What are Blackout Tattoos, and Should You Consider Getting One?

Blackout tattoos are when a large part of your body, often arms, legs or neck, but back and chest are becoming increasingly common, are covered in black ink. They are definite statement pieces that attract a lot of attention. They used to be a real rarity, but lately, their popularity has exploded.

Even artists who now specialise in them say that up until a few years ago, they were only doing about one blackout tattoo per year. Then it became one per month. And then, as tends to happen this day in age, the style gained Instagram fame and bookings for blackouts shot through the roof. 

By George from Vivid Ink Birmingham

Increasingly first-choice tattoos

Unsurprisingly, blackouts are mostly done as cover up tattoos. Mostly done to hide old designs that have fallen out of favour, they can also serve to cover up scars. However, they are increasingly becoming a first-choice tattoo of choice for many due to their striking, minimalist aesthetic. While it is definitely an impressive look, there are a few things to consider before deciding to have large parts of your skin covered in black ink.

It may seem as if it’s just to sit down in the chair and have your artist dip their needle in black and voilá, a few hours (and a tiny bit of discomfort) later you walk out with a whole new look. After all, there are no details to take into consideration, no lines, no shading, right? 

However, it is not all that straight forward. To get a good, solid, all-black covering, you will most likely need a few sessions. Just one layer of ink will make the area look more opaque and dark grey rather than black.

From @thekatvond

Points to consider before you blackout

The healing process is about the same as for any regular tattoo. However, depending on the surface of the area, it could be more of an inconvenience (read itching) than you have previously dealt with.

Meanwhile, you should take into account that blasting dark ink over such a large surface means you will not be able to see the skin underneath, and any potential anomalies or changes to moles etc. may go unnoticed. 

It is unclear if they could hinder skin from absorbing vitamin D. For certain, you will want to keep it out of the sun, as it will draw heat just like a black t-shirt.

Give it an extra thought or two

Before you get a blackout tattoo, be sure it is really what you want, and not just because it is trendy. To laser an area that big and dark, while not entirely impossible, will take a multitude of sessions. And the best cover-up artist in the world could not make it look much different. Although, you do have the option of etching over it with white ink to soften it up a little or make intricate and beautiful patterns. Still, a blackout tattoo is a serious commitment – albeit a pretty fierce-looking one.