Tattoo for black skin:
The majority of people decide to get a tattoo and immediately start looking for an artist and design they like on Instagram (I’m currently obsessed with the tiny tattoo trend, by the way).However, this step may end up causing some pretty serious concerns for people with dark skin tones.
Take a quick look at any tattoo inspiration page; you might not see a tattoo on dark skin for a while.In point of fact, you might not even see one.And it’s no secret that this lack of representation can make people of color wonder if they can get the tattoo they want, or any tattoo at all, on their skin.
The internet also does little to clear things up; the results of a Google search will probably have you sifting through contradictory information from aspiring experts, leaving you with mental whiplash.
So, in Oprah Winfrey’s voice, what is the truth about tattoos for dark skin?I contacted dermatologist Joyce I. Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD, tattoo artist Debbi Snax, who is based in Atlanta, and tattoo consultant Tann Parker, who is based in Brooklyn and is the founder of Ink the Diaspora, to get all the details on tattoos for dark skin.The most important information and the best tattoo designs you can try right now are all here.
You can tattoo on dark skin, absolutely.Similar to how curly versus straight hair styling differs, tattooing dark skin tones and light skin tones differ only in a few ways.However, Dr. Ip asserts that regardless of skin tone, everyone’s skin is the same in terms of its overall structure and makeup.
Fast bio example:The epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat—also known as the jiggly stuff right underneath the surface—make up the skin’s three layers.In the epidermis, there are pigmented cells called melanocytes, and everybody (indeed, everybody, paying little mind to how light or dim you are) has similar number of them swimming around in their body.
According to Dr. Ip, melanosome production by melanocytes is what determines skin color.Melanosomes are produced in greater quantities by people of color, giving their skin a different shade.What exactly is the whole idea that people with darker skin tones have skin that is “tougher” or “thicker” and makes tattooing more difficult?Parker asserts that racist stereotypes are the source.
Snax adds that there is a great deal of fear associated with tattooing people with dark skin because tattooing has traditionally been a white and cis-male-dominated industry.However, having the knowledge to tattoo different skin tones is the only difference between the two.
Parker asserts that a skilled tattoo artist is capable of tattooing on all skin tones, not just lighter ones.After that, let’s dispel some of the most widely held misconceptions and address some of the most frequently asked inquiries regarding tattooing people with darker skin tones:
On dark skin, what colors can be tattooed?
It’s a common misconception that darker skin tones prevent people from getting color tattoos.According to Parker, this is a generalization that has gained traction due to the lack of skill of numerous tattoo artists.According to Parker, many artists think, “Oh, I’ve tried it before and it just didn’t look right, so it must not work.“Actually, the artist is the problem, not the skin.They are unfamiliar with tattooing and skin.
According to Snax, it’s all about understanding how color affects deeper skin tones.Therefore, color tattoos can be seen on people with dark skin tones.It is up to the artists to acquire that skill set rather than providing shady excuses because certain colors stand out against various skin tones (Snax enjoys using earth-tone shades on some of her clients).
Can artists tattoo people with darker skin tones with fine-line designs?
Thin fine-line designs are thought to be impossible to achieve on deep skin tones because people believe that in order for the lines to show up on dark skin, they must be more aggressive.Parker asserts that this is absolutely false.They add that, in point of fact, some tattoo artists are far too aggressive during the inking process.
For instance, a craftsman could do the principal line, not see it immediately, and afterward imagine that they need to cross the line a few additional times, when that is truly not the situation. “Parker asserts, “It’s about taking your time to comprehend what you’re actually doing and allowing the skin time to react.”
Are tattoos more likely to leave scars on people with darker skin?
Nope.When tattooing dark-skinned clients, overcompensation by artists is more to blame for scarring than the skin tone itself.Under the guise of having “tougher skin,” some artists tend to run their machines higher, resulting in significant and unnecessary damage.Snax asserts, “It’s not that the tattoo won’t heal well; rather, you aren’t applying it in a manner that allows it to heal well.”
According to Dr. Ip, despite the fact that people with darker skin tones have more fibroblasts in their skin, a cell that boosts collagen production at wound sites and makes them more likely to get scars and keloids, when it comes to tattooing, those results are more likely the result of a tattoo that wasn’t applied correctly to the skin.
How can I select the best tattoo artist?
1. Read feedback.When looking for a good tattoo artist, customer feedback is extremely helpful.Therefore, prior to scheduling an appointment, conduct research and inquire about other people’s experiences.It is simple to find information about tattoo studios and artists in your area on websites like Yelp, Tattoo Parlor Reviews, and Tattoo Shop Reviews.
2. Visit their Instagram account.Snax and Parker both advise looking at an artist’s Instagram and website to see if they have any photos of their work with people of dark skin tones and whether or not they have the necessary skills.And keep your head up—some artists are in the business solely for the money rather than putting their customers first.According to Parker, it’s a red flag if an artist uses language like “tattooing all shades” and promotes racial diversity in their Instagram bio but doesn’t tattoo anyone with dark skin tone until 20 posts later.
3. Request photos of tattoos that have healed on dark skin.Snax advises that if you want to see how the tattoo will age on your skin and if you want to avoid deep scarring, you should contact the artist for pictures. The majority of tattoo artists will post newly inked tattoos on their Instagram accounts.
4. Find an artist who is willing to put in the time and has patience with you.Don’t be shy about asking all the questions because you want to make sure your tattoo is done right because it will be on your body forever.According to Parker, color tattoo artists can do ink swatches to see how different shades will heal on your skin tone if you’re thinking about getting one.You can also see how your tattoos will look on your skin by having them stenciled by your artist.In order to feel confident in your decision, you need to schedule an appointment with someone who is willing to take these steps.
The bottom line:
According to Parker, being a skilled tattoo artist means being able to tattoo on any skin tone, not just lighter ones.It’s kind of like styling different kinds and textures of hair: Black people’s hair needs different things from white people’s hair.But it’s still hair at the end of the day.