Can You Tattoo Over Moles? Is It Safe?

Written by: Claudia
Updated:

A mole is a common type of skin growth that you may have been born with or could have appeared over time. They are often light or dark brown in color and raised from the skin. Whether you’ve had them since childhood or have developed one that you wish to hide, you may be wondering if it’s safe to tattoo over moles. Before you jump into your artist’s chair, have a read of this article.

Related:

Why Your Tattoo Artist Won’t Tattoo Over Your Mole

Mayo Clinic states that while most moles are rather harmless, in rare cases, moles can become cancerous. In fact, monitoring the growth of your moles, their changes in shape, or the appearance of other pigmented patches is essential to monitoring skin cancer issues.

Moles differ from freckles or birthmarks in a few ways. They have:

  • Color and texture - they are often raised from the skin and brown in color, they may even have hair growing from them
  • Shape - they are generally oval or round in shape, and they do not cluster together like freckles
  • Size - moles are usually the size of the end of a pencil eraser, but moles which have been present since birth can sometimes be significantly larger

Very few tattoo artists will give the go-ahead to tattoo over your mole for a variety of reasons. If you do find someone who doesn’t consider tattooing over your moles to be an issue, you should question their integrity.

Here are some of the reasons that tattooing over a mole will be refused:

Masking a Health Indicator

The primary reason an artist will refuse to tattoo over a mole is because monitoring your moles is essential to your skin health. If you tattoo over a mole, you hide it in a way that doesn’t allow you to spot changes in shape, size, or color.

A mole that changes is a mole that is at risk for being a bigger issue such as melanoma. These skin concerns can easily be treated if they’re caught early, so hindering the success of this would put you and your skin at risk.

Legal Restrictions

Some states or some countries will actually have legal restrictions against tattoo artists tattooing over moles.

Getting the Color Right

Moles are a cluster of skin cells and, as such, don’t hold ink the way regular skin does. In most conditions, tattooing over a mole will cause over-pigmentation to the region, the potential for your tattoo artist to cause tattoo blowout, or simply a distortion in the intended design.

Excessive Bleeding

Moles are often more sensitive regions on your skin, and they can be prone to excessive bleeding that could complicate the tattoo process or lead to other issues such as infection.

What Can You Do if You Still Want a Tattoo?

Perhaps your moles are exactly where you want to get tattooed, or maybe you’re just dead-set on hiding your moles; what can you do if you still want to get a tattoo?

Incorporate the Mole Into the Tattoo

The easiest and most effective solution to the problem of placement and moles is to incorporate your moles into the design of your tattoo. Instead of tattooing over them and putting your health at risk, choose a design that uses your moles as a part of your piece.

tattoo with moles

Can you see the moles in this constellation design? (Source)

Speak to Your Doctor or Dermatologist

The safest way to ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk by tattooing your larger moles is to get clearance from a medical professional. They will likely test your mole to ensure it’s benign and give you a note to provide to your tattoo artist.

Surgical Removal

Most moles that are benign don’t need to be removed, but if you do wish to proceed with surgical removal of your moles, it’s a pretty standard and routine procedure done by dermatologists. Of course, you need to be aware that a scar will likely remain in the place of your mole, and tattooing over scars requires careful research and attention. Check out our article, (internal link to: can you tattoo over scars?)

Our Final Thoughts

Your skin health and your long term health is far more important than hiding your moles, and so it’s best to consider alternatives to tattooing over yours. You should speak to a medical professional before you proceed, and consider ways to incorporate your moles into your tattoo design.

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