Red Ink Tattoos - Designs, Ideas, And What To Consider

Written by: Jason White

There are several reasons why red tattoos are famed.

These appear to generate a lot of problems, ranging from the contentious red tattoo designs to the persistent itching of red tattoos.

Nevertheless, they continue to be highly well-liked since they make each tattoo artwork distinctive and stand out.

This ink color seems to have more drawbacks than advantages. Are there any advantages to getting a tattoo with red ink? How harmful is red ink, really?

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about red ink tattoos, along with each pro and con.

Additionally, we have added a couple of inspiration pieces towards the end for you to take a look at, and potentially take inspiration from.

So, let’s get into it.

Related: White Ink Tatto Ideas

Perks Of Getting A Red Ink Tattoo

You might be asking why someone would ever desire a red ink tattoo at this point, given all the unfavorable information that has been presented in the aforementioned sections of this article.

Does getting a red tattoo have any advantages? 

Well, the most obvious reason is, to put it simply, that they look really good. 

A red ink tattoo has an air of mystery and coolness about it, which is likely why they have gained popularity in recent years.

Not only does a red ink tattoo look great alone, but this color also looks great alongside other ink colors, including black and white.

Although, we should note that, while red tattoos can look great, they generally show up better on lighter skin tones.

It is not recommended that individuals with darker skin tones get red ink tattoos, as the hues will likely not show up as clearly.

In the end, it is your decision whether you want to get a red ink tattoo or not.

There are several health issues that have been linked with this style, but if you’re willing to take the risk for an edgy, unique tattoo, no one is going to stop you!

Red Ink Tattoo Ideas

If you’re still here, and you haven’t been put off by the cons that we listed above, you may still be interested in getting your very own red ink tattoo.

If so, we have listed a couple of pieces below that’ll inspire you for your own. These tattoos are completely colored red – no other colors used. Take a look, and see which one is your favorite…


When you Google ‘red ink tattoo designs’, you will find several examples of dragon tattoos.

This tattoo must have taken many hours to complete and must have been quite painful, especially since it was placed on the person’s back. 

However, the effort certainly paid off because this item looks fantastic.


This piece, affectionately named ‘The Lovers’, is a superb illustration of a distinctive, artistic design that makes use of line work.

It can take a while for the eyes to adjust to the design, but once they do, you can clearly make out that the lines make up a couple embracing.


This is a straightforward but effective design that stands out, in particular, since it uses red ink.

Although this would have looked fantastic in black ink, there is no denying that the use of red elevates it. This design was meticulously created, and makes use of delicate lines.


Flowers are yet another motif that is frequently chosen by those who decide they want a red ink tattoo. Red ink looks particularly lovely on roses.

The fact that this rose is so little and delicate is what gives it such a strong presence. Despite being a straightforward design, it jumps out because red ink was used.


This has several layers and is such a cool, attractive design. The phrase ‘Trust No One’ is written with the intention of resembling a heart.

It has the quintessential femme fatale vibe thanks to the scarlet ink, which gives the impression that it was written in lipstick.


The next design transforms a straightforward word of text into something considerably more appealing to the eye.

The word ‘Sunset’ morphs into a whirling shape as though it were melting down the person’s arm. Again, this would have looked fantastic in black ink, but in our opinion, the red is what really makes this design pop.


There is no doubting that the addition of red ink brings this design full circle and truly unites it.

It’s intriguing that the heart’s shape has no distinct outline, and is instead created by a pleasing marbleized texture in red.


This design has a lot going on, but that is by no means a bad thing. On this person’s shoulders, a complete landscape has been inked, and it looks amazing.

Sleeves printed in black ink are widespread, although red sleeves are less prevalent.


Next up, we have this gorgeous fine line design of a fairy in red ink Although the design itself is very straightforward, the red ink really makes it stand out.

We adore the surrealism feel that the crimson ink provides in the design.


And last but not least, look at this adorable sun design! This sun has heart-shaped cheeks, and a full face of makeup.

Everything about this design is amazing, even the finer points of the dot work in the flames.


This design is brilliant since it uses both black and red ink. The devil stands out significantly from the nearby angel because of the use of red ink.

This is such a sweet design, and both colors do a great job of completing the whole thing.


Compared to black ink, red ink tattoos are uncommon, and white ink tattoos are much more so. This is what makes this design so distinctive and eye-catching.

It is extremely effective how both colors work together to form the stems and flowers in this nature piece.


Greek mythology fans, rejoice! The face of Medusa is reconstructed in this amazing design using black and crimson ink.

The choice of red ink really makes the snakes stand out next to her face and unifies the entire image.


We have no doubt that this incredible design was painful to receive, and that hours of hard work was put into it.

However, the end result was definitely worth the blood, sweat, and tears. The dragons overlapping each other in different colored ink really works well.


Here is a layout that functions admirably on various levels. The metaphor of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly, and the human developing into beauty, is truly inspiring.

