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In the last couple of years, black-out tattoos have been growing in popularity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting it for aesthetic purposes as part of a larger tattoo design or to cover up unwanted or older tattoos, black-out tattoos have flooded social media and piqued many people’s interests.
But are black-out tattoos even safe for your skin? Before we get to that, let’s first look at the history of black-out tattoos.
Who Started Black-Out Tattoos?
The concept of inking large sections of the body with solid black ink has been around since the dawn of tattoos. Tribes across the globe originally started experimenting with tattoos and tribal tattoos were created. If you think of tribal ink, they’re done with thick bold lines and the patterns are colored in opaque black. From there, tribal tattoos evolved into black-out tattoos.
Although this phenomenon has been around for years and years, it has only recently caught the eye of mainstream media. Black-out tattoos are considered one of the more extreme types of tattoos, so much so that the Queen of tattoos Kat von D had to justify her decision to get black-out tattoos to her fans.
Whether you’re for or against black-out tattoos, below is everything you need to know about black-out tattoos.
Pros and Cons of Black-Out Tattoos
So, you got a tattoo of your ex’s name or worse yet, their face tattooed on you. The relationship fizzled out and the stomach-dropping realization dawns on you that they’ll be with you for life unless…
You can either go for laser tattoo removal (ouch!) or you can opt for a black-out tattoo (a little less ouch). That’s a good enough reason to get a black-out tattoo, but that’s not the only reason why people get these solid black tattoos.
There are people who have diseases that affect the pigmentation in their skin. This can cause the skin to look lighter in some areas compared to others. Black-out tattoos are a great way to hide this unevenness if they wish to do so.
Of course, many people get black-out tattoos because they want to—nothing more, nothing less. They may like the look of solid black wrap-around tattoos or find the juxtaposition of black-out tattoos with finer, floral lines appealing.
Now we come to the not-so-nice part of getting a black-out tattoo. You may be wondering how much does a black-out tattoo cost? Well, the expense of getting a black-out tattoo is one of the biggest drawbacks. That and the pain, but more on that later!
The reason why black-out tattoos are so expensive comes down to time. The process of covering your skin with solid black ink is very time-consuming and the bigger the area you want to fill, the longer it will take.
You will either need to pay one artist for many, many hours of work, or pay several artists to work on you at once, which is also a costly exercise. Remember, black-out tattoos are meant to be completely solid, so your tattoo artist will have to do multiple passes to saturate your skin with pigment.
If you choose a reputable tattoo artist (as you should) to do your black-out tattoo, you can expect to pay anything from $100 to $300 per hour. That’s just a rough estimate as famous tattoo studios and artists may charge up to $500 an hour.
Also, if you have a tattoo or two, you’ll know that the longer a tattoo takes, the more pain you’ll have to sit through and you can double or triple that when more than one artist is working on you! So, not only is getting a black-out tattoo bad for your wallet, but it’s also bad for your pain levels, as well.
Dangers of Black-Out Tattoos
The cost and pain factor aside, there are some other downsides to getting black-out tattoos that are borderline dangerous.
When you get such a solid and large piece of ink, there is a chance that you’re injecting your skin with harmful substances. Not all tattoo inks are created equal, and some brands still use ingredients that are bad for your skin and your general health. Titanium dioxide, nickel, lead, and chromium are only some of the ingredients that can cause allergic reactions, dermatitis, inflammation, and even cancer.
If you decide to get a black-out tattoo, check that your tattoo artist uses ink from reputable and trusted brands. Dynamic tattoo ink is a good option as it is one of the best black inks on the market and it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. Vegan and organic inks are also better for you in general.
You also have to keep in mind that covering your skin with black makes it difficult to see your natural skin. This makes it close to impossible to spot skin anomalies or diagnose melanoma. If there is a history of skin cancer in your family, then you may want to think twice before deciding on a black-out tattoo, unless it is a black-out tattoo cuff or something similar.
There’s also an increased risk of infection if the black-out tattoo takes up a large area of the body. Since fresh tattoos are wounds, you need to be extra vigilant to follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions and use only the best tattoo aftercare products. If you don’t and bacteria get introduced to even a small section of your tattoo, it can cause an infection that can spread to the rest of your tattoo.
The good news is that black-out tattoos heal just as other tattoos do, so in two weeks, you can ease up on your tattoo aftercare routine. We do suggest you continue to apply a tattoo lotion to keep your skin moisturized and prepare it for any follow-up sessions to get the black more opaque.
For those of you who are choosing a black-out tattoo to cover another tattoo instead of going for laser tattoo removal, keep in mind that black-out tattoos take much longer to remove so you have to be 200% sure.
A typical tattoo fades in two to eight sessions whereas a black-out tattoo will take between 15 and 20 sessions for full removal. It will also be more expensive than removing a smaller tattoo design.
Black-out tattoos may be all the rage but there are some things you should consider before getting one. If you regret getting a specific tattoo, you do have the option of going for laser tattoo removal which isn’t as extreme as getting a black-out tattoo. However, if you like the look of a solid black area of skin, nothing should stop you.
Just make sure to get tattooed by a professional tattoo artist who knows what they’re doing. You’ll also have to check if the tattoo artist you have in mind is even willing to do black-out tattoos as it’s not a walk in the park to do and does put extra strain on their wrists and hands, not to mention their equipment and stock. No wonder black-out tattoos are so expensive!
The ink your tattoo artist is going to use on you is very important to find out what their ink of choice is and do your research beforehand. You don’t want them to use ink that contains harmful ingredients such as metals.
The ink should also be known for its durability or your tattoo will fade to grey in no time. In general, vegan and organic ink is safe for your body and the natural pigments in the inks tend to last longer than others.
Well, there you go; all you need to know about black-out tattoos. All that’s left for you to do is find a reputable tattoo artist and prepare for your tattoo!