Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (2024)

Red ink is being used more and more in tattooing both as an accent color as well as as the only color in the whole tattoo.

However, it is common for people’s skin to react badly to red ink, so clients usually have a lot of questions about whether it’s safe or if they should worry about the higher risk of allergic reaction and fading.

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (1)

As a tattoo artist, it’s important to be able to answer these questions. That’s why, in this article, we’ll cover:

  • Whether red ink is safe to use
  • How common “red reaction” is
  • If red line tattoos fade faster
  • Design ideas for red ink tattoos

Table of Contents

Why White Ink?

Tattooing With White Ink

When to Use White Ink

Gallery: White Ink Tattoo Design Ideas

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Why White Ink?

White ink is becoming more and more common in tattooing because it can serve many purposes. There are tons of different ways to use white ink in tattooing including using the white out technique to cover up existing tattoos by using black ink (in a blackout sleeve) and then placing a white ink tattoo on top

White ink can also be used to create contrast in black or more colorful tattoos. For darker tattoos, a hint of white in certain areas can make the design pop out in ways it wouldn’t without the addition of white.

Like red and blue, white is becoming popular as a standalone color both for small tattoos and bigger, all-white pieces for clients who want a softer appearance to their tattoos.

Tattooing With White Ink

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (5)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (6)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (7)

Different skin types will react differently to white ink. White ink will create more contrast on darker skin than it will on light skin. When healed correctly, white ink tattoos will be almost invisible on lighter skin tones.

However, white ink does fade, and can look “yellowish” over time because of the skin’s natural tone underneath.

Understanding how the tattooing and healing processes are different both for the ink and for different types of skin is important because your clients rely on you to help them make the most informed decision they can.

  • Are White Ink Tattoos More Painful?

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (8)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (9)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (10)

Raised skin is common during the healing process for white tattoos. However, it should not be a more painful tattoo process.

The reason many people feel that white ink is more painful is because it is often used to apply highlights at the end of the tattoo. In this case, white ink is being placed in an area that has already been tattooed usually after the client has endured hours of being tattooed. While it’s the same process, that tenderness might cause white ink to seem more painful.

White ink tattoos might also be considered more painful because of how many times the design must be tattooed. In order to completely saturate the intended area with ink, the artist will likely need to go over the white ink several times during multiple appointments with time to heal in between. This can make the healing process lengthier and more painful.

  • How Badly Do White Ink Tattoos Fade?

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (11)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (12)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (13)

White ink tattoos fade more quickly than more colorful tattoos because the ink itself is much lighter and is already difficult to see on the skin. Direct sunlight should be avoided as much as possible with white ink tattoos.

Though white ink tattoos can be really cool and striking, they may require more frequent touch up than other tattoos because of how quickly they fade. Some clients report that faded white ink tattoos can look like scars, which is appealing to some, while others may not like the look.

  • Healing a White Tattoo

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (14)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (15)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (16)

  • Understanding That White Tattoos Can “Fade to Yellow”

White ink might yellow slightly as it heals. It is translucent, so when the ink is no longer fresh, the skin tone will show through the white. (This can be seen in color tattoos as well, as bright colors tend to show up more intensely on lighter skin.)

  • Pat - Don’t Wipe - White Ink Tattoos

Clients should be very careful when cleaning their tattoo so that it does not take on any of the surrounding colors in the tattoo. While the tattoo is still healing, it’s considered an “open wound.” It should be cleaned with mild, unscented soap and patting it dry instead of wiping it should help keep the colors separate. When the tattoo is healed, this is no longer a concern.

  • Protect White Tattoos From Direct Sunlight

Sunscreen is important for keeping all tattoos safe, but it is especially necessary for white ink tattoos. Exposure to sunlight is the most common reason that tattoos fade more quickly than desired, and the sun will wash out white ink tattoos very fast. Keeping white ink tattoos covered with sunscreen or clothing should help keep them vibrant for longer.

When to Use White Ink

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (17)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (18)

White ink is best used as a highlight color, and a 7 round shader is recommended. Unless the whole tattoo is white, it’s a good idea to keep the white ink to smaller areas to avoid some of the trouble that artists often see with white ink.

