Can I tattoo over stretch marks and scars? Here’s your ultimate guide!
Ever wondered what a tattoo over your stretch marks would look like?
Then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a hardcore tattoo lover or simply want to cover up a so-called “imperfection”, chances are you’ve thought about it at least once. In this article, we aim to answer all your questions. Would it hurt? Would it hide my scars?
Well, this is your chance to find out!
First Things first, Can You Get a Tattoo Over Scars and Stretch Marks?
Of course, you can. Stretch marks are scar tissue, and tattooing to cover up stretch marks has long been ‘a thing’. It is harder for the artist to work over stretch marks since the skin is damaged, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Does Tattooing Hurt a Lot?
The pain factor is the number one thing that keeps people from getting tattooed.
It’s important to note that everyone’s body is different, and as such, it’s impossible to tell where it will hurt and where it won’t. Pain is relative to the body area and the person being tattooed.
What for some might be searing pain, others might shrug off as a mere prick.
However, the areas most likely affected by stretch marks (belly, breasts, hips, thighs) are considered to be somewhat sensitive, and so yes, it’s possible that it will hurt.
Does it Hurt More When Tattooing over Stretch Marks?
Unfortunately, yes. Damaged skin is generally more sensitive, and as such, tattoos will hurt more on scars and marks.
This is why it’s recommended that you wait until your stretch marks have fully healed before tattooing.
Trying to cover up fresh, reddish marks is not advised. With fresh stretch marks, your body is working to heal the skin. The same goes for when you get a tattoo, so it’s not indicating that you blast your body by tattooing over fresh stretch marks.
New stretch marks are also much more challenging to work with, from the artist’s perspective.
Are Tattoos Effective in Covering up Stretch Marks?
When done right, yes, tattoo stretch mark camouflage can be an excellent way to conceal scars. But this will largely depend on the artist’s experience, so make sure you choose your artist with care.
Tattoos’ effectiveness in covering up scars depends on a few factors:
- the area;
- the length and size of the stretch marks;
- their color;
This is why its’ best to wait until your scars have faded to a silvery-white because they are easier to blend in.
The size and appearance of your marks are important. For example, are your stretch marks bumpy or raised? Then that will constitute a problem, and they will be harder to cover up.
Are You Likely to Get More Stretch Marks in that Area?
This question is vital when considering a tattoo, as post-tattoo stretch marks can seriously damage the appearance of the tattoo. Just like you wouldn’t stretch a canvas or painting, you wouldn’t stretch out a tattoo, either.
If you’re thinking about tattooing an area that’s likely to stretch again (e.g., tummy or breasts), then we recommend doing so once the possibility of another pregnancy is off the table, because otherwise, it would just be a wasted effort.
A skilled artist can repair stretch marks over tattoos, but they will cost you another round of pain (and very probably, money).
Will I Still be Able to See My Stretch Marks Through the Tattoo?
This depends on the size and type of tattoo, but in most cases, no, the visibility of your scars should be significantly faded after getting a tattoo. A good tattoo artist won’t try to hide your marks, but rather blend them into the tattoo structure.
Do tattoos also Cover Cellulite?
Cellulite often accompanies stretch marks, being so closely related to weight gain. Tattoos can’t normally hide cellulite because cellulite and the tattoo live on two different skin layers. They don’t affect one another as such.
You can, however, work with your artist to create a design that incorporates the cellulite in its’ design. But this approach also has its’ downside, in the case that you then eliminate the cellulite (through weight drop/fitness training), as this would seriously impact your tattoo.
Safety Woes 101
Tattooing over a skin imperfection seems a lot more dangerous than regular tattooing, but is it, really?
Is it safe to tattoo over a stretch mark or scar?
Yes, it’s 100% safe. Depending on the damage to the skin, your scars might have some trouble accepting the ink (a touch-up may be in order) or make tattooing more painful, but it’s safe.
Is it okay to tattoo over a mole?
No, it’s not. While not all moles are cancerous, they are much more sensitive. It’s recommended that you work around the mole when tattooing.
How about Birthmarks?
This will depend on the type of birthmark. If it’s raised, then generally, it’s not safe to tattoo over. If it’s flat (skin-level), then it should be okay, but we advise consulting with the artist beforehand.
Is Tattooing over Stretch Marks Expensive?
It’s practically impossible to estimate the price of your tattoo. This will depend on your chosen design, the artist, and the size of the scars/marks. If your scars are considerably large, then it stands to reason the tattoo should cost more, as it will take a greater effort on your artist’s part.
