How Deep Should A Tattoo Needle set?

The scariest thing about getting a tattoo? For most people, it’s the needle. You worry that the pain may be too much, or that the needle might go too deep. That is why we want to talk about how deep into the skin the tattoo needle goes, as well as the mechanics of the tattoo machine and needle. By familiarizing yourself with how things work, you can be less anxious and more excited about getting a new tattoo.

All About The Tattoo Needle

One of the signs of a skilled tattoo artist is how they manage the depth and pressure of the tattoo needle. Someone who uses a tattoo needle expertly will not only bring about more beautiful images but also diminish some of the pain you experience.

Tattoos are typically made of nickel, chrome, or steel. The standard thickness is between 0.30mm-0.35mm, though some needles can be much thinner. Magnum or bug pin needles run around 0.20mm-0.25mm. Needles also come in different shapes for coloring, shading, and dotting. Round needles, for instance, are used for lines and shading. While flat needles are best for dark lines with cleaner edges. Regardless of the shape, size, or purpose, all tattoo needles are sterilized before use and disposed of after your tattoo is finished.

We have introduced how to choose the correct tattoo needles before, but do you know how to find the correct needle depth for your tattoo? Let’s find out how to set needle depth on a tattoo machine with a few steps.

Check the Skin Typer

Every human skin is different. There are five common types of skin, such as Oily, Normal, Combination, Dry, and Sensitive. Understanding your skin type can help you to correct Set the Needle Depth.

Understanding Skin Layer

tattoo needle depth

Human skin has three different layers and each performs a very different function. You should know that tattoo needles are used to insert tattoo ink into a person’s skin to color the tattoo design to make it looks more exquisite and vivid. All the penetrations are done on the epidermis, which may be more acceptable if being called the first layer of skin. The needles go no deeper than the dermis, the second layer of skin. The depth of tattoo needles decides the appearance and attraction of the tattoo designs. As the ink can’t be penetrated right with the wrong depth and colors can’t be shown to the full extent. Also, the level of pain is also determined by the depth. If the needle goes too deep, it may cause excessive bleeding then, which affects the cleanliness of the skin and makes it more difficult the heal the skin.

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.

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

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!

Raised lines

The scarring of tattoos can be seen in various parts, such as line-work. 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. 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 do tattoo artists set the needle depth?

For an experienced tattoo artist, it seems to be a piece of cake. They can eyeball the needle and tell whether the depth is suitable or not. But a novice should do more steps.

To know all the trifles of tattoo practice is a must, which helps you get more familiar with the tattoo equipment involved in tattooing. Then you should measure the thickness of human skin, which varies from person to person. Usually, the thickness will be 1-to-2 deep between the thickness of a dime and a nickel and slightly less shallow than a hair follicle. The measurement will be much easier after some needle depth

The depth of tattoo needles differs according to your purpose. For outlining, the depth should be set at around 1.22mm. For shading, set the needles to be at 3/32″ on a 10-wrap tattoo machine, and 1/16″ on an 8-wrap machine. Then don’t forget to ride the tube to keep the depth consistent.

After setting the depth of the tattoo needles, remember not to enact on the skin immediately as you may make mistakes when just getting started tattooing. Try the depth on grapefruit at first. If it shreds, you have got a great depth for your tattoo needles.

The depth of a tattoo needle is one of the most important aspects of creating amazing artwork. I hope now you can set the Correct Needle Depth on a Tattoo Machine easily. Just remember 1mm will be the minimum depth, and 2mm will be the maximum. Keep your practice continues, Try to learn from experience tattoo artists, it could be the best idea.

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