Why Is My Tattoo Shading So Dark?

Why Is My Tattoo Shading So Dark?

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Why Is My Tattoo Shading So Dark?

Several factors can affect the darkness of a tattoo’s shading. These include the design, color,ink,skin type, placement and the angle of view. Tattoos on thin skin (like the fingers) and tattoos in areas with less blood flow will likely have darker shading or a lot of “blooming.”

Here are some possible reasons:

  1. The Design: The complexity and density of the design can affect the shading. A design with many small, tightly-packed details may appear darker than one with larger, more open areas.
  2. The Color: Different colors of ink deposit in different ways. If a tattoo is dark because it is in black and grey, you will see an even darker shading if it’s in blue or red.

For example, if you have an orange highlight on a purple/black design, the orange will appear darker than the purple/black.

  • The Ink: Different brands of ink will deposit in different ways. If you switch brands of ink, the shading may change.
  • The Skin Type: Some people’s skin will hold more ink than others, resulting in deeper shading.
  • The Placement: Tattoos on thin skin (like the fingers) and tattoos in areas with less blood flow will likely have darker shading or a lot of “blooming.”
  • The Angle of view: Since light comes from different angles, you may see less shading in a shot that’s looking towards you than one that’s looking away.

Can Tattoo Shading Be Lightened Up?

Tattoo shading covers up the original color and shading in a patterned design, generally with black ink.

It is similar to other tattoo styles, which involve placing multiple layers of black ink on top of one another to create different designs.

With advancements in technology, tattoo artists can use more than one color at the same time with little or no effect on the complexity of their work.

Yes, lightening a tattoo shading through tattoo removal or lightening is possible. However, the degree to which you can lighten up the shading depends on several factors, including the:

• Size and color of the tattoo.

• The type of ink used.

• The depth at which the ink was applied.

There are several methods for tattoo lightening, including:

1. Laser Removal

This method removes the ink by physically removing the pigment from the skin. It employs a laser that fires specifically at the ink, depositing energy until the pigment is heated and deformed.

The body then flushes out the deformed ink particles, carrying them away in the bloodstream.

Why Is My Tattoo Shading So Dark?

2. Dermabrasion

This method employs an abrasive liquid that uses small particles to sand away the skin’s surface. The body then flushes away pigments.

3. Tattoo Lightening Creams

Some creams can lighten up your tattoo. For this method, apply the cream to your skin and let it sit before rinsing it off.

Each time you use this method, it should lighten the shading by one or two shades. However, remember that the effect might take a while before you get it.

How Many Tattoo Sessions Does It Take to Lighten A Tattoo For A Coverup?

2-3 sessions

However, the sessions vary depending on the:

1. Size

Bigger tattoos take more sessions to lighten because there’s more ink to remove.

2. Location

Tattoos covering large areas of the body take longer because they need to be removed from multiple parts, and careful skin prep is needed.

3. Color Depth

The deeper the color, the more sessions it takes for the removal.

4. Age of Tattoo

Tattoos are not just for teenagers; some people get tattoos when they’re in their late 30s.

5. Amount of “Age” on the Tattoo

The older the tattoo, the easier it’s to lighten it because layers of ink have aged and oxidized, resulting in a lighter and less prominent pattern on the skin.

6. Skin Color

Some people have a “natural” color that isn’t as yellow as others. For example, Asian skin is naturally more pink than European skin and has less yellow pigmentation.

7. Type of Tattoo

Some tattoos are brownish, so it’s easier to lighten them than red or blue tattoos (which are more noticeable on the skin). Mini tattoos aren’t as noticeable on the skin because they’re small and faded on the sides.

8. Before and Aftercare

Tattoo coverups and tattoos can’t be kept covered for long hours, so applying an anti-itch cream before and after the tattoo is taken off is best.

Can You Color A Shaded Tattoo?

Yes, You can color a shaded tattoo, but it will boast determination by various factors, such as:

1. The Saturation of the Existing Shading

If the shading is very dark, you will most likely be able to overpaint it with a lighter color. If the shading is very light, you may have to use a darker color to make it appear or use a different method.

2. The Quality of the ink

If you are using ink meant for black and gray work, or if the shaded tattoo was done using either S.T. Polycolor or S.T. Waterbase, it will be easier to add new colors over existing tattoos shaded using those inks.

3. The Technique used for shading

If it was done with oil or wax, you might be able to add a lighter glaze of color over the top with good-quality alcohol-based ink.

4. Your Skill

Trust yourself. If you can’t see the lightest part of the shading and it’s already been colored, proceed with caution. You may have to go in with a darker color than you think is needed.

Remember, even if you paint over black with a lighter shade of red, it will look more like orange than red until it fully heals and oxidizes.

Put a little more ink down than you think is necessary to ensure that the new layer of color shows up clearly.

What Oils Fade Tattoos?

Lemon OilNatural bleach, Exfoliating.
Tea Tree OilAntiseptic, Anti-inflammatory.
Grapeseed OilMoisturizing, Lightening
Lavender OilSoothing, Anti-inflammatory
Eucalyptus OilCooling,  Antimicrobial
Peppermint OilCooling, Soothing
Bergamot OilNatural bleach, Exfoliating and Deodorizing.

How Do You Take Care Of A Shaded Tattoo?

1. Keep the Tattoo Clean

After getting a tattoo, keeping the area clean is important to prevent infection. Use mild, warm water to wash the tattoo twice daily gently. 

2. Moisturize the Tattoo

After washing your tattoo, pat it dry and lightly apply lotion or a product specifically for tattoos. This will help soften the skin and prevent scabs from forming.

