Should You Get a Blacked Out Arm Tattoo? Pros and Cons

Should You Get a Blacked Out Arm Tattoo

Tattoos are a form of self-expression and personal identity. With their rising popularity, blackout tattoos have emerged as an eye-catching way to transform your arms into bold works of art. But is completely blacking out your arms with solid black ink right for you?

Getting sleeves, half sleeves, or any large blacked-out pieces tattooed on your arms is a big commitment. The extreme pain levels, high cost, and permanence require serious consideration of the pros and cons.

This article will dive into everything you need to know before getting blackout tattoos on your arms. We’ll cover what they mean, their pros and cons, pain levels, costs, and aftercare so you can decide if you should black out your sleeves.

What Does a Blacked Out Arm Tattoo Mean?

Solid black arm tattoos have become popular for several reasons:

  • They can represent courage, rebellion, and personal transformation or growth. The pain and permanence convey a commitment to these ideals.
  • For people with many random tattoos or poor-quality ink, a blackout sleeve creates a bold, cohesive look by blacking out the existing work.
  • It makes an artistic statement, using textured blackwork, negative space, and patterns instead of color. The contrast makes the art more striking.

In short, blackout sleeves allow you to completely transform your arms with a powerful reclamation of your skin as a canvas.

Pros of Getting Your Arms Fully Blacked Out

Getting both arms filled in with solid black work has several advantages:

Creates a Cohesive Look

If you have many old, random tattoos, blacking out the arms can transform chaotic space into a deliberate, planned sleeve. It camouflages unwanted tattoos.

Makes a Bold Artistic Statement

With blackout sleeves, the focus becomes texture, patterns, negative space, and flow rather than color. It’s a striking way to have your arms become “wearable art”.

Allows Creativity Within Blackwork

While a colorful sleeve incorporates many hues, blackout sleeves push creativity into different directions. The artist can play with skin breaks, negative space, bold patterns, and blackwork shading techniques.

Very Masculine, Eye-Catching Style

Solid black sleeves convey an intimidating boldness. For men seeking a hyper-masculine look, blackout sleeves deliver. They attract attention.

Easy to Build Upon Over Time

You don’t have to blackout your whole arm at once. Many people start with half sleeves and then slowly build up to a full blackout sleeve over time by adding more at each session.

Cons of Getting Your Arms Fully Blacked Out

However, getting both arms fully blacked out also comes with some downsides to consider:

  • Extremely Painful on Certain Areas – The inner bicep and inner elbow are excruciating. The armpit and elbow ditch also bring intense pain.
  • Long Healing Time – A full blackout sleeve takes 3-6 weeks to fully heal. You must carefully follow aftercare during this time.
  • Fading More Noticeable – With so much solid black ink, any fading or blowouts will be far more visible over time compared to color tattoos.
  • Removal Difficult – Laser tattoo removal struggles to break up dense, saturated black ink. Completely removing a blackout sleeve would take many treatments.
  • Limits Future Options – Once you black out an area, you can’t easily get a colorful sleeve or other designs in that same area later on.
  • Permanent Commitment – There’s no going back after blacking out all or most of your arms. It’s a lifelong commitment.

As you can see, there are great reasons to get blackout sleeves but also some key drawbacks to seriously mull over before moving forward.

Just How Bad Is the Pain of Getting Your Arms Blacked Out?

One major consideration for getting your arms fully blacked out is coping with the pain, especially in the most sensitive inner arm areas:

  • Inner Elbow Ditch – Considered the single most painful spot for tattoos. The tender skin and nerve endings make it agonizing.
  • Inner Bicep – Also extremely sensitive. The soft skin intensifies the pain compared to meatier areas.
  • Elbow – Many nerves pass through here, making it a high-pain zone. The elbow ditch is particularly excruciating.
  • Inner Forearm – More sensitive than the outer forearm due to less muscle and fatty tissue protecting nerves.

For comparison, the outer bicep and outer forearms are far less painful for tattoos. These areas have more muscle and fat covering nerves and bone, cushioning the sensation.

Expect manageable pain on the bicep and forearm that spikes into severe pain around the inner elbow and armpit. Be prepared to grit your teeth!

What’s the Cost for Completely Blacked Out Sleeves?

You’ll be investing a significant amount of money to black out both arms. Full blackout sleeves cost:

  • $$$ – Most reputable blackwork artists charge between $150 – $200 per hour. sessions last 4-6 hours.
  • Full sleeve – Expect to pay $1000 – $2000 or more for the entire arm to be blacked out in multiple sessions.
  • Half sleeve – Around $500 – $1000+ depending on the length and if it includes part of the inner arm.
  • Forearm or bicep – Budget at least $500 to black out just the inner or outer forearm and $600+ for the bicep.

Choose an artist carefully based on their blackwork portfolio and consultations. Pricey but worth it for high-quality blackout ink.

Caring for Your Blacked Out Sleeves During Healing

Blackout tattoos require diligent aftercare as they heal:

  • Gently wash the tattoos 3 times per day with antibacterial soap and pat dry with a clean towel. Don’t soak in water for 2-3 weeks.
  • Apply a thin layer of ointment like Aquaphor to the tattoos after washing. Keep the area lightly moisturized.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothing around the sleeves to allow the skin to get airflow.
  • Avoid sun exposure, tanning, and saunas for 3-4 weeks during healing. The sun can fade black ink.
  • Gently moisturize daily with fragrance-free lotion after healing to prevent drying out.

With proper aftercare, your blackout sleeves will heal beautifully. Take care of them well in those first critical weeks!

Should You Get Your Arms Completely Blacked Out?

Blackout sleeve tattoos make a bold statement but also require serious pain tolerance, proper aftercare, and long-term commitment. If you connect with the personal meaning behind blacking out your arms, do ample research to find a talented artist, mentally prep for the pain, and budget for high costs, you can achieve stunning blackout sleeves as wearable canvases.

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