This concept is made more vivid by the use of the colors red for the butterfly and black for the person.


We adore how colors are used in this design. Here, two designs come together to form an amazing concept.

The scorpion’s heart and midsection, which were drawn in red ink, look fantastic, especially when contrasted with the scorpion’s outside portions, which were drawn in black ink.


Despite the fact that these are really two separate tattoos, we adore the way they relate to one another.

We’re not sure if these are identical tattoos on two different people, or if they are on the two arms of one person. It is a great concept in either case.


We are really impressed with the intricate line work used in this design, and we bet it took a while to create.

Once more, the crimson petals here overflow the black square’s outline in an outstanding use of color. This design is really lovely.


This is such a creative tattoo concept, and we believe the use of color is what makes this design work so well.

Although the design is rather straightforward, the red ink, which distinguishes the skulls from the otherwise seemingly ordinary piece of pizza, gives the concept life.


The last design is one that appears to belong as a work of art that is displayed on a wall at a gallery. This tattoo, in contrast to the others, is almost entirely covered in scarlet ink.

It’s also really cool how the hand’s skin is left uncolored, giving it a natural flesh tone.

The Dangers of Red Ink

Given that tattoo ink is neither FDA authorized nor regulated, it is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of tattoo artists are unaware of the ingredients in the pigments they use.

It is also commonly acknowledged that tattoo inks can include poisonous and hazardous substances, such as heavy metals.

Red ink may also serve as an indicator of toxins, and possibly dangerous chemicals.

Ethylene glycol, often known as antifreeze, rubbing alcohol, and a number of substances that have been derived from animals.

Red ink is infamously shunned in the tattoo community for a reason.

This color ink’s chemicals have been linked to serious ink allergies, infections, and long-term health problems like skin hypersensitivity, tattoo scars from blistering and inflammation, rashes, and cancer.

Red ink’s potential threat is not limited to the premise that it possesses such toxic compounds.

The issue extends to red ink’s superior longevity in the skin compared to other colors.

Red ink is extremely difficult to get rid of; for instance, you can anticipate needing twice as many rounds for laser tattoo removal on a red tattoo than on your typical black inked tattoo.

Simply put, the body never adjusts to it, which can lead to immune system weaknesses. Red ink begins to flow throughout the entire body through the circulatory system and never ceases doing so.

So, while there is nothing stopping you from getting a tattoo with red ink, you may want to keep these cautions in mind before doing so.

Does Red Ink Hurt More Than Black Ink?

You probably already know that some colored inks, including white ink, hurt more than regular black ink. Or, at least, they seem to hurt more.

Some believe that the discomfort you experience is all in your head because you are overanalyzing the color shift as the tattoo is being applied.

While some claim that red ink does hurt more, others argue that it isn’t that unpleasant. However, the healing process can take a little longer with red ink, which can result in more pain.

As we said earlier, the body takes a much longer time to accept red ink. This can lead to infections, sensitivities, and other complications. This, in turn, leads to more pain during the healing process.

Hard To Remove, Quick To Fade

Red ink, as we’ve already mentioned, is the most durable ink.

This is problematic because, contrary to a tattoo done in black ink, you might need to undergo more tattoo removal treatments if you feel you no longer want the tattoo.

Red ink is particularly difficult to erase, but that doesn’t guarantee that your tattoo will always look good.

It is true that red ink fades at a much faster rate than black, so keep in mind that, if you get a red ink tattoo, you will need to get frequent touch-ups to keep it looking fresh.

However, color is only one factor to consider when it comes to tattoos that fade.

There are many factors at play, including amateur tattooing, which might cause some tattoos to fade more quickly than others.

Your tattoo’s quality is not solely dependent on the tattoo artist or the ink color.

In order to provide your tattoo a nice surface on which to recover, you, the tattooed, have a significant part to play in the condition of your skin.

You will need to avoid sun burns and/or damage, adhere to aftercare guidelines, and eliminate smoking after getting a new tattoo, among other things.

All of these can help your skin look better, which will take better care of your tattoos.

Final Thoughts

There is no denying that red ink tattoos are beautiful to look at. Whether red ink is used alone, or is used alongside another colored ink to create a particularly striking piece, it always looks intriguing. 

However, the health issues cannot, or should not, be ignored.

To sum up the cons, red ink fades a lot faster than any other colored ink, the body can have a tough time accepting the ink, and it can even cause health problems as serious as cancer.

While it is not illegal to have a tattoo with red ink, most tattoo artists will recommend against them. Ultimately, however, this is your choice to make.

We hope you found this article interesting and informative.

Good luck, and happy inking!

Copyright © 2023 Tattify. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy & Cookie Disclaimer.

The information contained on Tattify is intended for informational and educational purposes only. None of the statements made on this website are intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease, infection or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before using tattoo/skincare products that may interfere with medications or known conditions. This article is provided with the understanding that it does not constitute medical or professional advice or services. If you are looking for help with your condition, please seek out a qualified medical practitioner.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.