Home » Can You Tattoo Over Scar Tissue? (How Long To Wait)

Can You Tattoo Over Scar Tissue? (How Long To Wait)

Tattoos over scars is an idea that comes to mind when trying to figure out a way to get rid scars you want to hide. But can you tattoo over scars? If so, what effects will it have on the scars? Will it really cover the scar up in a way that will make you happy?

To those wondering if a tattoo can cover a scar, the simple answer is yes you can tattoo over scar tissue. Now, if it will truly achieve the result you want depends on the scar, the tattoo artist, and the design of the tattoo.

Understanding Scars

To understand tattooing on scars you need to first understand what a scar is, and why it is so different from your normal skin.

Scars tissue is made by the bodies biological process to heal its skin and other tissue. The body forms new collagen fibers to repair the damaged area resulting in scar tissue. Collagen is the primary protein of your dermis (the middle layer of your skin), but his new collagen will have a different texture and tissue composition than that of the rest of your skin.

Scar tissue is dense making the tattoo ink hold differently than it would in your normal skin. This means lines may be less defined, and colors and shading might need a second session to get the ink how you want.

Rarely the irritated scar tissue can develop a keloid from being tattooed on. A keloid is a scar that spreads beyond the boundary of the original injury and develops into a growth.

Also, If the scar is severe enough to have caused nerve damage, it might be hypersensitive to the pain caused by a tattoo.

Can You Tattoo Over Scars?

Now that you know the risk of tattooing over scars, you need to know how to go about tattooing over a scar. It’s important to know how a scar will hold ink to be able to design a tattoo that will work with, and not against, your scars.

If done wrong, a tattoo over scars can backfire and make the scars even more noticeable than they were before. You need to take your time and plan out the tattoo very meticulously.

It’s very important that you find a tattoo artist that has a lot of experience tattooing over scars. You do this by calling around and asking to see a portfolio of tattoos that have been done to cover scars. It’s very easy to have blown out lines when tattooing over scar tissue, so you want to try really hard to find a very professional/very experienced tattoo artist for this tattoo.

The best kind of tattoo to cover scars with is with a design that draws the attention away from the scars rather than covers them up. Be aware that tattooing over scars will not change the texture of the skin, and if you look hard enough the scar will still be visible. So you want a tattoo that hides the scar well, and maybe even incorporate it into the design itself.

When Can You Tattoo Over Scars?

How soon is too soon to tattoo over scars? You want to wait until the scar is completely healed before you tattoo over it, and the scars need to be white scars not red. Scars can take up to 18 months to fully heal; However, it’s recommended that you consult a dermatologist to make sure the scar is completely healed before following through on a tattoo.

Tattoos on Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are formed a little different than your normal scars. When your skin is stretched for an extended period of time the dermis can break down leaving stretch marks behind.

Essentially it creates the same issues you face when tattooing over a normal scar, though. You need to take the same steps you would for a scar and apply them to stretch marks; waiting till they’re fully healed, find an experienced tattoo artist, and pick a design that will work to best hide the stretch marks. It’s best to pick a design that will go around the stretch mark, incorporating it into the design itself.

Why Do You Want To Cover Your Scars?

It’s very important to know why you want to cover your scars with tattoos. The tattoo won’t make your scars disappear; and if you are just getting the tattoo to trying and hide your scars from the eyes of the world there are other medical procedures available to you such as topical scar creams, skin grafts, skin needlings, and LED light treatments that can be very effective.

Tattoos are permanent so you want to make sure a tattoo is something that will make you happy and is not just a means to cover up the scars, unless you’ve exhausted all other options available to you. Make sure you pick an experienced talented tattoo artist (pay extra for one if you have to), pick a design that will help disguise/hide your scar not cover it, and wait till your scar or stretch marks have fully healed. It’s really important you do your research and pick a quality artist or your scars can become more noticeable and leave you in a worse position than when you started.

​Photo Credit: Shannon Archuleta (license)

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!