White Ink Tattoos
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Tattoo artists have been using white ink for years now, but mostly to complement colored tattoos (often as highlights). However, all-white tattoos are becoming increasingly popular—in fact, they’re kind of the next big thing in tattooing, popularized by such notables as Lindsey Lohan. Tattoos done all in white are so subtle as to be easy to miss, making the design less of a public statement and more of a personal one. The effect is almost that of faint scarring, and while certainly trendy, there are some issues to consider before getting a white ink tattoo.
Problems with White Ink
- The ink itself is thicker and takes longer for a tattoo artist to apply.
- For people with darker complexions, the ink is harder for their skin to absorb, and the tattoo becomes even fainter.
- Allergic reactions to white ink are more common than with darker ink.
- White ink fades faster than darker inks, particularly when exposed to the sun, meaning that it requires more frequent touch-ups.
- If your artist uses a stencil, there’s a chance that ink remaining on the stencil could color the white ink, discoloring your “white” tattoo.
- White ink is more difficult to work with for artists in general, because it’s harder to see the line they’re drawing and because the ink is thicker. For these reasons, many artists refuse to do all-white tattoos, and some of those who do charge more.
Why Get a White Ink Tattoo
- They’re easy to conceal. If you’re in a line of work where tattoos are frowned upon but you’re desperate to get inked, a white ink tattoo might be the solution. White ink tattoos are incredibly faint, and even if they’re in a visible location, they can easily be concealed via makeup.
- If you’re interested in scarring by cutting or by branding, then white ink tattoos might be for you. The result is very similar look, but the tattooing process allows for far greater subtlety and detail.
White Ink Designs
Obviously, the different quality of white ink tattoos leads to slightly different design choices, but the biggest rule is to stay simple. Complex designs are much harder for the artists who will be working with such difficult-to-see ink. In addition, because the ink is thicker, it has a tendency to spread out a bit, creating a blurring effect that is more noticeable in complicated designs.