Can you tattoo over scar tissue?

Can you tattoo scar tissue? .. sure you can!

There are so many reasons why people may want to tattoo scar tissue, each reason as individual as that person themselves. Replacing permanent marks on my body with more permanent marks on my body was not something I woke up with one morning & just decided. It came after years of consideration, making inquiries, being turned down, changing my mind or not being in a position to pay for it.

This won’t be the answer for everyone in a similar position to me either & it is important to establish why it is you’re looking to tattoo over a scar … is it because you see your scars as something unsightly which you would be looking to improve or distract from? Or as a last resort to make them disappear?

Before you take such a drastic, permanent step – explore what else may be available!

You might be able to still see the scar underneath a tattoo, especially if it’s quite extensive scarring & has left the skin much less smooth than before. There are other options that some people recommend to improve appearance, for instance silicone-based treatments, micro-dermabrasion (essentially scraping the skin with the aim of lessening the appearance of scars) & even plastic surgery.

I looked into these things & during some inquiries I felt they were trying to convince me to invest in something without anything other than their word that this would help .. after careful research, further consultations & impartial expert advice the consensus was that this would be incredibly painful, lengthy, expensive & above all very unlikely to improve the appearance very much, if at all.

There is a lot to be said for acceptance .. I accepted that I needed to do something about it. Some people may feel that in that case I haven’t actually accepted it but we are all different with different needs, hence the desire for different outcomes. Do what is right for you, I will do what is right for me.

Back to the general question of, “Can you tattoo scar tissue?”

Yes you can. It will not get rid of the scar, tattoos can disguise & distract, reducing self-consciousness boosting confidence & self-esteem. The damaged skin will still be visible in the right light & to those who look closely.

People’s scars and general skin condition are as unique as how they ended up with scarring. This will impact on the process, the options available and overall outcomes. Scar tissue is different to ordinary skin, it is tougher (or weaker depending on age of the scar) & much less porous which will mean the ink will take differently. Lines may be less defined, shading and colour may require multiple sessions for a satisfactory result. This does not mean the end result can’t look amazing, just that there are additional things to consider when thinking about the style of art work & making the most of the limitations in the canvas.

Finding the right artist for you

I imagine that most tattoo artists know that you can tattoo scar tissue .. whether they are they willing to take this on may be a different thing!

There is some brilliant work out there, so many styles & unique touches people put to their work. I know what I like & I thought I knew who I wanted to do it so I went on down & got a simple helix piercing, checked the place out & gauged the general atmosphere. All was how I wanted, I felt comfortable & confident about approaching them about tattooing over my old scars. I got back in touch via email & went down to discuss it further. I had some ideas but understanding that my damaged skin would undoubtedly impact on the style best suited to this cover up I was wide open to suggestions. I hoped that with his experience we could design something that would work while still be his work.

However my expectations were way out from what actually happened & I left feeling like something so personal & intimate to me had been tossed on the floor, stepped on & used to mop up his muddy footprints.

Tattoo scar tissue cannot be that unusual an inquiry, so come on ..don’t be a dick! It’s probably a really big deal to the person concerned & a point blank refusal with no willingness to even consider what could work or offering further advice really hit me where it hurt. The shift in attitude of the receptionist from being fairly positive to the tattooist’s dismissive “I’m not touching that” attitude added that extra kick.

I was surprised that I felt the way I did, but on reflection it was more disappointment as I really admired his artwork & anger at having got it so wrong & been treated like that. It is also a shame that someone so talented came across as having such an ego. I would have understood if the reason for this response was that the scars would mean his work was not done justice to but he offered no explanation whatsoever. Again …don’t be a dick!

For every knock back there are opportunities opened that otherwise wouldn’t have been. I have found a kind, helpful, friendly & genuine tattooist who upon first seeing what she had to work with responded with (something like), “.. yep, no problem at all, what we can do is x, y, z ..” brought pictures up on her phone of previous cover ups & seemed totally unphased. I booked in with her that day feeling like she ‘got it’, we would work with what I wanted, adding her own twist .. oh & not be a dick!

Beautiful & inspiring scar cover up work

There is a lot out there on the subject of tattoos & scar tissue which is brilliant! Self-harm is not an uncommon experience, nor is scarring after illness, accident or operation. Scars don’t have to feel like a dirty secret, they can be reclaimed & if tattooing is your thing then take a look at some of the things achievable.

Here are some links to pages that inspired and helped me while thinking about what I wanted:

12 Coolest Tattoos Covering Scars

21 Amazing Tattoos That Have Done An Incredible Job Covering Up Scars

Can you tattoo over scars?

34 Beautiful Tattoos People Got To Cover Their Self-Harm Scars

Tattoos Over Scars: Reclaiming Your Body

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