How Deep Should A Tattoo Needle Go?

Tattoo needles are designed to penetrate the skin at different depths, depending on the tattoo’s size. You may want to be mindful of how deep your needle penetrates for more visible tattoos since they will be more visible when the ink is fresh and bold.

So, how deep should a tattoo needle go? This blog post will cover everything about tattoos, including the depth of a needle to go into your skin and what happens if a needle goes too deep or too shallow. Now let’s find out the exact answer!

How deep should a tattoo needle go?

How Deep Should A Tattoo Needle Go?

Well, the answer is roughly a sixteenth of an inch deeper. In fact, the tattoo needle is like a sharp, penetrating force that chops all your skin layers. As you can imagine, with such power behind it, this tool leaves quite an impression on those who choose to be inked permanently.

To get a good quality tattoo, you must know what skin conditions and how your new ink will react. A shallow penetration into the tissue is better because this creates patchy coverage, which fades away over time. However, if they go too deep, nerves can be damaged, or thick scarring may occur when this reaches its full depth 1/16 inch (1:2).

This could result in pain during recovery periods due to heavy bleeding with deeper modalities such as machine-gun-style needles found on some machines these days. The tattoo etched with a needle is deposited onto the sub-layers of skin, dermal tissue – which lies between epidermis and derma.

The epidermis is the topmost layer that sheds cells. The dermis lies beneath it and contains a more fibrous connective tissue while also containing an elastic membrane separating them from one another. After tattooing, all these different types of tissues are blended into one smooth surface.


How Deep Is One Sixteenth? 

Initially, right after a tattoo, ink is deposited in:

  • Each layer of your epidermis.
  • The epidermal-dermal junction is the line that separates the dermis from the epidermis.
  • Your dermis

After the tattooing process, damage to your skin can occur at any time. The epidermis will be damaged and replaced with new cells while surrounding all layers of it – the papillary layer (topmost), dermal-epidermal junction, and in between them. These look like mush right after getting inked, but they’ll strangely change back 7 – 13 days later.

When there is an injury, the first response from our immune system is to stop bleeding. Immune cells like neutrophils and macrophages migrate in as they clean up any remaining debris left behind by this process before moving on through lymphatic vessels back towards circulation, where more sophisticated organs can be found. 

After the cells in your skin have been repaired, they become fibroblasts. These are responsible for building new tissue and repairing what was damaged; that’s how scars form. There will be an initial stage of granulation (think fresh scar) in this process, which matures into a more permanent type like old scars on our bodies that we may not want anymore after time has gone by.

You need to choose the tatto artist carefully to set the needle depth on your skin!

How Do Tattoo Artists Set The Needle Depth?

Solving the problem of wasted ink and avoiding cross-contamination is easy with a disposable tattoo needle! Just use one for each client, attach it to your bar-tattoo machine at its fullest extension point (less than 2mm), dip into some black dye then slide over onto the reservoir. 

After you adjust the depth of your tattoo, there are a few techniques that an experienced artist might use. Some artists hold their needles at an angle while shading and others make sure it’s in line with how they want to finish up work on another area before moving onto this one, so not all lines will look uniform as desired. 

One of the big benefits of using tattoos is creating your design in any size or shape. You don’t have to be limited by traditionalist rules like portrait paintings because with this medium, it’s all about freedom and expression. All types of ink will penetrate the skin up until 2mm deep according to needle diameter (but rarely more, depending on variables).

What Happens If A Tattoo Needle Goes Too Deep Or Too Shallow?


Blowouts are a common tattoo complication that occurs when the artist puts too much ink into your skin. Blowouts can show up immediately after getting inked, but some people may notice them weeks later or even years down the road! 

They happen most often with beginners who don’t know how deeply they’re placing their needles before making an impression on you. 

Raised Lines

The scarring of tattoos can be seen in various parts, such as linework. If a tattooer goes too deep during the process and hits delicate areas like arms or fingers, they may have raised scabs where there were once smooth surfaces.

Soon Fading

One of the worst things about tattoos is when they fade.

One of the worst things about tattoos is when they fade. When a tattoo artist doesn’t go deep enough with their needles, it will be more prone to rapid fading, and you might not even know that your old ink was still there.

How To Rework The Tattoo That Is Too Deep?

It’s often true that the best tattoos are those which have been reworked. This technique can be used to fix any mistakes or overworking of an original design, so it looks as good now on you in 20 years from when they were done originally. 

It’s possible to rework your tattoo!

Keep in my that it’s a process that will require more time and money, but it can be done painlessly. The steps are similar to getting new tattoos, so you should know the artist who does them well before going in for this type of work – if not already on their list.

Final Thoughts

The depth of a tattoo needle is one of the most important aspects of creating amazing artwork. Don’t worry; we have you covered with this blog post that will walk you through everything from your most concern on “how deep should a tattoo needle go” to what happens if it goes too shallow or too deep and more.

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