Using tattoos to cover scars has been around for a while. Tattooing over scars in order to camouflage the scars is a popular way to cover up scars. Whether you want to cover scars from surgery, an injury, or from self-harm, there are tattoo sizes, shapes, and styles for everyone.
In some cases, scars, like tattoos, carry positive memories. But in other cases, they don’t. That’s why some people wear their scars with pride, while others choose to hide them. Either choice is perfectly okay and totally up to you.
Is Tattooing Over Scars Possible
While it’s possible to tattoo over scars it has its challenges. You might end up with a really good result, but it is important to know that scarred skin behaves differently from normal skin. This is why your tattoo might have a different appearance in the areas where your scars are.
Many tattoo artists do this kind of work, however, it’s important to find the right tattoo artist. One who is experienced and who is comfortable tattooing over your scar or building the scar into the tattoo design. It’s best to check with them and discuss openly your needs beforehand so that they understand your skin and your expectations.
There are now some tattoo artists who specialize in tattoos that camouflage scars.
If you’ve been thinking about covering your scar with a tattoo, it can be helpful to learn more about the process. This will help you make the best decisions for you.
Are Tattoos to Cover Scars a Good Idea
If you love the look of tattoos you probably thought about getting a tattoo to cover up your scars.
The main reason people do this is that they aren’t satisfied with the appearance of their scars. Some people are simply more comfortable hiding their scars under tattoos.
Other people have scarring after having survived an accident or a major health issue requiring surgery, like breast cancer. In these cases, getting a tattoo over scars can feel like reclaiming one’s body and self.
Covering scars can make one feel more confident. And if you cover them with beautiful, personalized tattoos, it can be even more transformative.
Things to consider when tattooing over scars
Is it more painful to tattoo over scars
Even though everyone’s level of pain tolerance is different, scars can become more sensitive than normal skin. Unless there’s been nerve damage and the tissue has lost all feeling.
Pain around the area will also be different depending on how recent the scar is. You can expect an intense sensation with fresh scars – so much so that some artists will refuse to tattoo them.
You also have to keep in mind that follow-ups are absolutely necessary when tattooing scarred skin.
Scar tissue gets extremely aggravated and raised during the tattooing process, and sometimes it can look shocking, but it’s totally normal and usually, the skin calms down after a couple of hours.
Some types of scars tend to be more painful, such as:
- atrophic scars
- hypertrophic scars
- burn scars
- keloid scars
Before you decide to use tattoos to cover scars you need to consider several things.
Is the scar fully healed?
It is best to wait until your scars have fully settled and healed before deciding to get a tattoo. This process can take between several weeks to several months or even years, depending on the severity of the initial injury and the type of scar that has formed.
Scars will always be harder to work with when they’re still relatively fresh. Your body is still trying to heal the damaged area, and your skin will be inflamed, irritated, and sensitive until the healing is complete.
There are a few products you can try to use on your scar to help speed up the healing process.
Is the scar raised?
Raised scars are generally harder to work with when compared to scars that are on the same level as the surrounding skin. If your scar is relatively new you need to wait for it to fully heal before tattooing over it.
If your scars remain raised you can also try one of the procedures to improve the look of your scar before deciding on a tattoo.
What color is the scar?
A red-looking scar will be harder to color over and camouflage with tattoo ink compared to an older, faded, and pale-looking scar. As scars get older, they tend to change color from dark and red, to light and silver/off-white.
How deep is the scar?
If your scars are on the surface or only go a couple of layers of skin deep it’s not difficult to tattoo over them. However, scars that go particularly deep into the skin could cause bigger problems.
Toughened scar tissue could prevent the ink from being placed exactly where it needs to go, and this can lead to blurring and distortion within parts of the tattoo.
It’s best to follow the guidance of an experienced tattoo artist, as they would have dealt with similar situations before. Sometimes it’s worth changing the initial design idea if it means you will get better results.
Does your skin usually form keloid scars?
Keloids are a form of scar which protrude from the skin upwards and form what are called fleshy growths. If you have a history of developing keloids, getting new ink over an affected area is much riskier, and the tattoo has a higher probability of not turning out as intended.
Tattoo to cover scars might appear irregular
Because you are tattooing an area of skin that is not normal, your tattoo might appear uneven or with a different color tone. Some scars, like stretch marks and acne scars, are atrophic scars, which means they indent the skin. These scars are often soft to the touch and have a lighter tone.
It’s usually safe to tattoo over atrophic scars once they’re healed. But because atrophic scars are often discolored and don’t match your skin tone, it can be challenging to find a design that can cover these scars smoothly. In the sun the scars are shiny and this can show despite having a tattoo over them.
Your tattoo artist can create a design that works best for your scar. Or, you might want to consider a tattoo where the artist uses colors that match your skin tone to tattoo over your scars and minimize their appearance.
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