How to Keep Your Tribal Tattoo Black

by Andy Jackson ; Updated September 28, 2017

Take care of your tattoos.

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The deep black of the ink, coupled with the design, makes tribal tattoos very striking. Over time, the tattoos fade and the blacks become more gray. This is because of several factors including sun exposure, how well the tattoo healed and the natural tendency for some inks to leach out of the skin. Taking proper care with your tattoos -- during the healing process, and long after -- can help you keep your tribal tattoos black longer.

Cover a brand new tattoo with a bandage for the first week. Wash the area, daily, with soap and water to prevent infection. An infection can cause the ink to leach out of your skin, creating holes and faded areas in the design.

Apply an antibiotic ointment immediately if the area becomes infected. Avoid alcohol or peroxide, both of which can bleach the ink or cause the ink to leach out of your skin. The faster you treat an infection, the more likely you can save the design.

Wear sunscreen over the tattoo after it heals, and avoid exposing the design to direct sunlight as much as possible. Sunlight will cause the ink to fade.

Get a touch-up from a professional tattoo artist. Taking precautions will slow down the process, but the ink will still fade over time. A professional tattoo artist can go over the tattoo and color in the faded areas.


  • Only go to a professional tattoo artist who uses sterile equipment and keeps complete sterilization records.

    A tattoo touch-up could cost as much as the original tattoo, depending on how much ink the tattoo artist needs to use.


  • Dave Malis; Tattoo Artist; Skincraft; Cincinnati, OH

Photo Credits

  • Getty Images/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

About the Author

Andy Jackson has been writing professionally since 2010. He is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jackson is also a lifestyle and weight management consultant whose work has appeared in various online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and health, and a Master of Science in sports studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.