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Fading Your Tattoo Before a Cover Up

Are you experiencing post-tattoo regret after getting a questionable design? Or perhaps you didn’t research your tattoo artist before letting them permanently mark your body?

First off, you’re not alone, and this is more common than you’d think, especially when getting a tattoo on a whim without putting in the proper research ahead of time. We’re not here to lecture you, just letting you know it happens, and that there’s help.

The good news is that even though we’ve all been told that tattoos aren’t reversible, there are plenty of ways to fix a “bad” job. One way to reverse a tattoo is to get it removed. However, this procedure is expensive and often more painful than getting the initial tattoo done.

For this reason, many people opt to get a cover up instead, utilizing the surrounding skin to change their body art from cringy to beautiful in no time.

What You Need to Know About a Cover Up Tattoo

Getting a cover up tattoo is the process of taking an old, unwanted tattoo, and replacing it or incorporating elements of it into a new one. In general, it is much easier to do a cover up tattoo if the old design is faded or small. Small tattoos can be more easily covered in areas where colour is filled in, while faded tattoos can be covered up with less bold colours.

The way a cover up tattoo works is that the colours from the old tattoo and the new one get combined to create a new colour, so the new ink does not just sit on top of the old ink. For instance, putting a blue ink over a red ink will create purple. Darker coloured inks are more likely to show, so many covers up tattoo artists will prefer to use a lot of black in the new design.

Nonetheless, they must be able to consider the colour and design of the old tattoo and figure out the best way to incorporate those elements into the new one. Cover up tattoos are usually larger and more complex than the old one.

How to Fade Your Old Tattoo

As previously stated, tattoo cover ups work best if the old tattoo is faded and light. Usually, this happens with time, but if you just recently received a design that you regret, it doesn’t mean that you have to wait a super long time to transform your body art into something you love looking at.

You want to do this as safely as possible, so you should wait for your tattoo to completely heal first before trying to lighten it. Additionally, fading a tattoo isn’t an immediate process. In some cases, it may not work to the extent that you might want it because of the way that these agents react with different skin types.

Your professional tattoo artist will be able to assess the existing tattoo and your skin type and provide you with guidance and expectations based on your desired outcome.

laser removal

Other Tattoo Removal / Fading Options:

Lemon Juice – Prior to getting professional treatment, lemons are a great natural remedy to lighten a tattoo. Lemons are commonly known as a lightening agent for skin. Apply fresh-squeezed or pure lemon juice to your tattoo up to three times a day, and within several weeks, the ink of your tattoo, specifically the darker colours should be noticeably faded.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Exfoliation – Exfoliation paired with hydrogen peroxide can do wonders to gradually fade tattoo ink naturally. This is because exfoliation removes dead skin while hydrogen peroxide is a skin lightening agent that has bleaching properties. For this process, you want to first exfoliate your skin safely and naturally with a salt or sugar scrub. After spending a few minutes exfoliating, dab hydrogen peroxide on the area. Ensure that you are not breaking any new skin during exfoliation, so make sure to stop if it starts to get painful or raw.

Professional Tattoo Removal – Natural processes don’t always work for everyone, and dark inks can be the toughest to fade. For this reason, going to a professional tattoo removal center might be your best option. This will also depend on the skin depth of the tattoo ink. Many of the natural lightening options only fade more surface-level inks. Most dermatologists will be able to help you lighten or remove your tattoo using lasers.

All of the aforementioned methods for lightening and fading a tattoo will vary in success and time depending on skin type. This will also depend on the type and size of the tattoo as larger and more colourful tattoos will likely take longer to fade than small, simple ones.

In general, many cover up tattoo artists will suggest undergoing a few rounds of tattoo laser removal before getting a cover up. A normal laser treatment tattoo removal process will take about 12-15 sessions to completely remove the old tattoo. Fading a tattoo for a cover up should only require about 3-4 sessions, and will cost a fraction of the price of full removal.

Why It’s Important To Fade Your Tattoo Before a Cover Up

No matter how talented your cover up tattoo artist is, it is impossible to create an incredible work of art without somewhat of a blank slate. If your skin is heavily saturated with fresh dark ink, it will take twice the amount of ink to cover the old design. Moreover, using that much ink can cause muddled colours and overlapping lines that will make it tough to ignore the old tattoo. In order to avoid an even bigger eyesore than your original tattoo, it’s best to do a cover up over a faded tattoo.

Need Help Fading or Covering up a Tattoo?

Do you live in or around the greater Toronto area? Have a tattoo that you’re unhappy with and interested in exploring options including fading or covering up your existing artwork?

The team at Chronic Ink and Tattoo are highly talented professionals experienced in tattoo fading and covers, capable of transforming your current tattoo into a piece of artwork you’ll be proud to show off for decades to come.
Call, message or drop by our shop today, we’d love to hear from you.

Ready to Explore Your Own Custom tattoo?

At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists are ready to help you explore custom and other tattoos to make sure you find something you’ll want to show off for decades to come. If you’re in the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, Kitsilano Vancouver area drop by our shop and check us out for yourself.

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Tattoo Studio Locations

Downtown Toronto

378 Yonge Street,
2nd Floor,
Toronto, Ontario
M5B 1S6
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Midtown Toronto

252 Eglinton Ave East,
2nd Floor,
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1K2
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Markham

7381 Kennedy Road,
Unit #105,
Markham, Ontario
L3R 5B5
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Mississauga

100 City Centre Dr.,
Unit #2-311,
Mississauga, Ontario
L5N 2C9
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1804 W 4th Ave,
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6J 1M3
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