Tattoo fading isn’t uncommon but it can be avoided with proper care and quality tattoo inks. As we age so do our tattoos, it’s inevitable. Some clients choose to live with this problem, they understand that it is part of the process, but as an artist, there are ways of preventing and reversing the tattoo fading process. Whether it’s lifestyle or touch-ups clients don’t have to live with the dreaded faded green tattoo that was once a personal and interesting piece of body art.
What’s green’s game?
Most tattoos are based on black ink that with age begins to turn green. The reason behind why tattoos fade can be based on a variety of factors, from a lavish lifestyle to the quality of the ink an artist uses, there are many factors that contribute to tattoo fading. Primarily, black tattoo inks are made from traces of copper nitrate, or green pigments to you and I. This means that when tattoo fading occurs over the next couple of years the green tint that you begin to see from a predominantly black tattoo is just the underlying pigment that was used to form the ink in the first place.
How can you prevent green appearing?
They say that a tattoo lasts forever, which is more than true, but what they don’t say is that it will last and look good forever. That’s why it’s important to avoid tattoo fading from the offset so that a client doesn’t end up with a blurry, green and faded tattoo. There are several ways to prevent tattoo fading, all of which are just small steps that you can advise clients on before they walk out of the door, for not only their benefit but yours.
The first and foremost step to avoiding tattoo fading is to make sure that a client fully understands their aftercare routine before they leave the shop. Basically, it’s a case of telling a client to keep their tattoo clean, covered and moisturised if they can nail these three steps from the get-go then tattoo fading is less prone in the earlier stages. As an artist, you can always advise clients on which tattoo styles and designs are less prone to fading to avoid it from the offset. Watercolour, fineline and small intricate tattoos have a more fading prone nature. Steering clients away and towards certain tattoos can help prevent tattoo fading, but at the end of the day, the choice is theirs. One of the main culprits that cause tattoo fading is the exposure to UV light. “SPF is a tattoo’s BFF”. If a client is going to expose their tattoo to the sun, it’s best to let them know the importance of sunscreen if they’re wanting to avoid a smudged like body stamp. A client can take all of these relevant steps to avoid their tattoo fading but sometimes it’s just the simple fact that some tattoos just can’t stand the test of time.
How can you reverse green growth?
There is only one way, with three variations, that a faded tattoo can be given new life. A re-work, touch-up, or cover up. It really depends on the client’s tattoo size, style and colour. Tattoo fading isn’t the end of the world, a clients tattoo can be rescued, maybe not to the extent of it looking as fresh as the day they walked away with it but it can certainly be rejuvenated. Most clients learn to live with their tattoo accepting its slow faded death, but it’s important to let them know that there are alternatives.
First up a re-work. This is used primarily to give an old tattoo a new lease of life. Taking the same tattoo but maybe adding some new aspects or designs over the faded or pre-existing parts to jazz it up a bit. This variation is common amongst clients who had a bad tattoo to start with but can also be used to cover up aspects of tattoo fading. Secondly, touch-ups, the much simpler option. There is no real re-working here, it’s usually just a case of redefining lines, dots or giving faded colours more vibrancy to make them look new again. Lastly, and possibly the most difficult of faded tattoo recreations, is the cover-up. If a tattoo has faded largely, isn’t too big or bold then a brand new tattoo can be placed on top of the pre-existing one. The complications only come if a tattoo is faded but has bold, dark or harsh designs, in this case, it makes cover-ups extremely different. The only alternative to a faded tattoo with no changeable outcomes is to get rid of it, lasers and all. Tattoo fading doesn’t have to occur, a good artist, correct aftercare and precautionary sun steps can result in a lifelong, long-lasting design.