How to Use Tattoo Ink to Cover Up Vitiligo Patches

Updated April 17, 2017

Summer months make vitiligo unbearable. The skin disease with unknown origin turns skin pigment whiter over time until patches form in exposed areas. Any area of the body may be affected with vitiligo, though usually the condition appears on the legs, arms and face. In addition to skin grafting, therapeutic tattoos treat the discolouration caused by vitiligo. Tattoo ink covers with new pigments but does not cure the condition. Even after you get a tattoo, if you have vitiligo you still need to wear protective clothing and sunblock, and remain in the shade.

Take medication and consult a doctor about the status of your vitiligo. Cases where vitiligo has not stopped or continues to spread may not be the best for receiving permanent tattoos.

Press a sheet of tracing paper against your skin where a vitiligo patch exists. Trace the outline of the affected areas. A friend may need to help you in this process for hard-to-reach areas.

Place another sheet of tracing paper on top of the vitiligo design and create a new tattoo. Use dark and bright ink colours to fill in light areas of the skin with larger symbols and bases to cover the bigger patches. Look at a tattoo gallery for designs.

Bring your design to a reputable tattoo parlour and consult an artist for ink suggestions. Tattoo artists frequently cover unwanted pigmentation and may have designs of their own that can cover severely spotted areas.

Choose colourful ink to bring attention away from the skin beneath. Tattoo artists have a variety of inks. Pick red, blue and green inks with dark pigments to cover severely white areas.

Set up a tattoo session with your artist. Make sure that the environment, including needles and equipment, is sterilised. One square inch of skin should take 30 minutes to tattoo, so plan for up to a few hours depending on the size of your tattoo and amount of colour. You may need to plan repeated sessions to fill in all of the tattoo's ink.

Choose an ink colour closest to your skin tone. Consult your doctor on the types of ink available for micropigmentation. In general, a doctor recommends a darker colour to start as tattoos fade over time.

Visit a micropigmentation doctor who specialises in skin-coloured tattoos for the treatment of vitiligo. The treatment is primarily for those with vitiligo around the lips or smaller areas.

Plan to update the ink often. Over time, your tattoo ink fades due to sun damage and skin life. If you have vitiligo you must protect your skin from sun exposure. You can use thick clothing, sunscreen and stay in the shade when you spend long amounts of time outdoors.


White skin loses colour from tattoos faster than normal skin, so you will need to update your tattoo ink often. If your vitiligo is still spreading, you may make the situation worse or require more ink.

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About the Author

Karen Adams has been writing professionally since 2003. At the University of Florida, she worked on the school's newspaper while earning her Bachelor of Arts in English. She contributes to many different publications regularly. Currently she lives and works in Florida and is a member of Florida University's Fiction Collective and "Tea Magazine."