White Ink Tattoo: 8 Pros & Cons

White Ink Tattoo: 8 Pros & Cons

Jan 29, 2024 | Bridget Reed

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White ink tattoos are a niche trend, but they’re beloved among people who appreciate subtle body art. If you’re contemplating a small tattoo and thinking white ink might be the way to go, here’s what you should consider before you draw up a design and book an appointment. 

White Ink Tattoo Pros

white ink hand tattoo

Even if you don’t intend to keep your white ink tattoo forever, it’s a great entry-level way to experience a delicate tattoo. 

White Ink Tattoos Make Great Blacklight Tattoos

If you go to clubs or concerts, you’re probably under a black light when you’re enjoying the nightlife. A white ink blacklight tattoo would hardly be visible unless you were in full party mode. You can keep your ink incognito until it’s time to let loose for the weekend. 

White Ink Tattoos Are a Good Trial Run

White ink tattoos don’t last as long as other tattoos. White ink fades into a color similar to caucasian flesh, making them much harder to notice after a few years. 

You're good to go if you want to tattoo over your white ink tattoo with a darker color when you feel confident you’d like to commit. Think of a white ink tattoo as a permanent “try before you buy” situation. 

White Ink Tattoos Are Elegant

Many people are drawn to white ink tattoos for their subtle, fancy, and graceful appearance. White ink tattoos aren’t very common and may not be noticeable at first glance. They have a certain je ne sais quoi that bolder tattoos just can’t manage. 

White Ink Tattoos Are Easy To Hide

Maybe your grandma would gasp, clutch her pearls, and give you a lecture if she knew you got a tattoo. Thankfully, white ink tattoos are much easier to hide. 

They’re very light in color. A little concealer or foundation over top of your fully healed white ink tattoo is all you need for a Houdini-level disappearing act. She’ll never have to know, and you can get through Thanksgiving peacefully. 

White Ink Tattoo Cons

White Ink Tattoo: 8 Pros & Cons

White ink tattoos are very tricky, and they won’t work for everyone. Here’s what might make you think twice about getting a white ink tattoo

White Ink May Not Show Up on Everyone 

Tattoo ink is deposited between the superficial and deeper layers of your skin. The color you see on the surface is the color that shows through the top layer. White ink may not show up at all, depending on the amount of melanin in your skin. 

Unfortunately, white ink tattoos may only show up on people with just the right amount of melanin. It can also be nearly invisible on people with the fairest of skin tones who have very little melanin because white ink offers no contrast. 

Think of it as a trade-off. Darker skin tones wear jewel tones beautifully, and very fair skin tones have a unique ability to pull off nearly any vibrant shades they choose.

White Ink May Look Like a Scar

If your body's scars or stretch marks take on a whitish hue, your white ink tattoo may not look much different. Depending on the thickness of the lines and the design of the tattoo, people may mistake it for a healed injury. 

This doesn’t have to be a con! Some people like white ink tattoos specifically because they look like old scars. Tattoos are much gentler than body modification methods like scarification. Why not keep things simple and go for the same effect with a white ink tattoo?

White Ink Tattoos Fade or Change Color Quickly

Black ink and bold, colorful inks are very sturdy. The pigments in these inks overtake the natural pigments and colors within your body, which is why they hold up so well over a long period of time.

White ink is very delicate. Any slight natural coloration from your body can shift the hue of your white ink tattoo or stain it from the inside. 

Your white tattoo may lose its pristine whiteness in as little as two months, even if you take great care of it. Shifts in color can also cause the appearance of premature fading. 

White Ink Tattoos Are Hard To Remove 

Many people choose to get white ink tattoos because they feel like they’re less of a commitment. If your white ink tattoo changes color, fades, or starts to look not-so-great, getting it removed may actually be more difficult than removing a darker tattoo.

The lasers used to remove tattoos are designed to target darker inks. They have a high affinity for targeting and zapping black ink particles tucked between the layers of your skin. 

Most lasers won’t be able to distinguish white ink from your skin, making it hard to zap out a tattoo you don’t love as much as you did when you got it. 

What Did You Decide?

White ink tattoos can be beautiful on the right people, but they may not work for everyone. There are a few drawbacks, but some people may find it worthwhile to go the white ink route. 

If you’re thinking about a subtle white ink tattoo just because you’re not wild about the idea of a bigger, bolder, more painful tattoo, don’t settle. Our tattoo aftercare set has everything you need to soothe your new ink and dull the pain for a more comfy experience. 


Tattoo ink nanoparticles in skin tissue and fibroblasts | PubMed Central

Biochemistry, Melanin - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

Pitt Rivers Museum Body Arts | Scarification | University of Oxford

A Systematic Review of Picosecond Laser in Dermatology: Evidence and Recommendations | National Institutes of Health

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