Living in the country’s coldest metropolis comes with some benefits. Minnesotans can pretty much bank on snow days and prime skiing weather most of the year. But when it comes to showing off exceptional tattoos, having to bundle up in several parkas can cramp one’s style. That’s why Minneapolis tattoos have to work overtime. Nobody wants an unscannable dumpster tat under any circumstances, and even less so when their sleeve only gets to breathe a few months out of the year. We’ve put together a guide to help you get the most out of your ink, and how to keep it in place despite your body (and the elements) trying to erase it.What Can I Expect?A new tattoo is vibrant and sharp, its colors popping like fresh paint. With proper care, tattoos can stay like this for years. That’s because tattoo artists don't simply apply the ink but bury it, carefully injecting insoluble pigments about 1 millimeter deep into the skin’s second layer—the dermis—and bypassing the upper layer—the epidermis—completely.Wouldn’t the Epidermis Hurt Less?Well, yes, unless you count the pain of losing that photorealist portrait of Orville Redenbacher on your arm. Prone to flaking skin and big brothers' rug burns, the epidermis has a high cell turnover, which makes it too volatile for tattoos to stay put. The much less fragile dermis is able to hold ink in place for decades.Wait… Why Do Tattoos Fade Then, Smart Guy?Sun exposure is a major culprit, but that doesn’t mean you should spend all summer hiding out inside various malls in Minneapolis. The human body does plenty good on its own trying to degrade tattoos. Tattoo ink is, after all, a foreign substance that our bodies want gone, much like viruses or clothes. Slowly but surely, the immune system gradually begins to break pigment down into manageable pieces that the lymph nodes can carry away.I Give Up.We weren’t finished! You can still get longer-lasting tattoos—it all depends on ink color. Lighter, brighter colors are broken down more easily, and tend to wane. Darker blues, blacks, and greens age better. It’s why your grandpa’s grayscale “Navy Boy 4 LYFE” tattoo still looks pretty vibrant. It’s also why a full-back image of a pink lady apple is going to look pretty rugged down the line.If you’re shopping in Minneapolis for your own tattoo, here are a few suggestions: Uptown Tattoo (614 W. 27th St.) Defiant Tattoo and Caffeine Bar (3014 S. Lyndale Ave.) Twin City Tattoos (3131 Nicollet Ave. S.) Identity Tattoo (9695 63rd Ave. N.)
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