Tattooing over stretch marks tends to be more expensive than a regular tattoo. Again, this is because of the increased effort.
We suggest consulting with your chosen studio/artist for an exact price quotation.
Can I get Tattooed While Pregnant?
Technically, yes. The reason people generally stay away from tattoos during pregnancy is the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis through the needles used for tattooing. As you can imagine, the risk of exposing your unborn child to this is simply too high for most even to consider it. And so, most women wait until they’ve given birth to get a new tattoo.
However, in a trusted, reputable studio and with a high-end artist, the risk of contracting disease shouldn’t even be an issue. A quality artist will wear gloves, disinfect his tools and working area, and take all the necessary sanitary precautions.
Another reason not to get tattooed while pregnant is that your skin tends to be extra-sensitive then, and you might be exposing yourself to needless suffering.
So now that we’ve talked a bit about tattoos, what flies and what doesn’t and how you can use them to conceal stretch marks, let’s look at some tattoo alternatives for covering-up your marks.
Tattoo Alternatives for Covering-up your Stretch Marks
1. Scar Camouflage Tattoos (Medical Tattooing)
Scar camouflaging is a form of tattooing that falls under the medical/paramedical tattooing category. Unlike your typical tattoo, it involves inking the damaged area with a pigment that is as close as possible to your own skin-tone to effectively camouflage the scar.
Although scar camouflaging can not alter your scar’s texture, it can bring it a lot closer to what your skin would typically look like without the scar, and thus, make it less noticeable.
The pigments involved in scar camouflage also contain Titanium Dioxide, which makes the scar tissue more closely resemble healthy skin.
Also known as re-pigmentation or corrective tattooing, this cover-up method would be best suited if your scars are visible in most social situations where a tattoo might not be advisable.
Camouflaging is also an excellent alternative for those of you who do not generally appreciate tattoos and don’t want to go for a big, bombastic design.
Camouflaging is a low-key and straightforward way of covering up an imperfection, without all the commitments that a tattoo usually requires.
Does Scar Camouflage Work on Stretch Marks?
Yes, it does, since stretch marks are made up of scar tissue, like any other scar. However, bear in mind that your stretch marks will be camouflaged individually. The professional carrying out the procedure won’t treat the affected area as a whole, but rather take them one by one.
Who can Get Scar Camouflage?
Scar camouflaging isn’t merely scribbling some skin color over your scar. Since it’s a medical procedure, of sorts, you need to meet specific criteria to be eligible for scar camouflage:
- Your scar is at least a year old;
- Your scar or stretch mark has faded into a silvery/white streak. Scar camouflage cannot be done on red or pink fresh stretch marks, or on scars that are still changing colors;
- Your scar is flat/ skin-level.
There are also a few things that you need to bear in mind before going for a consultation:
- Scar camouflage takes time and may require several sessions before you see results;
- Camouflaged skin does not tan when exposed to sunlight or a tanning machine. Beware that if you get a tan, your scars/stretch marks will stand out more, as they will generally appear lighter than the rest of the skin;
- Don’t expect wonders. Scar camouflaging can help even out a damaged area, but the scar tissue won’t magically disappear afterward. If you expect it to, then you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.
Does Scar Camouflage Hurt?
We are still talking about a form of tattooing, so yes, there will be some pain, depending on the area and individual. However, a numbing lotion is usually applied beforehand.
How much does Scar Camouflage Cost?
This is heavily influenced by the size of the scar and area you are covering. Most places will quote you a custom price only after an initial consultation, where they’ve had a chance to examine your marks.
That being said, according to CostEvaluation.com, covering your scar can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from $300 to $1,000.
2. Dry Tattooing (Micro-Needling)
As the name suggests, dry tattooing involves the use of needles, without the actual use of any pigments, and is another excellent alternative if you don’t want to get a regular tattoo, for whatever reason.
With dry tattooing, you’re getting the same experience as when having a regular tattoo. Your skin is being pierced by a standard tattooing gun, but one that is not using any ink, and so, does not leave a trace.
This process stimulates the skin’s natural healing process.
Just like a regular tattoo is afterward given a healing period, a dry tattoo will activate the same mechanisms inside the skin. Your body will begin producing more collagen, and thus hydrating and firming up the skin.
Dry tattooing helps even out the skin’s natural pigment by stimulating the circulation of the blood in the respective area. After your skin’s been exposed to damage (the tattooing process), new, healthy tissue begins to grow.
Though it’s virtually unknown for some reason, dry tattooing can be an extremely efficient fading method.
What’s the Difference between Dry Tattooing and Regular Micro-needling?
