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White Ink Tattoos For People With Pale Skins

When done the right way, they can be absolutely stunning, but there are other things to look out for when it comes to these types of tattoos

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Even though they get a lot of bad press, white ink tattoos are growing in popularity. People find them very unique and subtle.

This kind of tattoo comes with a catch though. White ink tattoos don't show up well on skin of all color. They are unpredictable and can look bizarre on anyone who doesn't have pale skin.

You may have read that white ink tattoos “fade,” “disappear,” or “get tinted,” but in reality all of these effects are caused by the skin’s melanin (which colors our skin) preventing clear visibility of the tattoo.

When you look at someone's tattoo, you're seeing the ink through the outer translucent layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. The ink is actually in the dermis, which is the second layer of the skin. The cells in this second layer are far more stable than the cells of the epidermis, allowing the ink to stay in place for a person's entire life (with minor fading and dispersion). The ink implanted into the epidermis will lift out with the natural exfoliation of the skin.

Melanin is produced in the bottom layer of the skin's epidermis. As the white tattoo ink is injected below the layer of melanin, the color of someone’s skin sits above the white ink. Your skin tone is determined by the amount of melanin in your skin and does not change from sun exposure or skin conditions like rosacea or acne. While a person's skin may become pale in the winter and a rich brown in the summer, their skin tone will remain the same.

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With that in mind, it’s important to note that we all have individual skin tones. And when it comes to tattooing, tone is everything. The artist has to learn to compensate the undertone of each skin tone.

Whitework specialists recommend this kind of tattoo for anyone with very pale skin, or anyone seeking a more transient and temporary tattoo effect. These limitations lead many tattoo artists to avoid working with white.

Same reason applies when it comes to tattooing darker skins. Some artists will avoid working on dark canvases because the melanin just gets in the way of seeing the ink. Artists have to learn to compensate for the undertone of each skin tone and many artists just haven't trained to compensate for that translucent layer.

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If you are thinking of getting a white ink tattoo, just make sure that you find an artist who knows what he is doing. That advice goes for any kind of tattoo, especially if its white.

To get some more white ink tattoo inspo, visit our curated gallery.

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