Everything You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos


36% of people in the United States have one tattoo or more. In recent years, tattoos have only gotten more and more popular. After all, tattoos are a great way for a person to express himself or herself. 

There are also many different styles of tattoos to choose from. White ink tattoos have become especially popular in recent years because they are so different from traditional tattoos. But what exactly are white tattoos and are they really any different from regular tattoos?

How would a tattoo artist tattoo this kind of design and is it any more difficult compared to an ordinary tattoo? Keep reading and learn more about what makes white ink tattoos unique, how they work, and how long they last. 

What You Need to Know About White Ink Tattoos

A white tattoo, as the name suggests, is nothing more than a tattoo that is done with white ink rather than black or colored ink. In general, white ink tattoos tend to be quite minor in appearance compared to ordinary tattoos. This is especially true if you have fair skin. 

If you have very light skin and you get a white ink tattoo, you will be able to see the tattoo, but it will be very faint. On the other hand, if you have darker skin, the white ink will be more noticeable. However, white ink in general is not as prominent or strong as darker ink pigments. 

So, even if you have dark skin and decide to get a white ink tattoo, it still may not be as prominent as tattoos done with darker ink colors. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Just because this type of tattoo isn’t very noticeable doesn’t mean that it can’t be stylish or meaningful. 

Many people love the more subtle design that white ink tattoos have to offer. This is especially true if a person has a job that requires tattoos to be hidden. Hiding a white tattoo is very easy since all you need to do is put a very thin layer of makeup over it and the tattoo should disappear.

The Details

Also, because white tattoos are not very noticeable at first to other people, a person will have more freedom as to where to put the tattoo. For example, a person could get a white tattoo on the back of his hand in plain sight but it wouldn’t be noticeable to others unless they got up close and really looked at the person’s hand. 

Only then would it be possible to admire the delicate details of white ink tattoos. White ink tattoos are also very versatile. You can get many of the same tattoo designs with white ink as you could with black ink. Of course, the resulting design will look quite different in white ink compared to black ink. 

But you might be wondering if there are any downsides to getting white ink tattoos or designing white tattoos as a tattoo artist in comparison to traditional ink designs. As it turns out, there are a few downsides you will have to look out for. 

What Are the Cons of White Ink Tattoos?

If you are a tattoo artist or plan on becoming one, you should know that it is generally harder to design white ink tattoos compared to traditional tattoos. This is because white ink is so much harder to see and work with compared to black or colored ink. This will not only make the process harder but it may take longer as well. 

For that reason, it will take some work before you start to feel more natural when doing white ink tattoos. You will also need to be very careful when doing this type of tattoo since it is easy to make mistakes due to the poor visualization of the ink. You also need to take into account the fact that white ink is generally quite thin and not very prominent. 

So, as a tattoo artist, you would need to go over the tattoo several times with white ink before the tattoo really starts to show on the skin. This, of course, will take much longer to do compared to a normal tattoo. This process is so complicated and time-consuming that many tattoo artists will actually refuse to do white ink tattoos. 

Besides the downsides for tattoo artists, there are also a few downsides for the person getting this kind of tattoo. For one, white ink tattoos won’t last forever. This is because, due to the weakness of white pigment, white tattoos will naturally fade away over the years. 

When you first get a white ink tattoo, the tattoo may look great. However, as the tattoo starts to fade, the design may start to become less recognizable and more of an ugly blur. As the tattoo fades, people may mistake it for scarring. 

Scarring and Fading

This is because tattoos, in general, raise the skin. This usually isn’t noticeable with black ink tattoos because the dark ink covers the raised part of the skin. However, white ink tattoos instead highlight the raised parts of the skin and make the skin look scarred once the white ink starts to fade.

This, of course, may not be very desirable for you, especially if you want to get a very large white ink tattoo. At a certain point, all the white ink from the tattoo will disappear and turn the color of your skin. However, in some cases, the ink may turn a dull shade of gray. 

Also, keep in mind that certain changes to your skin may affect the appearance of the tattoo. For example, suppose that you go outside and get a tan after sitting in the sun for an hour or so. Getting a tan will also cause the tattoo to darken, and it might not look very attractive once it gets tan. 

Fortunately, you can protect this from happening if you protect the tattoo in some way such as by wrapping it in cloth, wearing clothes over it, and so on. 

Is a White Ink Tattoo a Good or Bad Idea?

Whether you’re a tattoo artist or someone interested in getting a white ink tattoo (or both), you might be wondering whether this type of tattoo is a good or bad idea. It depends on what you expect out of the tattoo. As a tattoo artist, it will be quite difficult to do this type of tattoo on a client. 

It also takes a lot of practice to make right. More than anything, it will require a lot of time to do since it requires you to go over the same parts of the tattoo over and over again to make sure the white ink shows up on the skin. While this will be easier when tattooing dark skin, it will still be difficult and time-consuming.

As a tattoo artist, you will have to determine whether the time and effort spent on this kind of tattoo is worth it. Of course, if you love the look of these tattoos and the process of working on them, then you shouldn’t have any problem working on them.  

Skin Types and Design Limitations

However, it is important to know that white ink tattoos have limited designs. This is because it is not really possible to shade a white tattoo or give it any highlights. For that reason, most white ink tattoos tend to be simple linework designs or very small designs that are filled in with white ink. 

While this might be fine for some people, it may not be ideal for those who want more complex or striking tattoos. It is also important to consider how white ink tattoos look on different skin types. For example, white ink tattoos will be more noticeable on those with darker skin compared to those with lighter skin. 

People with freckles should generally avoid white ink tattoos. This is because the pigment of the freckles can show through the white ink and make the tattoo as a whole look quite splotchy and strange. For that reason, people with freckles may prefer darker tattoos. 

All About White Ink Tattoos

White ink tattoos are a more recent trend and while they can look very attractive, they may not be for everyone. For one, white tattoos are quite hard for a tattoo artist to do since they require more time and effort to complete. More than that, white ink tattoos tend to fade over the years and they may start to look like scars once the pigment fades away. 

To learn more about tattoos and tattooing, schedule a tour of our tattoo school here.