Why Do Tattoos Turn Green? A Closer Look

Discover ways to keep the unwanted tint away to maintain the vibrancy of your tattoo!

Written by , MA (English) Shreya Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BA, MSc Eshna Das BA, MSc Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA (English) Gazala Firdos Ansari Integrated MA (English) Experience: 2 years

You may have noticed your decades old tattoo suddenly taking on a greenish tint. Now you are wondering whether this is because the color is fading or if it is due to some underlying issue with the tattoo ink. But fret not. We have you covered. There are many reasons why a tattoo can take on a greenish hue. It may be due to poor ink quality, overexposure to bright sunlight, or incorrect tattooing technique that may have left you with that undesirable green tint. In this article, we will delve further into the causes behind cosmetic tattoos turning green, the process behind it, some important preventive tips, better tattoo placements, and more. Scroll down and learn more about this mysterious process now!

Why Do Tattoos Turn Green?

Tattoos turn green due to the interaction between pigments in tattoo inks and the body’s natural processes. Over time, the modern tattoo inks containing metal substances may deteriorate and change due to the following reasons:

  • Poor-quality ink is made with blue or green inks that can lead to unwanted color changes in your tattoo over time.
  • The application technique may influence your tattoo’s longevity. Inexperienced artists who lack precision and technique may apply the tattoo incorrectly, resulting in tattoos turning green over time.
  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause color alterations in tattoos.
  • Air and environmental factors can impact your original tattoo colors.
  • Your immune system may play a role in color shifts as it processes and breaks down foreign substances in the tattoo from your skin cells.
protip_icon Did You Know?
Take your skin tone into consideration when getting a tattoo as darker skin tones absorb ink differently than lighter skin tones.

The above-mentioned factors may cause some colors to turn green compared to other hues. Check out the next section to know more.

Which Color Tattoos Turn Green?

A man with a fading green bird tattoo on his shoulder
Image: IStock

Certain colors in dark tattoos, particularly blue tattoos, gray tattoos, and black tattoo inks may turn green over a period of time. This may also happen to some bright-colored inks due to tattoo fading and loss of definition. Your body’s immune response also helps break down and eliminate foreign substances from your tattooed skin.

Black tattoos are the ones that turn green over time. But do all of them turn or is it some? Find out in the next section.

Do All Black Tattoos Turn Green?

Although black and gray are the safest tattoo colors, the color change is not universal. The color change usually occurs due to interactions between black ink pigments and your body’s processes. Apart from this, exposure to sunlight and air may alter the appearance of your delicate tattoo, causing it to turn green over time.

Not all black tattoos turn green but it is important to know what exactly happens when the ink turns green. Scroll down to find out.

What Exactly Happens When Ink Turns Green?

Your body slowly absorbs the ink deposits that cause the tattoo to fade over time. As the ink density decreases, your tattoo is less densely packed and fades to a greenish hue under the layers of skin.

Understanding the process and the factors behind your exceptional tattoos turning green can help you prevent it in the first place. Find out about it in the next section.

Tips To Keep Tattoos From Turning Green

Following the tips mentioned below can significantly reduce the chances of your tattoos’ original color ink developing green tones and ensure the long-lasting beauty of your body art.

  • Choose High-Quality Ink: Opt for expert tattoo artists who use premium-quality inks with reliable pigments and avoid ones with harsh chemicals to minimize the risk of color changes and allergic reactions.
  • Select Skilled Tattoo Artists: Experienced professionals with a proven track record employ precise techniques to reduce the likelihood of your tattoo turning green.
  • Avoid Sun Exposure: Use SPF 30 sunscreen or cover your inked areas when exposed to UV rays to prevent color alterations.
  • Follow Proper Aftercare: Adhere to your artist’s aftercare instructions diligently. Adequate care during the healing process ensures the longevity and vibrancy of your tattoo. Use a mild soap and lukewarm water for cleansing and pat dry using a clean paper towel. Use an antibacterial lotion followed by a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
  • Protect Your Tattoos From Environmental Factors: Shield your tattoo design from harsh environmental elements, such as air and pollutants, to maintain its intended appearance.
protip_icon Pro Tip
Avoid applying skincare products with BHAs and AHAs on tattoos as they can potentially cause fading and alterations in tattoo colors.

Choosing the right placement is key to preventing your awesome tattoo from turning green. Here are some suitable areas for getting your tattoo in the section below.

Ideal Tattoo Placement Areas To Prevent Green Tattoos

An elderly woman getting a tattoo on her shoulder
Image: Shutterstock

Considering optimal tattoo placement is crucial for preserving its vibrancy. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind to prevent greenish hues in your body art:

  • Choose areas that are less prone to constant rubbing or friction to prevent premature color alterations.
  • Areas such as hands are at a higher risk of direct sun exposure. Opt for locations that can be easily covered by clothing.
  • Areas prone to excessive sweating can impact tattoo longevity. Opt for spots less prone to perspiration for better color preservation.
  • Certain skin types may react differently to tattoo designs. Consult with an exceptional tattoo artist and a dermatologist to identify optimal placement areas for your specific skin type.

Prioritizing quality inks and skilled artists are key to preserving your tattoos. Shield your dark tattoo ink from direct sunlight and follow proper aftercare to ensure your body art remains vibrant and free from the undesired green tint. Your choice of tattoo artist, a wide variety of inks, and tattoo styles play a crucial role in maintaining visually stunning body art.

Frequently Asked Questions

What options are available if my tattoo has already turned green?

If your permanent tattoo has turned green, consult a professional tattoo artist for advice. They may suggest options like color correction, laser tattoo removal, or cover-up tattoos to help deal with your green-tinted tattoo.

Is green tattoo discoloration reversible?

Reversing green tattoo discoloration may be challenging. Hence, consult a skilled tattoo artist who may ask you to do a cover-up tattoo or a tattoo touch-up to decrease the green tint and improve your tattoo’s vibrancy.

Key Takeaways

  • Tattoos turn green over time due to poor ink quality, environmental exposure, and the body’s natural processes.
  • Choose reputable artists and quality tattoo pigments to minimize the risk of your tattoo turning green.
  • Opt for body parts with minimal sweating and rubbing to reduce the likelihood of premature color changes.
why do tattoos turn green

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Tattoos fading into a blue or green tint is not a common occurrence. However, it may still happen due to your body’s response to the ink. Check out this informative video to know more.

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