White tattoos

January 5, 2007 at 10:43 am 12 comments

Update: Due to the lack of information and pictures on this subject, I created a group on Flickr where people can share their white tattoo pics. If you’ve got a white tattoo of your own, go add yours: http://www.flickr.com/groups/whiteinktattoos/

I think white tattoo ink is interesting. It’s a new color in a new medium, usually used for hilights, but I think for those who want a tattoo but don’t want to go the generic tribal/kanji route this offers new possibilities. Not much info about it out there, but here’s what I’ve found so far:

  • The good, safe kind is made of titanium oxide, which is harder than steel, which tends to wear out the tattoo needles it’s used with. This means there’s a possibility of the result not being entirely white, but slightly grayish.
  • Also, it goes UNDER your skin, so your own skin pigment will tint it somewhat. For “white” (pinkish) skin, it’s likely to go a bit cream-colored. A better bet is to place it where your skin is whitest already and doesn’t have much contact with the sun, like inside your forearm.
  • It’s hard to put on evenly over large areas.
  • People have said it looks like a scar or a brand when healed, albeit a potentially very intricate one. Sometimes it stays kind of raised (after more than one application) and sometimes it goes flat.
  • In photos at least it looks like it gives a “powdery” effect, like chalk paint on top of your skin.

All of the above are problems if you want something that screams “tattoo!”. But if you have been investigating tattoos in general, and just let the stuff be what it is, you might turn its weaknesses into strengths and come up with something truly unique. Here are the only examples I found, of which there are few and far between as of yet:

Sources I can identify: Friendster, ModBlog (NSFW).

Flower thing by Julie’s Tattoo Studio.

Snowflake by Timppa from Other Side Tattoo in Lahti, Finland.

Entry filed under: BodyMod.

Women’s gadgets(not pink things) Web comics

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. timethief  |  January 11, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    I wasn’t much impressed by the white tatoos on the ears, legs, arms and back. However, this snowflake on the shoulder does appeal to me.

  • 2. veltis  |  January 11, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Yep, as I said, these were actually the ONLY examples I could find out there–not necessarily my favorite designs/placements either, but it shows what can be done.

  • 3. Kelly  |  February 22, 2007 at 12:39 am

    I was glad to hear that it is better to get white in a place w/little contrast (i.e. back of the forearm). I actually got one this afternoon! Had been planning this for some time and finally got around to doing it… it is really difficult to see right now and basically looks like i burned myself. I’m just hoping that some of the white will stand out and it won’t just fade away.

  • 4. veltis  |  February 22, 2007 at 5:30 am

    Hi Kelly, would you be able to take some pictures of it? Some as it’s healing, and then what it looks like healed? I could post them here–it would be rather informative. Or if you’re posting on your own blog let me know, and I’ll link there.

    One tattoo artist I talked to said white tattoos often take many applications of ink before they stand out properly, after which they stay a bit raised, but maybe this is still a question of placement, ie where the skin is thicker in places. Some people have also complained that they walked around in the sun for a day and their tattoo disappeared, while others say theirs stands out most when they’ve got a tan. Would be very interesting to hear what happens with yours!

  • 5. Matthew  |  May 5, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Hi there,
    Dose anyone know if there is anyone doing this sort of Tatt in the Cheltenham area of the U.K.

  • 6. Erwin  |  November 3, 2007 at 3:31 am

    Hi gang . . . I actually saw an AMAZING set of photos of a Russian (?) artist who did a “full torso” piece on a woman . . . absolutely beautiful the way the white worked with her skin . . . very dainty/ornate. About 5 photos in the set, but I haven’t been able to find it recently and couldn’t remember where I had seen it the first time.

    so basically what I’m saying is useless unless you have the time to look for it. . .


  • 7. Erwin  |  November 3, 2007 at 3:41 am

    Nevermind, found it!! Enjoy . . . (nudity)

  • 8. kat  |  January 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    i got 3 white stars on the inside of my wrist about 18 mths ago. its very unique and i love it, i apply sunscreen when im in direct sun but other than that i dont do anything else with it. it hasnt faded and is still very white. every one thinks its a brand when i show them it, i like the fact i know its there and if i want anyone to see it i have to show them. after getting the stars i wanted a heart on my other wrist but coloured white instead of just outline like the stars….but as it was healing i wasnt very keen on it, it was healing white but i caught the scab and pulled some ink out of it. i then really hated it so i sat and picked it all out!!! all the remainding ink came away and im now left with a teeeeeny heart scar, which i actually prefer!

    id love a bigger white tattoo but for now im pleased with the one i have left, id reccommend a white one.

    the guy who did mine hadnt done a white one before but i trusted him and he did a good job.

  • 9. kurstin  |  March 2, 2008 at 2:54 am

    i was wondering if you knew anything about tanning, in the sun & in beds with white tattoos?

  • 10. joy T  |  March 11, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I got a white tatto on the inside of my wrist yesterday! I am loving it! It hurt like crazy but it was well worth it! I work at the hospital and wanted to get something that I could see but was not prominant to others. It looks really good today. The artist also gave me a little tip… the first day rub a triple antibotic ointment on it with a little pressure the wipe off and repeat ever hour or so. This pushes the blood out of the white ink so it will heal and appear whiter faster! This totally worked! I would wipe off(not hard) the excess ointment and it would have a pink hue to it. Today it looks fantastic! I totally recommend getting one.

  • 11. allyn  |  June 17, 2008 at 8:24 am

    i got a red white and blue wristband done about a month ago,two weeks ago i had the white strip done again and it’s still not white enough,am i out of luck?,i don’t expose it to sun and i’m not dark skined,help

  • 12. ombetr├Žkning sofa priser  |  January 7, 2013 at 5:42 am

    You can definitely see your skills in the work you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not
    afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.


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