Home Tattoo Can You Lighten a Tattoo With White Ink: 7 Factors [14 Pros & Cons]

Can You Lighten a Tattoo With White Ink: 7 Factors [14 Pros & Cons]

White Ink Can Lighten Tattoos 7 Factors 14 Pros and Cons
Our recommended Product - Dr. Numb® 5% Lidocaine Cream - 30g

Lightening a tattoo with white ink is a complex process that varies based on skin type and age. While fading creams and laser treatments can be effective, it's essential to consult a tattoo artist or dermatologist for guidance. White ink tattoos are challenging to lighten.

White ink can lighten up a tattoo, but only in specific circumstances. It can be effective in making the tattoo appear lighter, provided that the original tattoo is relatively small, has little ink used, and is not too dark.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the possibility of lightening tattoos with white ink, the pros and cons of using white Ink, and things to consider when you lighten a tattoo with white ink.

Can You Lighten A Tattoo With White Ink: 7 Factors to Consider

Turn Up the Art, Not the Pain: Dr. Numb® for Tattoos
Minimize discomfort and focus on your new masterpiece with Dr. Numb® numbing cream.

While lightening your black tattoos with white ink, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure the best possible results. As a professional tattoo artist, I have seen several clients disappointed with the outcome because they needed to consider some critical factors.

The Role of a Professional Tattoo Artist

When removing a tattoo with white ink, it's crucial to consult a professional tattoo artist. They have the expertise to assess your tattoo, recommend the correct method, and use the most suitable white ink for optimal results. Trust their skill and knowledge to achieve your desired outcome.

The Importance of Considering Skin Tone

Initially, a tattoo appears vivid, yet as it heals, it may lose color and vibrancy. Once the tattoo completes the healing process, its true colors will shine through again.

Consider your skin tone when opting for white ink in a tattoo. While lighter skin tones tend to be more compatible, the results may not be as optimal for people with darker skin tones, particularly black people.

It is advisable to seek guidance from a professional tattoo artist to determine the most suitable approach based on your skin type.

Testing White Ink on a Small Area First

With white ink, tattoo lighting can take multiple sessions and can be a time-consuming process. Therefore, before setting expectations, it is necessary to test the ink first on a small area. Using this method, you can find out if the desired results can be achieved with white ink. If the desired result is not seen in the first session, be encouraged. It may take more than one session to achieve the desired result.

Tattoo Comfort Boost: Dr. Numb® May Help You Sit Still
Dr. Numb® numbing cream can help minimize discomfort for a smoother and more enjoyable tattoo session.

Multiple Sessions for Best Results

Lightening tattoos with white ink requires various sessions to achieve the desired results. It's a skillful and patient process, not an overnight fix. The time and sessions needed depend on tattoo size and ink intensity. Skilled artists will guide you on how many sessions you will need.

Limitations of White Ink

It is essential to know that white ink has limitations when lightening tattoos. Specific colors, such as black or red, may not be completely lightened. A touch-up may also be required to keep the white ink looking as good as it did when it was first applied.

Potential Risks

White ink used in tattoos has gained notoriety for its heightened pain levels compared to colored inks. This increased discomfort can be attributed to the unique composition of white ink. Unlike its counterparts, white ink is denser and thicker, posing a challenge during the tattooing process.

Age and size of tattoo

Aged and smaller tattoos are more responsive to white ink lightning than newer and larger tattoos. The age and size of the tattoo will also determine the number of sessions required for effective results.

A white base layer is the best method for lightening dark shading on a tattoo, followed by a lighter color layer. If you use darker colors first, the white layer should be darker than the colored layer.

Tattoo Lightening With White Ink: 7 Advantages & 6 Disadvantages

14 advantages and disadvantages of tattoo lightening with white Ink.

If you are unhappy with your dark or elaborate tattoo, consider using white ink to lighten it. Tattoo artists have used this technique for several years, but there are better solutions for some. Let's explore the advantages and disadvantages of white ink tattoo lighting.

Advantages of Using White Ink for Tattoo Lightening

White ink has been used for tattoos for a long time; the following are some advantages of using white ink for tattoo lightning you should know about:

  • Unique and Fashionable: White ink can give a more subtle, ethereal, or sophisticated look to tattoos, depending on the tattoo style and placement. White ink tattoos are also less common than black or colored tattoos, which can make them stand out and draw attention.
  • Great for Cover-Ups: White ink can cover up or blend in darker tattoos, significantly if they have faded or become uneven. White ink can also create highlights or accents that make the original tattoo look more exciting or dimensional.
  • Lighten and Brighten Darker Tattoos: White ink contains less pigment than black or colored ink, so it can dilute or neutralize a tattoo's dark skin tones. However, the effect may vary depending on the type and density of the original ink, as well as the skin tone and healing process.
  • Provides Contrast for Tan Skin Tones: White ink can stand out more on tan skin tones, creating a more visible or prominent effect. This can be useful if the original tattoo is unclear or defined or if the person wants to highlight a particular area of their body.
  • It Can Be Used For Highlighting and Shading: White ink can also be combined with other inks to create shades and tones, ranging from light gray to almost white. This technique can add depth, texture, or realism to tattoos, mainly if they depict objects or portraits.
  • Completely White Tattoos are Still Not Too Familiar: While white ink tattoos have gained popularity, many comments on never having seen one before mine. Most prefer traditional tattoo colors for better visibility, but white ink makes a unique and delicate statement.
  • They Fade Into a Fleshy Color: White tattoos can be seen as either a positive or a negative, based on one's perspective. They fade into a subtle marking, making them a brilliant choice if you're concerned about regret. While most people barely notice mine after 10 years, I still love how it looks.

