Blackout tattoos have hit the scene and hit it hard. Have you seen any yet? They're an incredibly bold statement that screams, "Commitment."
The blackout tattoo is a trend that started as a way to cover up unwanted designs but has grown into the latest tattoo and Instagram sensation. This style of tattooing has people covering entire portions of their bodies with dark black ink. The technique has been around for a while now, but it's only just starting to become a form of body art, as opposed to a mistake correction. The TODAY Show spoke with Singapore based tattoo artist Chester Lee whose Instagram features his blackout tattoo portfolio to discuss the appeal of the trend.
"I do this because … it has no boundaries. I can play it along with contours of the body [to] amplify certain portions." Lee explained.
Uniqueness of the blackout tattoos.
Blackout tattoos are redefining the traditional confines of body art. Lee said that this technique gives a new sense of freedom to what artists can do with the body. The results are incredibly dramatic, head turning aesthetics. In some cases, the technique can be done in order to amplify existing tattoos. Certain black inks cover the old tattoo but you can still see the negative lines, giving an old look new life.
Is it healthy?
At this point, some of you are probably asking yourselves, "Can that much ink on your skin be healthy?" These tattoos take several sessions hours long, and of course requires tons of ink. The Internet is torn right now. Some can't get enough of the striking images while others are concerned about its safety. Because until recently, most folks have been in pursuit of the tiny, delicate tattoos which require much less ink. There has even been a recent study published in the American Journal of Human Biology that suggested getting fresh ink actually helps boost your immune system.
To settle this, Women's Health Magazine asked Will Kirby, M.D. who specializes in tattoo removal to explain the risks associated with blackout tattoos.
"It's not only the quantity of ink but the constituents of the ink injected. These days artists frequently mix ink together, and an all-black tattoo, which clinically appears to be composed of just carbon-based ink, may actually be an amalgamation of different inks," he reported.
Kirby also pointed out that the inks often contain harmful ingredients such as cobalt and lead chromate. These compounds shouldn't be getting into your system, especially at the high volume they are when they're done for blackout sessions. But nothing is definite.
There are some concerns.
Experts are still trying to determine if the blackout tattoo technique is safe for the body, but as of right now they have some concerns, explained SELF Magazine. Women's health expert Jennifer Wider explained to SELF that research has found that the body actually metabolizes tattoo pigments which can travel to the body's lymph nodes.
"Dark colored clothing are recommended in order to keep cool in the sun, after all."
Sometimes, these pigments can trick doctors into thinking they're cancerous calcifications. This causes people to undergo unnecessary surgery. On the same note, Women's Health explained that blackout tattoos could mess with MRI machines. The black ink's iron oxide makes it challenging for scanners to heat up to take a proper reading.
If you've ever gotten a tattoo before you know one of the things you can't do for a couple of weeks is go tanning because the skin is especially sensitive to the sun after new ink. But SELF took that concern to a whole new level. Skin care professionals are worried about the body's ability to properly break down the vitamin D from sun rays. Plus, blackout tattoos risk covering up signs of cancer that would otherwise be obvious, making early detection and prevention an issue. On the other hand, the source reported that Danish researchers saw delays in skin cancer on mice who were tattooed with the black ink. Dark colored clothing are recommended in order to keep cool in the sun, after all.
At the end of the day, the choice of getting a tattoo like this is a commitment. Tattoo removal methods are possible, but they're a lengthy process, so getting one is definitely worth a second thought.