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Skin rejecting ink


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Hi! I could have posted this in the aftercare/healing threads, but I thought it would make more sense to post a new topic, because I know it's not to do with healing. 

I know that people can sometimes experience fallout during the healing process of their tattoo, but I tend to get it pretty bad. I have some sort of fallout every single time, and it's often with black ink. But if I get it touched up, it tends to be ok. It's like as if my skin just rejects some of it the first time. I know it's not my tattoo artist, as I've seen pictures of healed tattoos he has done and they always look great.

He did my most recent one on Saturday, and yesterday I could already see some the lines were completely faded to a greyish colour instead of jet black like they were the day before. I know I'll need it touched up...as I always do. And in fairness, my tattoo artist is really decent, he has kind of accepted that my skin is harder to tattoo as it seems to reject the ink a lot more than normal. He is happy to do touch ups for me. 

I'm just wondering whether anyone here has every experienced this? And I don't mean a little bit of fading, I mean that one line could be perfectly black and then it just stops and the rest of it has changed colour to a far lighter shade. 

This most recent tattoo I've had has had the worst fallout I've ever experienced. Granted, I was a bit run down on Friday with a cold. And I had doubts of whether to go ahead or reschedule, but I felt so much better on Saturday so went ahead. Drank lots of water and vitamin C. And if I didn't have issues with fallout on other tattoos, I'd chalk it up to not feeling 100%. But it seems to happen quite regularly.

Funnily enough though, it doesn't happen anything as bad on my legs. It's only when I get my arm done (working on a half sleeve) that it seems to be badly affected. I wonder is the difference in skin consistency a factor?

I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone who's experienced something similar. 


Thanks! :) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have four tattoos, two of them color. That said I have only had black, red, blue and white used in them.  No problems with either the black or blue, besides the typical fading.  White fell out quickly, but that is just normal for most (all?) people.  I do have a problem with red, however...also pretty common I hear.  I would have jumped to the conclusion that it was the placement's fault (center of the palm of my hand) except the blue half of my red/blue yin yang has stood the test of time (ten years) while almost all the red fell out quickly.

We all react differently to inks and pigments of different colors.  Maybe your problem could be solved with a different brand of ink? Maybe fish around for an artist who has faced and overcome this particular problem?   

Edited by littlefox1970
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  • 1 year later...

I have somewhere around 20 tattoos, all black and grey, and I have this same problem a lot. I know it's not my artist and I know it's not my aftercare as I follow the same regimen everytime and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. 

What I have noticed is that it only seems to happen with pure black pigment. If it's is diluted to get different greys it doesn't seem to happen. 

My artist and I have just come to accept that my body rejects the pure black and I'll probably have to go in to get it touched up. Luckily he doesn't charge me for this. 

During the healing process I'll notice some sections of black develop a thick scab that lasts much longer than the rest of the peeling stage. Once it finally comes off the skin underneath is almost new. All I can think of is that I have a strong immune system and my body is detecting that pigment as something foreign and is trying to protect me from it. The touch ups always seem to take though. 

I attached pictures of an example. Pure black pigment for some script, all done at the same time, all taken care of the same way, but sections have been rejected. 

It's just your body my dude, make peace with it 😉



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  • 9 months later...

I have gotten a tattoo on my ribs that I got 6 months ago and it faded pretty quickly. I thought it was normal until my artist said it looked like it aged considerably like it was years old. He was sure I was in the sun a lot or scrubbed it a lot (I did not, mind you it was on my ribs and I did a lot to avoid tight clothing that would rub). He touched it up very vibrantly and not even two weeks later all the bright green has faded again. He used this very vibrant ink that is known for holding for a long time. I have really sensitive skin, is this what it means to “reject” the ink?

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  • 6 months later...

The same thing happens to me!!! I only get black and greyscale tattoos. The grey tends to be okay, but pure black always falls out so bad on my skin. Every tattoo I’ve ever gotten, I have to go back and get it tattooed over a second time for it to stick. Glad to know I’m not the only one!!! It’s literally like my skin rejects the tattoo the first time. Luckily, my tattoo artist knows I have this problem and always goes over the second time free!(: 

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