical response to pain — which can make you sort of high.

But there’s more too it than that. According to one (admittedly small) study , a new tattoo might improve your self-image for weeks after the fact. And why not? You’ve got art on you!

The effect might even be long-term for men, though most women in the study got anxious a few weeks in — possibly because they started worrying about how other people saw their tattoos. Some tattoos might even be medicinal There’s evidence that tattoos found on ancient humans may have been deliberately placed over acupuncture points to provide a more permanent therapeutic effect. Even today, some cultures practice medicinal tattooing to cure certain ailments, with the most convincing effects seen in arthritic joints.[ At D.C. Tattoo Expo, judges pick […]

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