Don’t Just Cover Up, DEScoverup! – by Cee Jay Jones
The best way to help your cover up tattoo reach its full potential is to understand what’s going on with the landscape of the area you’re about to renovate. In order to do this, several things about the tattoo need to be assessed. The better you understand the specifics of what you’re about to cover up, the more successful your final result will be.
First of all, it’s important to recognize one thing about covering up a tattoo. That tattoo will always be there. You will never fully eliminate any tattoo that you’re cover up. Consequently, when I refer to elimination of an old tattoo, it’s actually a process of incorporating the existing tattoo into the new one. The best way to approach a cover up is to understand its existence needs to be part of enhancing the new tattoo rather than working against it. In a weird way, you have to view the tattoo you’re about to cover as a useful friend rather than a villain you’re trying to obliterate. How well you incorporate an old tattoo into the cover up has everything to do with making it disappear. It’s important to develop a strategy on how you’re going to make a cover up successful.
In many ways, covering a difficult tattoo involves the prowess of utilizing optical illusions. This can be done in a variety of ways; for instance using techniques such as dynamic lighting, multiple textures, complementary colors, line distraction and variable line weight. All of these techniques are foundations for successful cover ups. Also, how the color properties in the existing tattoo are used can either enhance or detract from the ultimate goal. Is there an opportunity for complementary colors or unique color combinations to distract the eye from what lies beneath the new tattoo and how can you utilize this to enhance the new design? These are all very important questions to ask when going in for the kill on an unwanted tattoo. The wrong way to approach a cover up is as if it’s a “seek and destroy” mission.
Another important aspect of being able to properly utilize your existing landscape into a cover up tattoo is to be aware of what lies beneath. Are you about to tattoo a cover up of a cover up? Is the current tattoo scarred? How many times has the offending tattoo been colored? How dark is the tattoo to be covered? This is where things can get complicated. When you have a client that has something with heavy saturation that they want covered, it severely limits your available options. There are two problems here. The first issue is that skin that’s been supersaturated with pigment is already overloaded. The pigment particles are trapped within the dermis and there simply may not be much available room for more. This presents a variety of problems for the cover up artist. What you have here is a cumulative effect. You are now going to have to contend with mixing new pigment into preexisting pigment which can lead to potential disaster.
Secondly, if the dermis is already supersaturated with pigment, it may not be able to hold any more which leads to two different situations; hypertrophic scarring or minimal retention of new pigments. At this point, your best option may have to be removal of some of the pigment in order to get the best results.
One of the most popular forms of pigment removal is using a laser, but there are several drawbacks to this method and it’s costly. Until recently, it was the best form of pigment removal, but a new product has hit the market which I feel has enormous potential with less pain, less potential risk and less of a wait period than lasers. It’s called Tatt2away, which is a system of removing pigment. The unique system developed by Tatt2away is superior to the laser process in the respect that it actually removes pigments, externally purging pigment form the skin. In contrast when using laser as a removal option, it internally breaks apart pigments that are filtered through your bloodstream and lymphatic systems. In the case of cover ups, less isn’t more. Less is less and that’s a good thing. Taking away even a faction of pigment out of the dermis leaves room for new pigment. Tatt2away helps to ensure better color retention for the new tattoo with fewer treatments and less cost than laser removal.
The value and versatility of this innovative new system is a powerful tool in winning at the cover up game. The beauty of using the Tatt2away system is that pigments can safely and effectively be used in a process that doesn’t discriminate color, unlike lasers which have better results with certain colors than others. Selective pigment removal previous to the cover up process is an exceptionally powerful weapon for the cover up tattooist.
In my next entry, I will discuss the value in selective pigment elimination to allow more freedom in approaching a cover up project.