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Why do tattoos turn green?

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AppleBag

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:21 pm    Post subject: Why do tattoos turn green? Reply with quote

I've been wondering why tattoo's invariably turn green after a relatively short time?

I know it's due to some chemical reactions with the body, but after so many decades of tattooing, and thousands of intelligent tattoo artists, how come no one has ever come up with an ink (for example, black) that stays as black in the skin 10 years later as the day they were done?

That is one of the things that has held me off of getting tattoo's for a long time, is because I love the way fresh tatt's look, and how black the black is, but after a short time, my whole arm will have a general greenish look to it.
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Tbacc

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

its has nothing to do with the ink.. well i take that back. some inks stay darker longer. it all has to do with human anatomy... the cells in your skin aren't stable enough to hold the ink?
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linx

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first tattoo I got is 20 years old and isn't green. It's pretty much the same dark blue color it was when I got it.
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lovebug

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Odd - my BLACK tattoo is now more faded into a dark gray/light black, but for sure, it doesn't look green, and it is what - almost 5 years old?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are true blacks which stay black, provided they are put in the skin correctly.
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brknbck

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some tattoo's and none of them have turned green when I see green tattoo's I think of jail tattoo's.
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choo

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

look at your artists skill / inks buddy..

all the studios near where I lived made tattoos like that and they aged TERRIBLY, a guy I went to school with came in with a tattoo once and it looked 15 years old but was ~4months old :s

I realy think its a testimate to your tattoo artist how the tattoo lasts (although other factors need to be concidered: area of body / how often your in the sun ect)

my dad got a tattoo off some heroin dealer when he was 18, hes now 50 and although not great detail its still the dark blue / black it was initialy and hes lead a rough life in the sun.
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AppleBag

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems to be more with blacks than colors I think. A funny thing it seems is the people that have tatts like that sometimes don't even realize it themselves, even when pointed out.

A friend of mine has a half sleeve on one arm, and misc tatt's over the rest of his torso, and when he wears a tank top, the overall impression you get by looking at him is "green" (even though there are some colors in some of them).

I was trying to ask him why tatt's turn green, and he scoffed, and said "pffff, they aren't green". SO then another friend of ours comes over, and I ask him to tell us the overall color of his tatt's he see's when looking at Brian (his name). After a few seconds of looking and thinking ... he says "I'd say about a Hunter Green".

Brian acted stunned. lol


Here's not the best example, but it kind of works. Here is a fresh looking tat, with the nice crisp blacks:


And here's one that looks older and the overall impression I get when looking at him is a sort of green more-so than black:


I doubt I'm getting my idea across clearly, but hopefully someone reading this knows what I'm talking about. wink

My little tattoo (about the size of a dime) was doen with black India Ink, and is now a Hunter Green, but I'm sure it's partially due to it being non-tattoo ink as well.

If there is a true black that stays black, what would I ask for when I get mine to be sure I get it? Does it have a specific name?
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choo

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

try the specific tribal black inks, iv heard those are good for holding colour although I think theres drawbacks (harder to use for fine detail?)
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hanalotus

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard to say also because how a tattoo looks 10 years from when it was first done depends a lot on how much care was put into preserving it. I know that sun exposure fades tattoos and that might be what you're seeing. It might look greener to you when it is just faded.
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sihu

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to know the answer too.
I have a black tattoo and it's still jet black after 5 years. I have a friend with several black tattoos and even his most recent one 1 yr is green.
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Rexan001

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

off topic, but that dragon tat is cool as hell! i've been looking for some referene for the upper arm/shoulder/maybe chest plate dragon, and i may use this Smile thanks!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:47 am    Post subject: Re: Why do tattoos turn green? Reply with quote

AppleBag wrote:
I've been wondering why tattoo's invariably turn green after a relatively short time?


What the hell are you talking about?
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_ShortE_

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My grandpa had tattoos that were green too (I'm sure they were supposed to be black one day) and I always wondered why. I also heard that it had something to do with the ink they used back then.
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dragon guy tattoo

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AppleBag wrote:
My little tattoo (about the size of a dime) was doen with black India Ink, and is now a Hunter Green, but I'm sure it's partially due to it being non-tattoo ink as well.

If there is a true black that stays black, what would I ask for when I get mine to be sure I get it? Does it have a specific name?




That India ink is made for cardboard and projects like that “should read the bottle”.

Anyway, it is all in how you take care of them and who does them and what their inks are. Up until the mid 80’s the inks did turn green, after a couple of wonderful advancements they stayed black… some guys still use the old school inks though “afraid of change”.

People just have to be artist savvy, and check out portfolios. Good luck.
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