Disadvantages of Using White Ink to Lighten Tattoos

Disadvantages of Using White Ink to Lighten Tattoos

While there are some advantages to using white ink for tattoo lighting, some drawbacks and limitations should be considered. Here are some potential downsides to using white ink for this purpose:

  • Not Guaranteed to Work: The effectiveness of white ink tattoos may vary based on factors like ink quality, artist skill, original tattoo age/size, and healing. Results may vary, with some noticing improvement, while others may have minimal change or potentially adverse effects.
  • Risk of Scarring or Infection: Like any tattoo procedure, using white ink for lightening tattoos carries some complications, such as scarring, disease, or allergic reactions. White ink tattoos may also be more prone to fading, yellowing, or discoloration over time, especially if exposed to sunlight or artificial light.
  • Limited Coverage Area: White ink may not be suitable for lightening large or complex tattoos, as it may require multiple sessions and more ink than other methods, such as laser removal or cover-up tattoos. White ink may also not be appropriate for certain skin tones or types, as it may blend in too much or cause irritation.
  • Less Flexibility for Future Modifications: If a person lightens their tattoo with white ink, they may limit their options for future changes or improvements, as the white ink may not be compatible with other inks or cover-up techniques. This can be especially problematic if the person wants to remove or replace the tattoo entirely in the future.
  • You Might Have Difficulty Finding An Artist: Finding a tattoo artist willing to do a white ink tattoo can be challenging. Some artists are hesitant because of the unpredictable fading and healing process, as well as the potential for mistakes. It's essential to shop around and choose an experienced artist with white ink tattoos.
  • They Fade on All Skin Types to Varying Degrees: White ink tattoos may last longer on pale skin because less melanin affects the ink. However, all skin tones will experience fading. The choice of having a lasting tattoo depends on personal preferences and skin type.
  • Alternatives: White writing tattoos and Henna tattoos offer an excellent alternative for those interested in white ink tattoos but hesitant about their downsides. It's important to note that white henna differs from organic henna.
Don't Let Pain Steal Your Ink Joy: Dr. Numb® Helps
Dr. Numb® numbing cream may help minimize discomfort for a more positive tattoo experience.


White ink is a versatile tool in tattooing that can be used for highlighting, creating negative space, and covering up mistakes. While white ink light tattoos are a new trend, they may not be a reliable option for everyone.

The success rate for lightening tattoos with white ink depends on several factors, including the age, color, and saturation of the original tattoo. If you're considering fading your tattoo to light gray, you must thoroughly research and talk to an experienced tattoo artist before proceeding.

Our recommended Product - Dr. Numb® 5% Lidocaine Cream - 30g
Matt Callard
I am a passionate traveler, as if traveling were my full-time job. I like to change my surroundings and environment, like changing desktop wallpaper. Nature increases the concentration in my writing, which helps brainstorming flow in my blood. I have a cat named Kitana. She is the most desperate about traveling, more than any other cat. How do I know? If I miss any tour in any week, she literally destroys my clothing with her wolverine nails.

I and my cat also participate in extreme activities like surfing, biking, hill tracking, paragliding, boating, etc. She was always there in my accidents, injuries, and stitches. She always sits on my lap when it hurts me most. The funniest part is that she has experienced all my tattoos. She sleeps on my blanket when I go through any painful experience.

My hobbies and lifestyle added many pain and injuries to my life. That is why I have a lot of experience in dealing with different levels of pain and burn. It influenced me to become a pain expert and share primary suggestions to handle any unwanted situations that hurt.


  • Can Diabetes Affect Tattoo Color?

    Researchers have created a unique tattoo ink infused with compounds to detect blood sugar levels, pH, and sodium. For example, glucose-sensitive ink turns brown when blood sugar rises.

  • Can White Ink Be Used On All Skin Tones?

    Despite its effectiveness with lighter skin tones, white ink can still be used on medium and darker skin types. Tattoo artists must consider the person's skin pigment and tattoo design before applying white ink.

  • Is White Ink Tattoo Safe?

    There are some hazardous risks associated with white tattoo ink because titanium oxide is a potentially carcinogenic substance. Because of its thicker consistency, it hinders the skin's healing process and irritates it as well.

  • Does Whitening Soap Affect Tattoos?

    Whitening soap can lighten the skin, potentially affecting a tattoo's appearance by fading its colors. If you want to maintain the vibrancy of your tattoo, avoid using skincare products that have skin-lightening properties. Opting for products specifically safe for tattoos can help preserve their appearance over time.

Back to blog
More Content