In small doses, white ink can make certain areas of the tattoo pop, but try not to rely too heavily on using white ink in areas where there is no color or a break in the design. In places where the tattoo design calls for nothing, it’s best to use skin breaks with no ink at all.

Note:

You can add a drop of Electric Blue to your white to give it a cooler and brighter tint.

Gallery: White Ink Tattoo Design Ideas

There are tons of different ways that white ink can be used in making really cool tattoos. White tattoo ink can look almost like a scar or it can be used to balance out black or other colors.

White ink tattoos are a great way to show personal style because they can be done as a tiny, hidden tattoo or they can cover a bigger part of the body while maintaining a delicate touch.

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (19)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (20)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (21)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (22)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (23)

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (24)

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (25)

Understanding the challenges that come with using white tattoo ink is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist.

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits.

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos.

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

About Me

I am an expert and enthusiast assistant. I have extensive knowledge and expertise in a wide range of topics, including tattooing, public speaking, and various other subjects. My knowledge is based on a vast amount of information and data, allowing me to provide accurate and detailed insights into different areas of interest. I can help answer questions, provide information, and engage in discussions on a variety of topics.

Red Ink in Tattooing

Red ink is increasingly popular in tattooing, both as an accent color and as the sole color in a tattoo. However, many people's skin can react poorly to red ink, leading to concerns about its safety and the risk of allergic reactions and fading. As a tattoo artist, it's crucial to address these concerns. In this response, I'll cover the safety of red ink, the prevalence of "red reaction," the fading of red line tattoos, and design ideas for red ink tattoos.

Safety of Red Ink

Red ink safety is a common concern among clients. While red ink is generally considered safe, it's important to note that allergic reactions can occur. The risk of an allergic reaction to red ink is higher compared to other colors. Tattoo artists should be aware of the potential risks and advise their clients accordingly.

Prevalence of "Red Reaction"

The "red reaction," or adverse skin reactions to red ink, is a common concern. While not everyone experiences this reaction, it's important for tattoo artists to be knowledgeable about the potential for adverse skin responses to red ink. Clients often have questions about the likelihood of experiencing a "red reaction" and how to mitigate the risks.

Fading of Red Line Tattoos

Red line tattoos are known to fade faster compared to tattoos with other colors. Clients often inquire about the longevity of red ink tattoos and whether they will retain their vibrancy over time. Tattoo artists should be prepared to address these concerns and provide guidance on maintaining the appearance of red line tattoos.

Design Ideas for Red Ink Tattoos

In addition to safety and longevity, clients may seek design ideas for red ink tattoos. Tattoo artists can offer creative suggestions for incorporating red ink into various tattoo designs, including using red as an accent color or creating unique designs that highlight the aesthetic appeal of red ink.

White Ink in Tattooing

The use of white ink in tattooing is also gaining popularity. White ink serves various purposes, such as creating contrast in darker or more colorful tattoos and being used as a standalone color for clients seeking a softer appearance. However, it's essential to understand how different skin types react to white ink and the potential challenges associated with white ink tattoos, including fading and healing processes .

Conclusion

As a knowledgeable and experienced individual in the field of tattooing, it's important to stay informed about the safety, risks, and design possibilities associated with red and white ink tattoos. By understanding these concepts, tattoo artists can effectively address their clients' concerns and provide them with the necessary information to make informed decisions about their tattoos.

Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos | Tattooing 101 (2024)

FAQs

What are the issues with white ink tattoo? ›

White ink can discolor, over the years we have seen white tattoos that have gone yellow, green and grey. The chemical composition of White ink is different to black ink, which means it spreads in the skin a lot more than black ink, which means delicate and detailed designs will spread and look blurry.

How long do white ink tattoos last? ›

Tattoo artists inject white ink deeper into the skin than black or colored ink. Unfortunately, white ink molecules do not hold in place well and require extreme stretching of the skin and heavy applications to be visible. As a result, white ink tattoos over ten years will become distorted and faded.

What are the pros and cons of white tattoo ink? ›

They create an aesthetic that is completely unique and separate from traditional black ink or full-colour tattoos. The end result can be subtle and intricately beautiful. However, white ink tattoos are notoriously difficult to achieve and require much more care than tattoos done in darker colours.

