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The Pros and Cons of White Ink Tattoos

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. October 21, 2021
The Pros and Cons of White Ink Tattoos

As with any form of design, tattoos have trends which change and evolve. Some of this is due to the type of design which is popular, but even the color can become more or less en vouge. White ink for tattooing is not new, but it was usually only reserved for highlighting darker lines or being used in drawings which have a lot of white in their coloration. However, over the past 15 years or so, tattoos which use only or a majority of white ink have become popular. These can be done in a range of styles, but they are particularly popular for patterns and text.

Now that the culture has had time to live with white ink tattoos being commonplace, oneHOWTO assesses whether they are good idea for you or a good idea in general. We do this by looking at the pros and cons of white ink tattoos.

You may also be interested in: My Tattoo is Peeling and the Ink Is Coming Off
  1. What are white ink tattoos?
  2. Pros of white ink tattoos
  3. Cons of white ink tattoos
  4. Why is it said that white ink hurts more?

What are white ink tattoos?

The sudden popularity of all-white ink tattoos has made some think that there is something different about their process of application. When a white ink tattoo is complete, it looks fainter and, sometimes, almost shimmering. However, tattooing with white ink is the same as tattooing with any other color. The only difference is the type of pigment used.

Pros of white ink tattoos

White ink tattoos have been a rising trend in recent years. For a long time, this tone has been used to highlight some parts of a design, generate the impression of reliefs or give realism to the line. Although white lines of tattoos are less striking than black line tattoos, this doesn't mean they don't have certain advantages. For this reason, we note the following pros of white ink tattoos:

  • Can be very discreet: a tattoo is for life, but, in the case of white ink tattoos, they don't have to be as prominent. For some, they simply don't like the idea of a black highly visible tattoo. White ink can still give them the pleasure of a tattoo, but in a more discrete way.

  • More suitable for certain designs: white ink is commonly used to make small and fine tattoos. For this reason, some designs may be more suitable for white ink such as moons, stars or mandalas. They can give a more natural impression on the skin, depending on your original skin tone.

  • Glow in the dark: white ink also exists in a fluorescent variety if exposed to UV light. Therefore, in these cases it will shine and be seen in the dark, becoming more visible than with normal light.

  • Natural appearance: once healed and healthy, these tattoos can create a more natural symbiosis with the skin and have the appearance of a mark, scar or relief rather than a typical tattoo. In fact, a similar look to a healed scarification can be achieved, but with a totally different (and overall less painful) procedure.

  • They offer numerous combinations: white is very versatile when it comes to combining it with other colors and playing with designs. You can experiment and try with white ink tattoos on a black tattoo (blackout) or another dark color.

Whatever ink you use, your aftercare will determine how well the ink heals. To learn more, find out what happens when you don't moisturize a tattoo.

The Pros and Cons of White Ink Tattoos - Pros of white ink tattoos
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Cons of white ink tattoos

However, not everything is going to be good news. Like all tattoos, we must not forget that it is about generating a controlled wound and putting the ink under the skin before it heals. Not all skin types will react with white ink in the same way. In general, the cons of white ink tattoos include:

  • Ink rejection: as with other inks, you may have a sensitivity or allergy to it, which causes it not to cure well and the body rejects and expels it. The result will be a poorly finished design and whatever problems the symptoms of the allergic reaction cause. In some cases, it can be distorted art or even scarring of the skin. It is always good to test on a small patch of skin and wait to see the reaction, before proceeding to do the whole design.

  • Short-lived: white ink tends to absorb and fade much faster than other colors and may need to be reworked frequently so that the design is not lost. While it might seem that white ink would appear more brilliant on darker skin due to the contrast, the converse is often true. The white ink often will not work well with certain dark skin tones. However, it will depend on the individual.

  • Lack of expertise: making tattoos with white ink is a relatively new technique and fewer artists are specialized in its practice to achieve the best results. This means it can be more difficult to find a suitable tattooist.

Now you know the advantages and disadvantages of white ink tattoos, you may want to know more about how watercolor tattoos are done.

Why is it said that white ink hurts more?

Now you know the pros and cons of white ink tattoos, you can decide for yourself whether it is a good idea for yourself. However, there is one last thing we need to clear up. For some reason, there is a myth that white ink hurts more to apply than other types of ink. There should be nothing in the ink which is more or less harmful than other ink colors when applied to the skin. The method of application is also the same as any other ink color.

The only thing which might suggest white ink can hurt more is how it is applied. Since white ink does not show up as bold in the skin than darker hues, some tattooists may try to go over the area more intensely than they should. If this happens, the abrasions can be more painful. However, the ink will be saturated in the skin the same as any other color. For this reason, people may have experienced more pain with white ink tattoos because of inexperienced tattooists.

Now you know white ink tattoos are, essentially, the same as any other tattoo, you may want to learn more about tattoo care in general. If so, the following articles may be of help:

If you want to read similar articles to The Pros and Cons of White Ink Tattoos, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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The Pros and Cons of White Ink Tattoos