We have discussed, in previous articles, the benefits of micro-needling for fading away stretch marks. While they both operate on the same principle, the main difference lies in the tool used.
With regular micro-needling, you use a derma-pen or derma-roller, which has more needles set far apart from one another, penetrating the skin.
A dry tattooing needle has fewer needles but set much closer together. This makes dry tattooing the more precise option and excellent for dealing with thin stretch marks.
Does Dry Tattooing Help Stretch Marks?
Yes, dry tattooing can significantly fade the appearance of your stretch marks. However, it’s important to remember that dry tattooing is not the same as scar removal or even scar camouflage. Dry tattooing won’t make your stretch marks disappear, but it will improve the overall appearance of the respective area.
How Soon can I Get Dry Tattooing Done on Stretch Marks?
Like with scar camouflage, it is not generally recommended that you try dry tattooing on fresh stretch marks, since the skin is still damaged and struggling to heal.
Stretch marks can be dry tattooed at three months old, at the very earliest, but require approval from a specialist, of course.
Does Dry Tattooing also Work on Old Stretch Marks?
Yes, dry tattooing can help restore scarred skin at any age, because the effects are the same as with fresher scars (that is, new blood flow and new tissue growth is stimulated).
How Long does It Take to See Results?
It takes about three weeks for new collagen to start growing. Generally, it’s recommended that you go through at least three sessions of dry tattooing spread out across a period of 3-4 months, after which you should be able to see a considerable improvement.
Does Dry Tattooing Hurt?
Not more than regular tattoos, no. Besides, a numbing cream or gel is usually applied to the affected area beforehand, which makes the process more relaxing than painful.
Overall, you have quite a few options, as you can see, to cover up stretch marks with tattoos (be they visible or invisible). If you’re worried by the pain, all we can say is the classic “pain is temporary, tattoos are forever”, and a few hours of pain is a small price to pay to regain self-confidence.
Tips for Tattooing Over Stretch Marks
So, if you like what you’ve read so far, we encourage you to try tattooing. However, there are a few steps to take before actually getting your body inked:
- Choose a reputable artist or studio
A tattoo is not a moment to be pinching pennies, and going for a cheap artist will end up costing you a lot more in the end. Do your research and find an artist whose portfolio you find pleasing. Also, make sure they are safe and take all the sanitary precautions. Look for any red flags on a preliminary visit.
Read up testimonials or ask friends for suggestions.
- Consult with a tattoo artist
Like with any tattoo, it’s recommended that you go and speak with the artist who will tattoo you beforehand. When getting a tattoo to hide scars, this is extra-important because the artist needs to get a general feel of the area and can offer valuable advice, as to what your tattoo should look like, how ‘doable’ it is, as well as estimate a price.
A visit with the artist is extra helpful, as they can help you choose a unique design, explicitly suited to your tastes and your skin.
Rarely, an artist might deem that the area in question can’t be tattooed, in which case, we recommend trying one of the other options laid out above, or alternatively, try one of the many removal methods out there.
- Choose a satisfying design
In your rush to cover up that stretch mark, you might be tempted to skip through this process. It’s important to remember, however, that a tattoo is permanent, and you will have to carry it throughout the rest of your life, most likely.
Make sure you choose a design that you’re truly happy with, perhaps something of unique significance to you, or at the very least, an image you find aesthetically pleasing.
Also, ask your artist’s advice on matters such as design or coloring. As experts, they can often see things that you usually would not.
- Follow aftercare instructions
Not caring for your tattoo correctly can lead to discoloration, infection, and various problems with the tattoo. A good artist will tell you, in detail, how to care for your tattoo, when to apply a cream, etc.
It’s vital to keep your tattoo covered in cream (your artist will recommend a product) for at least the next week, and that you wash it with great care. Make sure not to use a regular towel on a fresh tattoo (use kitchen towels to gently pat dry).
Also, stay away from pools, sun exposure, and tanning salons. Also, don’t take baths for the next few weeks, as your tattoo heals.
We think tattoos can be a great and beautiful (not to mention permanent) option for covering up stretch marks and hiding imperfections. That being said, we also believe that confidence should come from the inside and that stretch marks are not ugly per se. They’re simply different from the generally accepted beauty norm.
As we would a regular tattoo, we recommend getting one that covers a scar or stretch mark only if you truly desire it. Don’t get a concealing tattoo just for other people’s sake. You are beautiful, and the truth is, most people won’t care about your stretch marks as much as you think.
So, never take a permanent measure based on what someone else thinks of your body.