What are some facts about white ink tattoos? ›

White tattoos are beautiful, but before you rush out to get inked you should know that:
  • They can easily fade is not taken care of.
  • Not every tattoo artist will tattoo them.
  • Your tattoo will tan like your skin, so remember your SPF.
  • They won't always look crisp white, they can look grey or yellow.
Sep 7, 2023

How painful is white tattoo ink? ›

First and foremost, white ink is administered as the finishing touches of a tattoo. This means, that the tattoo artist is going over skin that has already been worked on. The skin is raw and open, so going over that area with a needle again isn't going to be pleasant. Imagine scraping a sunburn - not fun.

How common is it to be allergic to white tattoo ink? ›

While tattoo allergies are quite rare, there is a possibility of serious health consequences. The reaction can be seen immediately in some cases but often does not present a reaction until 48 hours or even a few weeks after getting the tattoo. In rare cases, it could happen months later.

Why is white tattoo ink so itchy? ›

Simply put, white ink is very unpredictable. Body lotions, chemical sunscreens and sunshine are all notorious for affecting white ink tattoos. It's very common for people to experience allergic reactions with white ink and some continue to have these reactions while in the sun years after the tattoo has been healed.

Do white ink tattoos turn yellow? ›

Tattooing With White Ink

However, white ink does fade, and can look “yellowish” over time because of the skin's natural tone underneath.

Is white ink harder to heal? ›

White ink tattoos require more touch-ups and can be more difficult to heal than other tattoo styles; however, they are just as beautiful and long-lasting as any other type of tattoo when performed by a professional artist and cared for properly.

Why is white tattoo ink hard to remove? ›

When the ink absorbs the light, it breaks up the ink particles so your body can remove them naturally and safely. Here's the problem, though: white reflects all types of light. Because it doesn't absorb light as easily as other ink colors, it can be very difficult to treat white ink.

Do white tattoos show up on tan skin? ›

Darker skin tones have more melanin, which can make the white ink appear less vibrant and may result in a faint or subtle tattoo. It may not have the same level of contrast as it would on lighter skin.

Do white tattoos age well? ›

White tattoos don't usually pass the test of time.

All tattoos fade, and after a certain number of years, they don't look the same. And white ink tends to change its color faster than other ink as a tattoo ages. So there's a huge possibility that you'll have to retouch your tattoo more often than if it were black.

Are white ink tattoos expensive? ›

White ink is more expensive than black ink, and it's also more likely to fade over time. Ultimately, the choice between white and black tattoo ink comes down to personal preference. But knowing the differences between them can help you make a more informed decision.

Does white tattoo ink heal weird? ›

White inks fade little by little, leaving only the mark of the design and turning it into an almost invisible tattoo, it actually looks like a scar. Healing can also go wrong, and an unusual relief might be generated in the contour lines of the design.

Is it safe to get a white tattoo ink? ›

Simply put, white ink is very unpredictable. Body lotions, chemical sunscreens and sunshine are all notorious for affecting white ink tattoos. It's very common for people to experience allergic reactions with white ink and some continue to have these reactions while in the sun years after the tattoo has been healed.

Are white ink tattoos a good idea? ›

As a tattooer with over two decades experience, I caution my clients against getting white ink tattoos. While the tattoo may look white when it was fresh, once it is healed it will look more like a scar. Over the years, the color will likely disappear leaving that scar-like appearance.

Do white tattoos always turn yellow? ›

Purley dependant on the person's skin. if you tattoo someone with tanned skin when it heals the melanin in their skin grows over the white which gives it a yellow tint. The white stays the same color but the thin layer of skin that heals over gives it a slight tint.

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jamar Nader

Last Updated:

Views: 6055

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jamar Nader

Birthday: 1995-02-28

Address: Apt. 536 6162 Reichel Greens, Port Zackaryside, CT 22682-9804

Phone: +9958384818317

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Scrapbooking, Hiking, Hunting, Kite flying, Blacksmithing, Video gaming, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Jamar Nader, I am a fine, shiny, colorful, bright, nice, perfect, curious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.