why do tattoos turn green

Keeping Them Black: Why Do Tattoos Fade and Turn Green?

Since the Neolithic times, tattoos have graced the bodies of common folk, warriors, royalties, and what have you. They’re even accompanied by stories and feats of grandeur and championships. They also hold religious significance for some faiths. And they hold meaning towards their cultures as well. And the interesting thing is, the most common tattoos are just plain black ink. But over time, do you notice something odd happening? We’re not talking about any disfiguration but rather in color. Ever seen your tattoo somehow and just wonder why do tattoos turn green over time? The tattoo could have faded of the pigment used was not of good quality.

Do black tattoos stay black?

Black tattoos are great if you want to have a design that has a lot of contrast and intricate details. They’re also perfect for portraits and realism because of the level of details you can tattoo on the skin. But, do black tattoos stay black? Unfortunately, black doesn’t stay black forever when it comes to tattoos and you’re ending up asking yourself, “Why do tattoos turn green?”. As the body ages, so does the pigment used to tattoo that awesome design on you. Other factors come into play like your age, the skin you have, and how you take care of your tattoos, as well. 

Why do tattoos turn green and fade? And how to avoid it

If you’re wondering why tattoos fade, this is because of several things. 

1. Your actual skin

The first is your actual skin. Remember that skin sheds its own while we’re alive. The more it sheds, the more it pushes the pigment out of your skin and eventually fades. One way to avoid it is to have the pigment driven a bit deeper than where it would normally be. But this one is just a temporary fix as the macrophage cells of your body, created by your immune system will slowly absorb the cells with the ink and get rid of them.

2. Tattoos turn green when exposed to sunlight

The second reason is because of the sunlight. The more exposed tattoos are to the sun, the sooner it will fade. Tattoos hidden under clothes have less likely to fade than the ones exposed. The UV light frequencies are slowly breaking down the ink molecules.

3. Proper care was not administered

Another reason is poor initial care. Tattoos are just wounds with pigment in it. So taking care of it after the tattooing session needs to be carried out religiously. Avoid using lotions that have whitening properties at all as this can cause the pigment to lighten up. If it’s your first time to receive a tattoo, ask your artists for helpful tips on how to care for the healing tattoo to avoid any problems and follow them to the tee.

4. Tattoos turn green when it becomes infected

When a tattoo gets infected, parts of it start to swell up and some discoloration of the pigment will happen. This might panic you if it turns green. Luckily, if treated and cleaned early, this should subside after a couple of days. In the worst-case scenario, where the infection runs deep, the symptoms might start flaring up on you. This includes, but is not limited to, abnormal shivering, fever, swelling of the tattooed area, waves of hot and cold feelings, pus coming out of the tattooed area, red lesions around the tattooed area, and areas of hard, raised tissues. If you experience one or more of these symptoms within the week of getting the tattoo, you should seek help from your tattoo artists or a doctor to get advice on the situation. 

How to avoid getting your tattoos infected?

  1. Do a background check on your chosen tattoo artist. Choose only the licensed who has a good reputation.
  2. Do not try to get a cheap offer. You might end up spending more as a result of bad service or unsafe practices.
  3. If you chose cheap options, make sure that they still follow proper health protocols just to be safe.
  4. Ask around trusted people for recommendations.
  5. Another consideration is aftercare. Make sure to ask your artist for some pointers on how to take care of your fresh tattoo to avoid any mishaps on your end. Once given, follow these steps religiously as it’s for your good. 
  6. If all else fails, it would be best to visit a doctor and have them examine the wounds and infection to better understand the situation and prescribe you the best moves and medication to help alleviate the symptoms you’re experiencing. 


Getting a tattoo can be painful, others say, getting a tattoo is a rite of passage in some cultures. Some get tattoos because of the traumatic experience they have encountered and conquered in life. And some get tattoos to immortalize the most important people in their lives on their bodies. No matter what the reason is, tattoos are a commitment you need to be sure of since they are there for a lifetime. 

And as cool as tattoos are, there are still things you need to be wary of before getting one. Are you compatible with tattoos skin-wise? Are you prone to infections? Keep your tattoos free from dirt and other foreign materials while in the healing process? These are just some of the ways to help you avoid getting any issues in the future and to avoiding getting your tattoos turn green.

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