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The subject of tattooing on darker skinned individuals is full of speculation as well as facts. Here we´ll try to give you as much information as possible for you to determine the best practices for applying a tattoo to skin that has dark pigmentation. You´re going to have to put more thought into the actual tattoo design, and you may want to share some of the advice you learn here with the person being tattooed and direct them towards designs that will work well with his or her skin tone. You can plainly see color variances in skin tone, but how do those differences affect a tattoo? Should tattooing a dark skinned individual vary from people of lighter shades? First it´s important to know how tattoo ink is viewed after it´s healed.
Tattoo ink is dispersed about a millimeter under the skin and remains in a layer called the dermis, which is under the epidermis or the layer of skin you can see. Melanin pigment is what makes dark skin dark, and no matter what you do while tattooing, you are always going to see the tattoo through a pigmented layer of skin on people of color. You need to plan ahead for this when choosing your tattoo ink colors. You will have the most success with very bold solid colors. It´s a common misconception that using white or very bright colors produces the best results, because any color you choose is going to be muted by the layer of epidermis above the ink. You can compensate for that by adjusting the size of your tattoo. Large bold designs overcome the skins natural pigment. Not only will a person´s natural skin color affect the final hues, but also plan a head if you´re tattooing someone that is deeply tanned. Again, you´re placing tattoo ink under the epidermis. If there´s any discoloration or darkening of that layer, it´s going to alter the tattoos final appearance.
Whether tattooing lighter or darker shades of skin, large tattoos will result in a better distinction of the design. Small tattoos will not have a very good separation from the skin color when viewed from any distance. The tattoo could end up looking like an ink blot and not a well designed piece. The main thing to keep in mind while tattooing dark skin is contrast. Superior Tattoo recommends using a proven solid black like Ichiban Sumi Japanese Tattoo Ink. Tattooing with thick lines will stand out and shape your design. Thin lines will have a tendency to blend into the skins natural pigment and get lost. Keep this in mind when choosing your needle /tube combos instead of using singles for your outline, think about choosing a 3 tight for a bolder line..
It´s very important to note that turning up your tattoo machine or leaving the needles in one place longer and going over an area again and again is exactly the opposite of what it takes to make a tattoo stand out on dark skin. All you accomplish by doing that is damaging skin that may already prone to scaring. On dark skin you want to be even more cautious than ever to avoid building scar tissue over your tattoo.
Use the information we´ve provided here and discuss expectations and the likely results with your client before beginning a tattoo on darker pigmented skin. If you plan ahead and follow some basic guidelines, you can produce brilliant designs on any shade of skin.