A popular style of tattoo, blackwork can be beautiful when done correctly. This heavy black artwork usually depicts nature or geometrical patterns. Often, large sections of these tattoos are solid black, almost tribal looking.

In addition to this being a popular style of tattoo, blackwork is also done to cover up old or unwanted ink because, occasionally, a tattoo can’t be covered up with something new or altered in a way that makes the client happy. Blackwork is the fastest way to not have to look at a tattoo anymore, but then people are left with a giant black square or rectangle instead. This method of covering up a tattoo is done most often when people have ink, such as the name or picture of an ex, on their body that conjures painful memories.

Unfortunately, most people who choose to cover up old ink with blackwork find themselves seeking out laser tattoo removal, which would have been a simpler process if they hadn’t gotten the blackwork cover up. Regular blackwork will respond to medical lasers like other black ink tattoos—i.e., it’s likely to fade quickly because black ink responds best to these treatments.

Note, however, that a cover up is always more challenging to remove because it’s difficult for licensed medical technicians to evaluate the color, quality, and condition of the ink beneath the cover up. When the top black layer begins to fade, the technician will be able to analyze the situation.