Another White Palm

Cross-spectrum body modification artist Wayne Fredrickson of Zodiac Tattoo in Moreno Valley, CA — one of the few practitioners who’ve been featured here for tattoos (don’t miss that crazy link), piercing, and scarification — just posted a good example of how clean white tattoos often look, and how successfully they generally heal. It’s weird, even in these edumacaterd days, the urban myth persists that white ink tattoos are next-to-impossible to do, to keep from fading or changing color, or are even dangerous (someone emailed me just yesterday concerned because they’d been told that white ink is fundamentally toxic). In reality white ink is as non-toxic and inert as any modern tattoo pigment (that is, safe to tattoo with, but a carcinogen if you spend a decade snorting large quantities of the pure powder base), and appears to last better than most, resistant to fading and other discoloration. In addition, when you’re talking about white-only tattoos, I feel like there’s some trick-of-the-eye that makes them more “forgiving” — slight breaks and imperfections in the linework are less likely to be caught by the eye, which makes them ideal for work on the palm for example, a location where it can be difficult to get ink of any color to stay perfectly (something which the eye instantly picks up on in black ink).

In the example below, done on a palm (the location would have created more of a challenge than the choice of ink) you can see the tattoo progressing from fresh, to two weeks later, and finally to two months later. There’s no reason to believe that it will look nearly identical to that third shot two decades from now as well, although the lines may blur slightly due to the mechanics of skin. You may recall in November I actually posted a similar tattoo — click here to see a 13 year old white ink palm tattoo (that one is more yellow because of the pigmentation of the wearer’s skin, not because of its age). As usual, click the pic to zoom in.


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Another White Palm

  1. Hello again. It is great knowing that my questions don’t just go unanswered here. While it might not be important, I think it’s safe to explain that I grew up in South America (Venezuela) and over there the whole tattoo culture was still considered a very taboo subject in the 90′s when I left. I am fascinated with tattoos and while I don’t have any yet I have many ideas and one of them includes white and UV work. I still have some research and some drawing to do but its amazing knowing that I count with this tool for enlightenment. Thanks BME. I sincerely hope there’s a lot of Shannon left to see my art once its done.

  2. I don´t know if its really the eye…The white pigment stays more at its place than other colours, because of its size. I know artist who put a little white in their black ink to avoid blowout over the years. Maybe thats also the reason for staying very well in palms while healing because its unable to get out that easy like a thin black colour.

  3. …”In reality white ink…appears to last better than most, resistant to fading & other discoloration.” Yet even you realize how yellow the tattoo looks hence the fact you inserted that disclaimer. The tattoos coloration in picture 2 blends better with the hand than picture 3.

  4. I have a white tattoo along my entire forearm, and it extended into my palm. The ink on my palm faded quickly, but the rest of the tattoo looks great and hasn’t faded in 2 years. I don’t think I can post a picture as a comment, but I’d be willing to show yall if you know a way that I can on here

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