Can You Get Tattoos Without Ink?

Written by: Pete

Body modification has changed drastically over the years, and with tattoos fading from the label as being “taboo”, people are looking for more diverse ways to express themselves on their skin. “Inkless” tattooing or scarification is one way to get a very unique look on your skin without the usual inked design. But beware of articles that tell you to go dry - we’ll tell you exactly why in our article on tattoos without ink.


What is Inkless Tattooing or Scarification?

Inkless tattooing is not actually a completely dry experience. Tattooing, when done correctly, does not leave any scarring on the epidermis and so if you were to get a tattoo with a needle that had no ink in it, it wouldn’t leave any noticeable markings on your skin after a few months or so of healing.

If you truly want to get the “scar” look, you’ll have to be tattooed in one of two ways:

  • With ink that is white or flesh-colored
  • Through burning, branding, or cutting through your flesh (which tattoo needles will not do)

Why Go Inkless?

People choose to go “inkless” for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • It ages more permanently
  • It avoids any potential allergies with tattoo ink
  • It is a more traditional method of tattooing and the “ancient” factor makes it feel more authentic
  • It is not as in-your-face as a traditional tattoo
  • It is easily hidden and blends in with your skin

What to Expect From Inkless Tattooing

If you are getting an inkless tattoo using white or flesh-colored ink, the experience is no different than a standard tattoo. Because of the fact that only one color is being used and the effect you want to achieve is a “scar” look, you will want to avoid designs that require shading or filled spaces. Line art or dot work works well for this style of tattooing, and, in regards to pain, that is always an individual experience.

If you choose to go the scarification route in order to get your inkless tattoo, we’ll say it to you straight: it will hurt… a lot. You’ll also need to consider that fine details won’t work with this style of tattooing and your design should be thick, simple, and should avoid fine details. Text is also a popular option for this method of body modification.

If you do go the “dry tattoo” route and get tattooed with a needle and no ink, you can expect any markings on your epidermis to disappear in a few months. Only going over the spot repeatedly, in the exact same location, with the exact same design positioning, may result in some minor scarring on the skin. That process would take numerous sessions and a very large financial investment.

Cautionary Note - Keloid Scarring

If you are prone to keloid scarring, you’ll want to avoid a method like scarification. Keloid scars are generally genetic or make themselves known when you are a child and have a scar that heals thick, raised, and of a different color. If you have one keloid scar, chances are you will have more than one, and this would severely damage your scarification process as well as your potential white or flesh-colored “inkless” tattoo.

Learn more about Tattoos and Keloid Scarring

Our Final Thoughts

“Inkless” tattoos are a new trend but don’t believe the websites that tell you that a “dry” tattoo session is worth your time and money. If you really want an impactful body modification that gives the appearance of no ink, you have two options: white or flesh-colored ink, or scarification. Speak to your artist about what options are available for you and which are best for your design idea.

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