Inking Over Scars, Stretch Marks and Other Imperfections

Don’t Go Changin. Baby You Were Born This Way.You Look Mahhhvelous. You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You. But you still want to explore some tattoo work in areas that aren’t your most pristine, whether it’s minor or major scarring, those awesome skin variations we know as “stretch marks,” or anything else less than baby booty perfect.

Lots of people ask me “can I get a tattoo over my [fill in the blank]?” Of course you can!

But the real question under that question is How well does scarred or stretched skin tattoo? It’s an easy answer, but not what everyone wants to hear initially. The answer is It Depends. The same way that tattooing is unique to each person’s general health, hydration, ability to heal, etc., tattooing over scarred skin is unique to that particular scar.

Scars, nature’s way of healing us, are by definition rough, rigid and less porous than “regular” skin. Have you noticed how hair follicles and sweat glands won’t usually reappear in a scar? That’s because even though scar tissue is the same collagen protein as the skin it replaces, it’s fibrous, tight, interwoven and denser than your unscarred skin. Scarred skin usually holds the ink differently than surrounding skin, so lines may be less defined, shading and color may require extra sessions. Tattooing doesn’t change the texture of a scar, or eliminate a scar …

BUT good tattooing can completely mask scarring, making it almost unnoticeable. And the killer use of the elements of a great tattoo — color, shape, design, and positioning — can work with irregular skin to add up to a brilliant piece of art on your body.

The art and technique of tattooing have progressed to the point that today, reconstructive tattooing is a  option for people recovering from mastectomies and other radical surgeries. And with decorative tattoos on people of all walks off life now more than ever before, the cosmetic use of ink incorporating scarred skin surfaces is an important option for people wanting  to address

I am not a dermatologist or plastic surgeon but I have worked on a lot of skin. A lot. So what I can tell you  is based on my observations and experiences as a tattoo artist. And I’m gonna repeat something that can’t be said enough. Working closely with an experienced, professional artist is the only way to go, no matter where on your body or what type of art you are having done. The best recipe for success? Think + Talk + Trust + Talent.  Apply to your relationship with your artist. Add color (or black and gray). Enjoy.