In some ways, scars are like tattoos. They are permanent body marks from a certain time and place in your life.
In some cases, scars, such as tattoos, can carry positive memories. But in other cases, they don’t. This is why some people wear their scars with pride, while others choose to hide them. Either choice is perfectly acceptable and is entirely up to you.
If you are having surgery on a tattooed area on your body, the procedure may disfigure the tattoo. However, surgeons can make their incisions so that the tattoo actually hide the future scar.
Although it is possible to tattoo on most scars, it is more difficult than tattooing on unhealed skin. It is therefore important to hire an experienced tattoo artist who is comfortable with tattooing on your scar or incorporating the scar into the tattoo design.
If you are thinking about covering your scar with a tattoo, it may be helpful to learn more about the process. This will help you make the best decisions for your body.
A person may choose to cover a scar or stretch mark with a tattoo for a number of reasons.
People mainly choose to cover scars because they are not happy with the way they look. Almost everyone has scars, but some people are less comfortable with their appearance than others. Some people are just more comfortable hiding their scars under tattoos.
Other people get scars after surviving an accident or a major health problem that requires surgery, such as breast cancer. In these cases, getting a tattoo on scars can feel like taking back your own body and yourself.
For example, a number of women who have had mastectomies say they feel more comfortable covering their scars with beautiful, personalized tattoos.
Everyone’s body is different, so everyone’s pain tolerance level is different as well. This is why some people feel a lot of discomfort when getting a tattoo and others don’t.
However, as a general rule, scar tissue is usually more painful to tattoo than unhealed skin. And in some cases, it can be extremely painful.
Experts say scar pain is common, especially in people whose scars have caused nerve damage or compression, such as amputation scars.
Certain types of scars tend to be more painful, such as:
- Keloid scars
- atrophic scars
- hypertrophic scars
- burn scars
Deep or wide scars will also be more painful to tattoo. Tattooing on light scars is easier and a little less painful, as they are smaller scars that mostly lie flat on the skin and stay within the boundaries of the old wound.
There are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when considering covering your scar with a tattoo.
Your tattoo could cause more scarring
This is primarily a problem for people who have or are prone to keloid scars.
Keloid scars are usually thick and red with a raised, rounded, and irregular shape. Sometimes scar tissue builds up long after the initial injury or extends beyond the boundaries of the wound.
If you have or are prone to keloid scarring, it is more likely that getting a tattoo to cover your scar will make the scar worse. If you want to cover a newly formed keloid scar, wait at least a year until it is completely healed.
For deeper or larger scars, you may have to wait much longer, like 3 or 5 years. Tattooing a completely healed keloid scar reduces the risk of the scar getting worse.
The color of your tattoo might bleed
The scars harden your skin and make the surface irregular. Scarred skin is less able to absorb ink than unhealed skin. Ink also tends to deposit more unevenly in scar tissue than in unhealed skin.
As a result, it is possible for the ink from the tattoo covering your scar to migrate, causing your tattoo to appear smeared or blurry.
Choosing a tattoo artist who is experienced in scar recovery can help reduce the chances of your scar getting worse.
Your tattoo may look irregular
Some scars, such as stretch marks and acne scars, are considered atrophic. This means that they indent the skin. These scars are also often soft to the touch and lighter in tone.
It is generally safe to tattoo on atrophic scars once they have healed. But because atrophic scars are often discolored and don’t match your skin tone, it can be difficult to find a pattern that can cover those scars smoothly.
An experienced tattoo artist can help you find the design that best suits your scar. Or, you might want to consider a medical grade tattoo that matches your skin tone better.
Here are several common types of scars and what they will likely look like when tattooed:
Scars from amputation or removal of the skin
When the skin is removed and stretched, it is often smooth. Scars that cover areas where the skin or part of the body has been removed can usually be tattooed easily, provided that area of ââthe body is not too sensitive. Tattooing on these areas can be very painful.
As mentioned earlier, keloid scars can be particularly difficult to tattoo. Because they are elevated and might scare more after a tattoo, some people choose to cover only part of a keloid scar.
They can also tattoo around these scars by incorporating them into the tattoo. This can help hide their appearance while preventing further scarring.
Scars from burns can be tender when tattooed and are usually irregular in appearance. This can make them difficult to tattoo. A good design with varied lines and colors can go a long way by hiding them as much as possible.
Scars on the stomach
Stretch marks and other scars on the abdomen, such as those caused by a cesarean section or surgery, can be covered with tattoos.
Just keep in mind that as your belly grows or shrinks, so will your tattoo. If you are planning to get pregnant or lose a lot of weight, you may want to keep your tattoo on your abdomen until you have given birth or lost weight.
Surgical scars are usually precise incisions that leave minimal scarring. These scars are best worked into the edges of a tattoo to minimize their appearance.
But you can also tattoo right on it, as is often the case with mastectomy scars, as long as they are healed first.
The first step in getting a tattoo to cover a scar is to find a reputable tattoo artist with experience in covering scars. Call tattoo shops in your area and ask if they have any artists who have tattooed on scars before.
Find several tattoo artists who have experience covering scars and ask to take a look at their work. Consider an artist’s level of experience, past tattoo work, and the cleanliness of their store.
Tattoos that cover scars, like all tattoos, come with risks, such as infections and rashes. A rash occurs when the ink penetrates too deep into the skin causing the tattoo to appear blurry.
The more experienced your tattoo artist and the cleaner the store, the less likely you are to have complications.
Decide on your design and present it to the tattoo artist you decide to work with. They will probably also have ideas.
You can also search social media for examples of scar tattoos like yours for inspiration.
Many people choose to cover their scars with tattoos. It can be a good way to hide the appearance of an uncomfortable scar or to mark your victory over an illness or injury.
If you are planning to get a tattoo to cover a scar, there are a few things that you need to consider first. You will need to think about what type of scar you have, what tattoo design could best cover your scar, and which artist you should get tattooed.
If you’ve thought about these things, you’re more likely to get the best possible results.