Bravos to people who are able to smile and proudly flaunt their stretch marks to the world! But, we know that’s not an option for everyone. Tattoos are bold, passionate, and brimming with meanings — but can you tattoo over stretch marks?
Technically, the answer is yes. You’ll be able to get a tattoo over your stretch marks, but the success of the process will depend on a variety of factors. After all, no two stretch marks are the same. Before you decide to tattoo over your stretch marks, make sure to evaluate the stretch mark’s location, size, freshness, and even the qualification of your tattoo artist.
If you find your stretchmark to be suitable for a tattoo after reading this article — go for it! Rock a new tattoo, feel confidence surging through your veins, and become a superstar at whatever you do. Can you tattoo over stretch marks? Keep reading to learn about the various caveats of this question!
In this section, we’ll cover the various factors that determine whether your stretch mark can be tattooed over or not.
Red, reddish-brown, or purple stretch marks are a no-go for tattoos. When stretch marks are any of these colors, that means the stretch marks are new. These colorations will make it harder for your tattoo artist to blend your stretch marks into your desired tattoo. And, fresh stretch marks can be itchy and raised.
Fortunately, with time, the coloration on stretch marks will eventually turn towards your skin color. The itching will subside and the stretch marks will sink as well. You can expect stretch marks to fade enough to get a tattoo somewhere between 6 months and a year. If you want to see faster results, you can always use stretch mark ointments and creams. Here’s an excellent list if you’re interested.
Are more stretch marks likely to appear in the location of the stretch mark? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to steer clear of getting a tattoo there. That’s because tattoos are likely to get damaged if new stretch marks appear in that area for whatever reason.
Things like losing or gaining weight can create more stretch marks in certain parts of your body than others. Areas that store fat are the most prone to stretch marks, which includes areas like the upper arms, stomach, thighs, hips, and buttocks.
Of course, larger stretch marks will be harder to cover up. Wider and longer stretch marks will require bigger tattoos in order to fully mask them — meaning that they will also cost more time and money. Either that, or you will just have to accept that some of the stretch marks will stay visible at the parameter of your tattoo.
Duh, you want an experienced tattoo artist working on your tattoo — that’s nothing new. But, did you know that some tattoo artists actually specialize in stretch mark tattoos? If after a quick Google search, and you don’t find any specialists near you, you aren’t out of luck yet.
Go around to local tattoo studios and ask around. Chances are that there will be a tattoo artist that has had experience with stretch marks. After all, stretch marks are super common and affect over 70% of the population.
There are two main strategies that tattoo artists employ to cover up stretch marks.
The more common strategy would be the use of ink and colors to hide your stretch marks behind a tattoo. The tattoo would be like any other tattoo, except it’s done on a stretch mark canvas instead of regular skin. Tattoos artists will either blend your stretch marks into the tattoo or use colored ink to cover the stretch mark completely.
Alternatively, there’s another option available that’s a tattoo but also not a tattoo. Sounds bizarre, right? But, actually, it’s quite cool. This other process involves the use of skin-colored ink to tattoo over stretch marks. The end result would be the disappearance of stretch marks without a traditional tattoo acting as a mask. This option is suitable for people who want to cover their stretch marks but don’t necessarily want tattoos either.
Both options will effectively cover your stretch marks, provided that your stretch marks are suitable for tattoos in the first place.
Getting a tattoo on a fully healed stretch mark (when the coloration fades) will not hurt more than normal. Even though the stretch mark might be visible, the skin is no longer considered damaged like a cut or a wound.
On the other hand, you’ll definitely want to avoid getting a tattoo on a fresh stretch mark because it is raised and the body is working to heal it. Not only will you sabotage your body’s healing mechanism but the raised lines will make your skin extra sensitive. Getting a tattoo on a recent stretch mark will hurt more, and you’ll feel the itching a lot more intensely as the tattoo heals.
Unfortunately, stretch marks can form on pre-existing tattoos. This is not limited to tattoos that are used to cover up stretch marks, but all tattoos are liable to this issue. Except for your face, hands, and feet — if you have a tattoo anywhere else on your body — a stretch mark can form over that tattoo. Luckily, stretch marks won’t form randomly and without cause.
So, what causes narrow stripes to appear on your skin? Here are the most common causes of stretch marks:
- Pregnancy — Between 50 and 90 percent of women experience stretch marks during or after birth. The most common places they appear in are the upper thighs, stomach, and breasts.
- Puberty — The rapid growth that occurs during puberty can lead to stretch marks.
- Weight gain — When you gain a substantial amount of weight in a short time, your skin will stretch to accommodate the new weight.
- Weight loss — Excessive skin can stretch when you lose a substantial amount of weight in a short amount of time.
- Corticosteroid use — The collagen level in your skin decreases with prolonged corticosteroid use. Because collagen is important for your skin’s strength — a lack of collagen will increase the likelihood of stretch marks developing.
- Medical conditions — Certain conditions like Marfan syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome will cause stretch marks to develop.
While getting a tattoo over a stretch mark won’t create additional health risks, there is something that you need to be aware of. Stretch marks are technically a form of scar tissue, and because of this, they don’t hold ink like or as well as healthy skin does.
As a result, certain parts of your tattoo may end up less defined — creating a blurry or smeared effect on your tattoo. Thicker stretch marks may not even hold ink in the very first place, and may lead to patchiness or fading.
Don’t be discouraged though! Small or intermediate sized stretch marks will likely be tattooed with any issues whatsoever. Even if a problem does arise, a touchup with your tattoo artist will be enough to make your tattoo beautiful again.
Stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of, but there are options if you think you’ll be happier or more confident with them covered. Being confident makes all facets of your life that much better. From work to your love life, your life will glow radiantly if you believe in yourself. Be bold, be confident, and get a tattoo over your stretch marks if you want to. Take the leap and do whatever makes you smile!