While UV-responsive tattoos are still fairly rare (many people don’t want to bother with ink that’s almost never going to be seen), they can offer a unique way to accentuate a design or to get a tattoo in a highly visible area without having to worry about the potential social consequences it may carry. Here are a few creative and cool tattoos as seen under black light.
Here’s one that all Flossers should appreciate—a brain with the word “Think." Better yet, part of the brain lights up when put under a black light. Excellent tattoo, Flickr user slackferno.
Plenty of people have tattoos showing their skeletal structure, but the look becomes far cooler when it only shows up under a black light. This great piece was done for Jason R. by Richie Streate of The Dungeon Inc. in Canon City, CO.
3. The Dark Mark
When the Dark Mark lights up, you know things are about to get serious. DeviantArt user Ravensfool had this great piece done by the same Richie of The Dungeon Inc. that did the skeleton arm above.
Black light tattoos offer a unique opportunity to make your design more interactive. In this case, Kenneth Bryan of Intimate Body Art Studios made Yoda poised for battle in regular light, but with a little UV, his lightsaber is ready to strike down the Dark Side.
Similarly, UV tattoo ink can add an extra layer of detail to a tattoo so it can really pop under any type of light. For example, Flickr user graysong's friend Tom's Cthulhu tattoo looks great under regular light, but under a black light, accents on the monster and the moon make the design particularly intimidating.
6. Book Worm
Knuckle tattoos can make it harder for you to find a job, but with tattoos that only show up under a black light, your dedication to literature can be permanently inked on your fists without risking your future job prospects. Flickr user astrobri, whose art was done by Ron at Adrenaline, took full advantage of this fact.
Running out of space on your sleeve? Don’t worry, you can always get in a few more fun drawings with UV ink—like this moogle on Flickr user Bio Hally.
Talk about more than meets the eye: This great tattoo on DeviantArt user ShinigamisPet features an outline only visible under UV light and the word “Nerd” in cybertronix, the language of the Transformers.
9. Buddy Christ
No word on who sports Buddy Christ from Dogma, but James of Nashville Ink certainly did a great job rendering him in UV-responsive ink.
Most UV tattoos contain only one shade that glows, but this cupcake by DeviantArt user Inkedromeo18 looks particularly tasty under the black light because it has so many fun colors.
With all the puzzle-solving in Zelda games, it’s only fitting that DeviantArt user DarkAngelNeo’s Triforce tattoo is only visible under a black light.
12. Another Zelda
Here’s another fantastic Zelda UV tattoo, this one done by DeviantArt user Klanklang’s brother.
13. Space Invaders
Prefer your video game tattoos to be even more old school? Then you'll love Flickr user Alan Swan's Space Invader.
14. Geek Madness
Here’s a great geek black light tattoo sported by Flickr user ThumperWabbt’s son. It features the Dharma Initiative logo from the TV show Lost with the number 42 from the Hitchhiker’s Guide. The two go together particularly well when you consider all the mysteries and oddities of the two series.
15. Apple Pirate
Speaking of awesome geek ink, any Apple fan should be able to appreciate the Apple and crossbones done by artist Art Hullender and worn by Flickr user TheMadapple.
16. The Cheshire Cat
The magic of the Cheshire Cat is that he can disappear and reappear at will, often leaving nothing but his charming eyes and smile behind. DeviantArt user RefculNatas pays appropriate homage to the creature with this tattoo that only reveals the body of the cat under black light.
17. A Goldfish
It doesn’t matter if DeviantArt user starlitefairy24 is under regular light or a black light because her cute little fish, done by her boyfriend, will always be visible. In fact, since she got this tattoo, she also had the eye touched up with clear UV ink.
It’s hard to capture the magic of Avatar’s Pandora in tattoo form, but DeviantArt user danktat comes close with this tattoo of Neytiri complete with UV-reactive glowing accents on her face.
Since glow in the dark tattoo ink is particularly uncommon, potentially dangerous and occasionally itchy, UV tattoos are currently the closest we can get to making our own bodies glow like those of the Na’vi. Would you guys ever get a black light tattoo and if so, what would you get?