3. Protect it from the Sun

Keeping your tattoo out of direct sunlight is important to prevent fading and discoloration. If you’ll be spending time outdoors, try using sunscreen or wearing a T-shirt to reduce exposure to sunlight.

4. Don’t Scratch or Pick at the Tattoo

Picking at a tattoo may cause bleeding and scarring. And scratching it can increase the risk of infection and make the tattoo more painful and harder to heal.

5. Let it Heal

The healing process for a tattoo can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, but you can speed up the process by icing the area day and night for about 15 minutes every couple of hours.

Also, some lotions or creams are formulated specifically for tattoos, so check.

What are the Benefits of Lighten Dark Shading on A Tattoo?

Lightening dark shading on a tattoo can have several benefits, including:

  1. Correcting a Mistake: Sometimes, a tattoo artist may make a mistake or apply too much shading, resulting in a tattoo that looks too dark or heavy. Lightening the shading can help correct the mistake and improve the overall appearance of the tattoo.
  2. Adding Contrast: Lightening dark shading can help the tattoo appear more vibrant, making it pop and stand out against the skin. It can also help to make parts of a tattoo that are lighter or smaller stand out more than other areas.
  3. Making a Tattoo look Professional: Because dark shading can seem darker and heavier when placed next to lighter or smaller areas, lightening it can help transform a tattoo from amateur to professional.
  4. Improving an Old Tattoo: Dark shading that has faded over time or light shading that has become too dark can be lightened to help bring out the original design.
  5. Correcting Errors in the Dark: When a tattoo artist applies ink to skin, it often appears darker on the skin as it heals than it did in the bottle.

This is especially common with black and other deep shades of ink. If a tattoo appears too dark once fully healed, you can ask your artist to lighten the shading using touch-up techniques.

What Is The Best Way To Remove Dark Shading From A Tattoo?

Laser Removal-Laser beams break down ink particles, which are then eliminated.

– Multiple sessions may be required.
-Effective for most tattoos. – Minimal scarring compared to other methods.-Expensive. – Painful, may cause discomfort.
Sal Abrasion-Abrasive technique that involves rubbing salt onto the tattoo.

– Removes outer layers of skin, including ink particles.
-Can be done at home. – May not be effective for deep shading.-Painful -may cause bleeding. – May cause scarring.
TCA Peel-Trichloroacetic acid solution applied to the tattoo. – Causes the skin to peel, removing ink particles.-Can be done at home – Can be effective for light shading.-May cause skin irritation or burns. – May not work for all tattoo colors.

– Tattoo colors.May not work for all – Can cause scarring if not done properly.
Dermabrasion-Sanding the skin to remove layers of skin, including ink. – Done by a professional.-Can be effective for deep shading. – Can be done in one session.-Painful and can cause bleeding.

– May cause scarring or discoloration. – Requires significant healing time.
Cover-up Tattooing-Adding a new design over the existing tattoo to hide it.-Can be effective for completely hiding the old tattoo.-May not be suitable for all tattoos.

7 Things to Do To Lighten Dark Shading

1. Exfoliate Regularly

Exfoliating your skin removes dead skin cells, contributing to a dull complexion. Dead skin cells that accumulate can also block the pores, making it harder for your skin.

If you don’t want to take off all the dead skin cells, try using a DIY exfoliator or one of these popular peel-off masks.

2. Use Sunscreen

You can prevent dull skin without sunscreen by reducing your sun exposure. Dehydrated skin is prone to sun damage, so protect your face from the sun by using shade or avoiding the midday heat altogether.

3. Treat your Skin kindly with Moisturizers

If your face feels too dry or tight after a long day, slather on a bit of lotion. Any moisturizer will do but try to get your hands on some that contain a hyaluronic acid like this one.

Why Is My Tattoo Shading So Dark?

It will help attract water to your skin, making your face appear smoother.

4. Stay Hydrated

Getting dehydrated without realizing it is easy since we don’t think about drinking water when we’re not physically thirsty.

You can ensure you’re getting enough water by using a water bottle that tracks your hydration or refilling your glass as soon as it’s empty.

5. Be Gentle with your Skin

Be especially gentle around sun-damaged areas like your cheeks or nose. Applying too much pressure to these areas can cause the skin to become even more damaged, contributing to your dull complexion.

How To Fix A Dark Tattoo? 5 Ways

Laser Tattoo removal-Breaks ink tattoo particles.
– Is relatively painless.
– Requires expensive equipment and a doctor’s approval.
Coverup Tattoos-Involves getting a new tattoo to cover up the old one.
– Requires more than one tattoo.
– Is painful and expensive.
Tattoo Removal Creams-Takes time.
-Takes anywhere from 3 to 10 treatments.
-Requires a doctor’s approval.
-Less effective compared to laser removal.
Skin Grafting-Removes tattoo ink particles by transplanting skin.
– Requires expensive equipment and a doctor’s approval.
-Is painful and dangerous.


Tattoo shading is what makes your tattoo look 3D and gives it dimension. However, this ink can appear too dark after the tattoo heals and leave you with a tattoo that looks more like a bruise than anything else.


I'm Vincent, a registered skincare specialist and an award-winning tattoo artist. I've been in the industry for over 10 years and have worked with some of the best tattoo artists in my field. I've loved everything to do with tattoos and arts in general, as well as exercise and wellness! This site is a place for me to share some of the expertise knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current research and studies. Tattoos are a huge passion of mine, I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. I decided to start a blog and help other people!

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