Tattoo Lightening Ideas – Advice & More in 2023

by Tori Jones
Lightning Tattoo

In this post, we’ll be diving into the sea of tattoo lightening, an area that often exists on the periphery of mainstream tattoo discourse. We’ll explore the what, why, and how of tattoo lightening – What exactly is tattoo lightening? Why might one consider it? How does the process work? And most importantly, what to consider before embarking on this road less traveled.

Lightning Tattoo
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From the moment our skins feel that first exhilarating buzz of the tattoo machine, we’re hopelessly in love with the art we’ve just created. It’s a bond, an imprint of a moment, a feeling, or an ideology. But, as with all love stories, sometimes we yearn for change. A tattoo, once a vibrant display of self-expression, may not resonate with you as strongly anymore. And that’s perfectly okay. Tattoos are about your journey, and that journey, my friends, isn’t always a straight path.

Lightning Tattoo
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As an artist who’s spent countless hours both wielding the machine and studying the intricate nuances of skin and ink, I’ll offer you an insider’s perspective into this fascinating corner of the tattoo universe. I’ll bust some myths, share some tips, and hopefully, enlighten you (no pun intended) about this transformative art form.

What Is Tattoo Lightening?

Lightning Tattoo
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Tattoo lightening, at its core, is the act of fading an old tattoo to make way for a new one. Sometimes, we outgrow our tattoos, just like we outgrow our favorite pair of jeans from high school. Maybe the design didn’t turn out as expected or perhaps the symbol doesn’t resonate with your present persona. It’s totally okay, and that’s where tattoo lightening steps in, offering a fresh canvas over an old masterpiece.

Is It Possible to Lighten a Dark Tattoo?

Lightning Tattoo
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Now, you might ask, “What about my dark, densely inked tattoo?” Well, as someone who’s witnessed and worked with a myriad of tattoos, let me tell you, no tattoo is too dark to lighten. Like that one time, I worked with a client who wanted to fade her solid black arm-band. With the right approach and patience, we managed to fade it significantly and created a vibrant phoenix in its place!

Laser removal can effectively fade dark tattoos, and the PicoWay laser stands as a shining beacon in this realm. It can target highly concentrated ink, allowing for precise lightening of either the entire tattoo or certain portions of it.

Fading a Tattoo—or Part of It—for a Tattoo Cover-Up

Lightning Tattoo
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Tattoo lightening doesn’t always mean getting rid of an entire design. Maybe you love the dragon on your arm, but that flame it’s breathing looks more like a chicken leg! Tattoo lightening is your savior here, allowing you to retain the parts you love and modify the parts you don’t. This not only gives your tattoo a fresh spin but also gives you more control over the final look.

Beware of At-Home Tattoo Lightening DIYs

Just as I wouldn’t recommend cutting your own hair based on a YouTube tutorial, at-home tattoo lightening is a big NO. Believe me, I’ve seen enough horror stories to fill a novel. Trust me when I say, professionals are the best bet for this job. Trying DIY techniques is like trying to defuse a bomb based on a movie scene – not a good idea!

Lightning Tattoo
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Laser Tattoo Removal Is the Best Way to Fade a Tattoo

Laser removal is the tattoo world’s magic wand for fading old tattoos. Its safety and efficiency make it a top choice among tattoo artists, including myself. It uses your immune system to help remove the ink, making it a natural and effective solution.

How Many Sessions Does It Take to Lighten a Tattoo?

While every tattoo is unique and needs a personalized approach, you might be looking at about half or a third of the sessions required for full removal. For example, if a complete removal would take 12 sessions, lightening might only require 5 or so. Factors like the tattoo’s style and color, as well as the design of the cover-up tattoo, will influence this.

The style and color of your old tattoo

Lightning Tattoo
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In my years of experience, I’ve seen many clients surprised by how their new tattoo seems to fade during healing, only to regain its vibrancy later. And although tattoos do fade over time, that process takes years. So if you’re not keen on waiting for your tattoo to naturally lighten, laser removal is the way to go.

Can Side Effects Like Hypopigmentation Occur? 

Nervous about potential side effects like hypopigmentation? Rest easy. When done by experts using the PicoWay laser, the risks of skin lightening or darkening are minimal. Add to that a few aftercare precautions like staying out of the sun, and you’re good to go.

Need Tattoo Lightening Services?

Lightning Tattoo
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If you’re ready to turn the page and start a new tattoo chapter, or even if you’re just pondering the idea, getting a professional opinion is a great first step. And remember, tattoo lightening isn’t just about changing a design – it’s about embracing your evolution and celebrating the ever-changing canvas that is you!

What Are The Risks Of Getting A Lightening Tattoo

While tattoo lightening, particularly when carried out using laser technology, is generally considered safe and effective, it’s important to be aware that any procedure has its potential risks or side effects. These can vary depending on individual factors like skin type, tattoo size and location, the type and color of ink used, and your body’s immune response.

Here are some of the most common potential risks or side effects associated with tattoo lightening:

  1. Skin Discoloration: Post-treatment, the skin may temporarily become lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation) in the treated area. This is usually temporary and resolves over time.
  2. Infection and Scarring: While rare, improper aftercare can lead to infection or scarring. Following the aftercare instructions provided by your technician is crucial to prevent this.
  3. Incomplete Tattoo Removal: While laser technology is advanced, some ink colors (like blues and greens) are more difficult to remove and may not fully fade.
  4. Blistering and Swelling: Temporary blistering, redness, and swelling are common after laser tattoo removal sessions. These are part of the normal healing process and generally subside on their own.
  5. Allergic Reactions: Rarely, the process may trigger an allergic reaction, causing skin rashes or hives.

It’s also worth noting that the effectiveness and safety of the tattoo lightening procedure can greatly depend on the expertise of the professional carrying out the procedure. Always ensure you’re entrusting your skin to a certified, experienced professional, and don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have about the procedure, its risks, or the aftercare process.

Lastly, it’s crucial to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your technician, as proper aftercare can significantly mitigate many of these risks and promote a smooth healing process.


And there you have it, folks! We’ve journeyed together through the ins and outs of tattoo lightening, debunking myths and gaining valuable insights along the way. The key takeaway? Tattoo lightening is a reliable and effective solution to breathe new life into an old design or to subtly edit a part of your current tattoo.

Remember to trust the process. It requires patience and commitment, but with the right experts by your side, you’re in safe hands. Avoid risky DIY endeavors and stay vigilant about aftercare—your skin will thank you.

Tattoos are a testament to your personal journey, and it’s absolutely fine if your tastes change over time. After all, it’s your story, and you have every right to edit the chapters. So, whether you’re looking to update an old design or correct an impulsive decision, tattoo lightening might be your next step.

Let this be a reminder that your body is a canvas—a living, breathing artwork that evolves with you. Don’t be afraid to change, and don’t shy away from making that change happen. This is your journey, and your tattoo saga is yours to tell. Be bold, be brave, and, most importantly, stay ink-credible!

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