Why Do People Get Blackout Tattoos?

Blackout tattoos are becoming more and more popular worldwide. It is a style of tattoo art where extensive areas of skin are filled in with solid black ink. People mostly get Blackout, Blackwork, or solid-black, wrap-around tattoos to cover up old tattoos they do not want anymore.

Blackout tattoos are chosen to cover scars, blemished skin, and unwanted tattoos. It can be used to remove extensive tattoos instead of using laser therapy. Blackwork is used to turn old tattoos into a new powerful statement. People get blackout tattoos as a token of personal transformation.

Deciding on a Blackout tattoo will mean several long sessions with an experienced tattoo artist. You might choose this as a way to hide scars and marks on your skin or just because you love this tattoo style. Beware that there are some risks involved. For the brave, the end product can be truly phenomenal and enigmatic.

Reasons To Get Blackout Tattoos

Blackout tattoos are primarily for hard-core tattoo enthusiasts. The time and expense involved are considerable. To Go for a Blackout tattoo is an intimate and personal decision. People with extensive Blackout tattoos are often frowned on by their families and the general public. What are the reasons for choosing Blackout tattoos?

Blackout Tattoos Are Used To Cover-up Old Tattoos

Old tattoos that you no longer want to see or associate with yourself can become a real problem. Likewise, inferior quality tattoos spread randomly over an arm or leg could start bothering you. The solution might be to consider a Blackout tattoo. Tattoo removal by laser is famously expensive and possibly more painful than a tattoo.

Blackout tattoos can be done to completely cover the regrettable tattoos. Wrap-around tattoos that create a black band around an arm, leg, neck, or torso can also be used to cover unwanted tattoos. Wrapping is an elegant solution looking a bit like a cuff or bracelet. It takes less time than to Blackout an entire arm or leg.

The Blackout tattoo style lends itself perfectly to full-sleeve designs where existing tattoos are incorporated between black areas. The high contrast could give old tattoos a new impact and a three-dimensional effect. Geometric or tribal symbols can be left as a skin tone image surrounded by black ink.

Blackout Tattoos Are Used To Cover-up Scars And Blemishes

People tired of living with scars from old wounds, dog bites, pigmentation, or birthmarks often choose Blackout tattoos as a way to transform themselves. Be aware that intense tattooing over damaged skin can be pretty painful. Make sure your tattoo artist has experience doing this sort of Blackout tattoo work.

Blackout Tattoos As A Style Of Body-Art

It takes a professional, experienced, and skilled tattoo artist to make a bold Blackwork tattoo into a body-art masterpiece. This type of tattoo work has its roots in ancient Polynesian tribal tattoos. These tattoos combined abstract, geometric patterns with symbolic images and flowing bands of black ink.

Tribal tattoos were used to communicate identity, lineage, and social standing in the tribe. It was highly symbolic and considered to be a sacred, spiritual venture.

These attitudes towards tattoos are still an inherent part of Blackwork tattoos.

Modern tattoo masters whose Blackout work are worth looking at are:

Are Blackout Tattoos Dangerous To Your Health?

Blackout tattoos can be dangerous if the black ink contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons like benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). These compounds might be carcinogenic.

If you plan on getting an extensive Blackout tattoo, then explore tattoo studios that use professional-grade organic inks that are not toxic.

Valuable advice is to not get Blackout tattoos over moles or melanomas. It is vital to track the skin color changes that indicate a melanoma turning cancerous. A Blackout tattoo will make it impossible to have meaningful check-ups on melanomas. Many tattoo artists have a policy of not doing work over any moles or risky growths at all.

Fully blackened areas of skin might not absorb Vitamin D effectively. This vitamin is involved in maintaining bone density and immunity against disease. Taking Vitamin D supplements could be beneficial if you have a lot of Blackout tattoos. There is evidence that Blackout tattoos might protect the skin against ultraviolet sun damage.

If you ever need an MRI scan on the parts of your body that have been Blackworked, there might be complications. There is evidence that black ink containing iron oxide might make it difficult for the scanner to take a reading. Under the MRI scanner, the tattooed skin could also start swelling up and cause a burning sensation.

The Time And Cost Of Getting A Blackout Tattoo

Blackout tattoos are more painful, time-consuming, and expensive than ordinary tattoos because of the increased work time. The time it takes to get a Blackout tattoo will depend on the size and intricacy of the design. A standard, medium-sized Blackout tattoo takes a minimum of six hours. More extensive tattoos can take 20 hours or more.

The Blackwork artist repeatedly moves over the same area to get an even ink distribution. The time duration adds to the cost of a large-scale Blackout tattoo. Expect to pay at least $100 up to $300 per hour or more, depending on the studio. Blackout artists will mostly charge per hour and not per artwork.

Healing time will take longer than for a typical tattoo, as the Blackout covers a much bigger area of skin using more pigment. The primary healing process is comparable to the two weeks for a regular tattoo to heal. Complete healing for a Blackwork tattoo can take up to six months.


Blackout tattoos are intense and a very personal decision. It takes commitment in time, endurance, and expense. Are you in love with the tattoos you already have but feel ready for the ultimate challenge in tattoo style? Get a Blackout masterpiece by an experienced Blackwork artist. You don’t need any other reasons to take that step.

Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

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):

Tattoo meaning

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).

Tattoo aftercare

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):


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