• Oct 09, 2021 . 3 min Read
  • Using body art to add beauty to skin

Using body art to add beauty to skin
Rebecca Nalunga
Journalist @New Vision

Body art is an interesting mode of self-expression. The mark made can be permanent or temporary but for whatever purpose it is done, it definitely adds beauty to the skin.

The commonest types of body art on the market are Tattooing, Henna, and Stick-on


Medard Kityo, a tattoo artist says that a tattoo is a mark created by piercing the top layer of the skin and filling it with ink to create a pattern. He adds that tattooing is not to be taken lightly and advises his clients to think carefully about what images they want tattooed on their bodies because they are permanent.  “If for example, one wants to tattoo the name or face of their current lover, or spouse on their body, I do not create it that particular day. Instead, I ask them to go back and think carefully about it because if the relationship ends, the memory on the skin will not be erased,” he explains.


  • The tattoo ink is put in a syringe and a sterilised needle attached.
  • The image is traced onto the skin with a pen.
  • The needle is then pressed against the skin rapidly piercing it along the image and filling it out with the ink.
  • The wound is dressed and left to heal. The client is advised to go back after a few days to have the dressing removed.


  • It is fast and time saving.
  • The image is permanent.
  • Even difficult images like faces can be tattooed.
  • Has no religious or cultural beliefs attached to it.


  • The process is painful and there is bleeding.
  • If not well taken care of, the wound can become septic.


Originating from ancient Egypt, and adopted by Indian and African traditions, this form of body art is for the less adventurous. Jamila Ahmad, a Mehandi artist in Mengo Kisenyi, learnt the art from an aunt in Zanzibar. She says henna is made from the Mehandi tree leaves which thrives in arid areas. “Their petiole produces and reddish-brown dye which, when applied to the skin, stains and cools it,” she says. It is mostly used by brides and can have intricate patterns, drawn on her body to mimic lace gloves and shoes. Traditionally, she is not supposed to do any housework until the henna has faded off.



  • The dye is mixed with sugar or honey and a bit of lemon juice till it turns reddish brown 24 hours prior to the application.
  • The pattern is then drawn on the body using a Mylar cone, a syringe or a jak bottle tracing over a stencil or with a steady hand.
  • The area is left to dry for a minimum of three hours, preferably for 24 hours. The longer it sits, the deeper and darker the stain will be.


  • It is semi-permanent, lasting between 1 to 5 weeks.
  • It stays briefly when stained on the upper arm and face.
  • Lasts longer on the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet because the skin is thicker there.
  • The process is painless
  • Henna powder is readily available on the market.


  • Henna powder is easily be duplicated especially in form of black henna.
  • It might cause oozing, itching or scarring if the powder is fake.
  • Long waiting period for the henna to set

Stick on:

These are the easiest and commonest way to create body art. They are cheap and ideal for short term body decoration. They come with their own mild adhesive glue attached at the back of each piece.


  • Wipe and dry the area to rid it of grime and oil.
  • Peel off from the sticker and attach to the skin and hold for a few seconds to secure.



  • They are easy to use and readily available in most beauty shops.
  • They are cheap ranging between shs.15, 000 to 30,000.
  • The procedure can be done at home.
  • The process is painless.


  • They only last 24 hours after which they come lose.
  • Need careful handling because clothing or jewelry can misplace them.



Related Articles