One of the biggest fears about getting a tattoo is regretting it later. We’ve all seen it - the guy with his ex-girlfriend’s name on his arm, or the gal who wanted a tattoo when she was 18, only to be embarrassed by the Chinese symbol on her ankle that means something other than what she had asked for. These unwanted designs leave people looking for tattoo removal options, but there is a new trend that is becoming popular in Singapore called a blackout tattoo.
Chester Lee, of Oracle tattoo shop in Singapore is blowing up on Instagram after posting an image of one of his blackout designs. He is one of the pioneers of this new trend that has become a popular tattoo removal alternative. Instead of using lasers to remove an undesirable tattoo, he uses black ink to cover it up. This technique isn’t for everybody; the method covers a large portion of the body in solid black ink. But what is really interesting is that this creates an opportunity for a “negative tattoo.” A negative tattoo is simply one that uses natural skin pigment or white ink on top of the black to create images or patterns.
This method is a sharp contrast to styles that are currently en vogue, such as watercolor tattoos. Instead of a multicolored pretty design, the blackout tattoo is typically stark and tough looking. The most common placement for the blackout is on the arms and legs, but there are some people who have their entire chest and back blacked out, and at least one guy has nearly his entire body blacked out. Some people are even getting blacked out just because it looks cool. Even though it started as a method to hide unwanted tattoos, blackouts are gaining steam as a style that people opt for right off the bat.
Some people are using the blackout technique in conjunction with geometric designs, and as a way to accentuate patterns on nearby tattoos. Not all of the blackout tattoos are solid black - some of them fade out as the tattoo transitions back to the natural pigment of the skin. Which brings up one health concern. For people who cover their skin in black ink, it can be difficult to diagnose skin conditions, such as a deadly melanoma. So if you have a family history of skin cancer, it might not be a great idea to get large portions of your skin blacked out, making it hard to see dermal anomalies.
Another health consideration is the ink itself. The blackout tattoo requires a large amount of ink to be deposited into your body, so you need to be extra careful and make sure that your artist is only using high quality inks that aren’t full of cobalt or chromate. And in the interest of full disclosure, there is some debate about whether skin that is fully covered in black ink will be able to still synthesize vitamin D when exposed to the sun, which is normally the case.
But overall, blackout tattoos can look amazing, and as long as you don’t cover your entire body in black ink, you will be less likely to suffer any negative health effects. So if you are looking for an alternative to laser removal or any of the other removal techniques, look no further than the blackout tattoo. And if you are particularly fond of black, check out the Clothing and Accessories section of the Painful Pleasures website for some great clothing to go with all of your tattoos.