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White ink tattoo

White ink tattoo

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Wow, tons of people in this thread with lots of partially pieced together bits of information. Let me break down a couple of important things for everyone:

Why white ink doesn work well with darker skin

Melanin pigment, which is what makes people have darker skin, resides in the epidermis the outer layer of skin. Pigment particles in tattoo ink all reside permanently in the dermis, since the epidermis will eventually undergo a cycle of sloughing off dead skin cells, which will be replaced by new ones. This means that white ink will be hidden underneath a layer of melanin rich epidermis, depending on how dark skinned the person is. Thinking of tattooing in terms of painting, rather than putting down a layer of gesso primer on a canvas then painting on top of that, tattooing is like doing a painting, then putting down a layer of primer (or glaze) over the top of it with whatever their melanin content happens to be. This may seem obvious, but a freshly done tattoo still has plenty of pigment in the epidermis, and so has extra vibrant colors. In the case of even very dark skinned people, white or light colors will look bright initially. After the epidermal layer covering the tattoo has been replaced with new, melanin rich tissue, the lighter colors below get obscured.

So, this applies when referring to people who have “dark skin” regardless of whether or not it was the result of genetics or some UV rays. There are TONS of factors to determine what the outcome could be, depending on how much sun they got, how dark their skin is, etc.

About this photo and this type of tattoo in general:

I think there a good chance this photo was taken the day after this tattoo was done, after the swelling and irritation had gone down. Until someone can show me some 1+ year healed photos of this type of tattoo I will stay convinced that these are interesting, and look OK in the short term, but will inevitably cause you a headache down the road.

I work in a shop in a college town, and thanks to Pinterest every sorority girl now wants this done, and very rarely does the finished product even look good for the following reasons:

Sun exposure can change the ink color in the skin, making designs look incomprehensible.

If it tattooed incorrectly the purple of the stencil can be wiped into the tattoo, giving it a permanent bruise looking effect.

On top of that, light ink colors don show up on darker skin because when the skin heals, it heals over the ink. Thus very few people can get it done successfully, and even then they don last. When white is used in other tattoos (I have several with white sections), it used to accent other colors, not stand up on its own, so its fading is not an issue.

Quite honestly, what the point? If you going to pay the money and put up with the pain of being tattooed, get something visible or get you a henna tattoo that fades at about the same rate as white ink.