Entering a tattoo parlor for the first time can leave you inspired or fearful, the electrical buzz of the tattoo guns, plastic-covered chairs, and beds filled with first-timers or die-hard collectors of skin art. Clients will talk or stare into the distance as the gun bites into the skin on the first contact. There is always a choice of black or color for first-time clients, and most want to know, do black tattoos heal faster?
Black tattoos do recover more quickly. There are several reasons why black ink tattoos might recover faster than color tattoos. The most common cause would be the fact that applying a tattoo with black ink does not require a lot of color packing and lessens skin trauma.
Tattoo parlors have an unmistakable scent, and that is the sweet, carbon smell of the black ink. Some tattoo enthusiasts can attest to the addiction of the whole experience. Nothing beats the feeling of a freshly applied tattoo, and to do everything possible to get it healed as efficiently and quickly as possible is the goal. There are many factors to consider when looking at the healing of black ink tattoos. Let’s go more in-depth and explore.
If you are looking for inspiration before your tattoo, check out my portfolio – you can find my works and projects here – on Instagram.
How Is Black Tattoo Ink Made?
Traditionally black ink was made using ground-up carbon or ash and then mixed with a carrier solution; in some cases, they used alcohol such as Vodka. Today, you will find different carriers used, such as distilled water, glycerin, and Ethyl alcohol. Alcohol as a carrier can help the skin be more permeable and deliver more ink into the dermis.
Getting to know the ink composition basics is essential, especially when you consider that a tattoo will be permanent. Black pigment-based inks have been used for centuries by traditional tribes for markings, acknowledging manhood, and showing fealty to a cause.
There are a vast number of black pigment inks available on the market. Preferably you want inks made from the more traditional natural pigments, especially for black. Some ink manufacturers use nickel and iron in their composition. Knowing that, speak to your artist about their range of ink.
Why Do Black Tattoos Heal Faster?
Many variables determine the healing of a tattoo. Black ink is probably the most widely used for outlines and shading. Let’s look at why black tattoos heal faster.
- Ink depth. Black ink gets more readily packed into the skin on application. It doesn’t always go to the dermis layer.
- Less skin trauma. Since the artist does not have to impact the ink so deep, the skin is not exposed long enough to create skin trauma and bruise.
- Less bleeding. The less trauma there is to the skin, the less bleeding there should be to push out freshly impacted ink.
- Minimal scabbing.Scabbing is the natural way in which the body heals a graze. Tattooing is essentially a large surface area graze and must scab over to heal.
There is no cut and dry rule with tattoos to say that all black tattoos will heal faster than colored tattoos; many individual factors come in to play.
Factors That Determine Black Tattoo Healing
As individual human beings, our biological and chemical makeup are similar at face value, yet each of us is biochemically different. We have ways of responding to situations, trauma, healing, and discipline that are unique. Below we explore factor that could play a role;
- Bruising.When you get tattooed, there are from one to 8 needles penetrating your skin imbedding ink into either the epidermis and the dermis layer. If you bruise easily, this can
- Hemophilia or excessive bleeding. Hemophiliacs should not get tattoos; they have a bleeding disorder that causes them to bleed and bruise more excessively than usual.
- Warfarin or blood thinning medicine. If you take any blood-thinning medication for a medical condition, it is highly recommended that you speak to your primary caregiver. You might be required to sign an extra indemnity should you find an artist willing to work on you. For your wellbeing, please always declare truthfully.
- Sensitive skin. A lot of people have very sensitive or eczema prone skin types. These conditions can affect the healing of your tattoo.
- Hygiene. The most important part of having a tattoo is the aftercare; a high level of hygiene is vital to your new body art’s fast healing. There is always a risk of infection with poorly maintained tattoos in the 14 days after.
- Scab picking. The natural way a tattoo heals on your body is by forming scabs like over a scrape or a cut. Fresh tattoos heal by forming a thin layer of scabs over the inked part, and it is crucial not to pick at the scabs as you stand the risk of scarring your skin and pulling the ink out with the scab.
- Diabetes. You can be tattooed as a person with diabetes; however, you need to ensure your blood sugar levels are stable and well maintained. People with diabetes always stand the risk of getting an infection through cuts and bruises. Please declare and discuss your condition with your prospective artist.
- Alcohol. Drinking any alcohol the day before having a tattoo done can increase the viscosity of your blood, and you could bleed more than usual. Artists will recommend you to wait a few days.
What Is The Best Place For A Black Tattoo?
The best way to approach your first tattoo is to consider your current lifestyle and the reason for the tattoo. Are you a student, a professional, or your own boss? Where you place your first black ink tattoo will be a mix of personal choice and careful consideration.
The more common places will be on the back of the shoulder, on the wrist, or the ankle. Areas with minimum friction will be the right choice that will also assist in speeding up healing time.
Tattoos Best Done In Black Ink
Colored tattoos are beautiful to look at; there is no doubt. Individual styles of tattoo are, however, best done in a variety of black and gray shades. Below are some style ideas that will look great in black or black and grayscale ink.
The word tattoo we use today comes from the Samoan word tatau where the tribes are known for markings that symbolize each warrior’s legacy.
- Classic Americana. This style works very well with a black and grayscale image.
- Tribal.This style uses more solid black ink, and usually, no shading is done. This style is recognized by the solid sweeping black markings that resembles armor.
- Samoan or Polynesian.Traditional style tattoos are made up of outlined areas and smaller solid black ink filling. They usually contain intricate designs and can take some time to complete.
- Portraiture.For many years, artists did portrait work in black ink or black and grayscale; this is fine art work and requires a skilled artist to get the shaded areas done to perfection.
- Blackwork. Traditionally derived from tribal tattoos, they are bold black designs with sweeping geometric patterns incorporating some dot-work and realism. This style is trendy in black ink work.
- Stick-and-poke. Using a single needle for this style is reminiscent of the traditional way they delivered tattoos with a stick, and a sharpened steel needle hand tapped into the skin. This style is usually used for small single tattoos.
- Biomechanical.This is one of the older freehand styles. It incorporates the effect of peeled back skin and mechanical looking limb pieces.
- Realistic Trash Polka.Developed in Germany at the Buena Vista Tattoo Club by Simone Plaff and Volko Merschky, this style can immediately be recognized by collage-style incorporating photos, paint splashes, and typewriting pieces.
- Geometric.A tattoo done in this style can be a centerpiece; it is beautifully contrasted by the use of very sharp lines, geometric shapes, and the element of either an animal or a flower.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):
Some more ideas for a black ink tattoo
Here you can find some more black ink tattoos made by me as ideas for your new one ;)