CAN YOU TATTOO OVER A SCAR?

Some scars are badass and come with a backstory that makes for great cocktail party fodder. However, most of us didn’t get stitches from going blow to blow with a croc in Costa Rica or attempting a 900 aerial at a local skatepark. Nope, for the most part they come from a bout of clumsiness or a surgery we’d prefer to forget. Whichever the case, if Polysporin didn’t do the trick and you’re left with an unsightly blemish on your otherwise perfect epidermis then you’re wondering if a tattoo is a viable option to cover it up. There’s no clear cut answer to this query as every case is different, but we can provide you with the intel you need to determine your next course of action.

4 Things You Need to Know If You’re Considering a Tattoo to Cover Up a Scar

1. Wait Until Well After It Has Healed

It goes without saying that you need to wait until a scar has fully healed before any professional tattooist will touch it, but that’s not the main point here.

If you recently sustained an injury that has resulted in a scar, it may not be as aesthetically impactful as you think. Over time, collagen breaks down at the site of your original wound and the blood supply is reduced. With each passing month, the scar becomes smoother, softer, and paler as long as you afford it an optimal skin care regime and minimize exposure to the sun. In about 18  months to two years, you will have a much better idea of what you scar will look like. At that point you it won’t change much more unless you attempt topical applications such as scar creams. However, bleaching agents and the like can cause more harm than good, so proceed with caution. Long story short, wait for the adequate passage of time before making the decision to use a tattoo to cover up a scar, especially if that’s your primary motivation for getting inked in the first place.

2. Scars That Protrude

A scar which protrudes from the skin to form a fleshy growth is much more challenging to tattoo over, and may be met with resistance from tattoo artists. Keloids are especially problematic. Keloids are raised scars that grows larger and wider than the original injury, and are often discolored. Given the dramatic visible impact, someone with a keloid scar may be passionate about getting a tattoo to cover it, but as a person who is predisposed to developing keloids, a tattoo may send the body into defense mode and worsen the scar, resulting in the exact opposite of its intent.

3. Tattoo Acceptance Rate

While many scars can be tattooed over with great success, there may be some challenges. In some instances, ink placement over scar tissue can appear less sharp/crisp. In other cases, scar tissue can become so tight or contracted that it can may reject ink particles in some areas, leaving ink-less gaps in the tattoo design. And in some examples, the scar tissue will attach itself to the myofascial layer or even surrounding nerves and blood vessels, further impacting the potential for success. In the end, you may end up requiring longer and/or more follow up sessions that originally estimated, which can increase the overall cost of getting the tattoo. Make sure you have some buffer in your budget to account for this.

4. A Tattoo That Works With Your Scar (Instead of Covering it Up)

While many scars can be tattooed over with great success, there may be some challenges. In some instances, ink placement over scar tissue can appear less sharp/crisp. In other cases, scar tissue can become so tight or contracted that it can may reject ink particles in some areas, leaving ink-less gaps in the tattoo design. And in some examples, the scar tissue will attach itself to the myofascial layer or even surrounding nerves and blood vessels, further impacting the potential for success. In the end, you may end up requiring longer and/or more follow up sessions that originally estimated, which can increase the overall cost of getting the tattoo. Make sure you have some buffer in your budget to account for this.

While many scars can be tattooed over with great success, there may be some challenges. In some instances, ink placement over scar tissue can appear less sharp/crisp. In other cases, scar tissue can become so tight or contracted that it can may reject ink particles in some areas, leaving ink-less gaps in the tattoo design. And in some examples, the scar tissue will attach itself to the myofascial layer or even surrounding nerves and blood vessels, further impacting the potential for success. In the end, you may end up requiring longer and/or more follow up sessions that originally estimated, which can increase the overall cost of getting the tattoo. Make sure you have some buffer in your budget to account for this.