A tattoo is made by inserting a pigment into the dermis. If the
pigment were to go into the epidermis it would soon disappear
as this layer of the skin naturally flakes off. A tattoo can be
made with a needle and ink by hand, but most professionals use
a tattoo machine that applies the ink at a consistent depth. It
is like a sewing machine in that it rapidly moves the needle up
and down, however it applies ink instead of thread!
Since the epidermis is translucent, the tattoo design shows clearly.