Stretch marks happen, and no matter your size, you could have them on absolutely any region of your body. Sometimes, you may wish to conceal them, or maybe you’re just hoping to tattoo a region that happens to have a few stretch marks. Whatever the reason for wanting to tattoo over stretch marks, you may be asking: can it even be done?
Table of Contents (clickable)
- 1 Tattooing Over Stretch Marks: Is It Possible?
- 2 Can Tattoos Make Large Stretch Marks Look Nicer?
- 3 Will Getting Tattooed Over a Stretch Mark Be More Painful?
- 4 The Risks of Tattooing Over Stretch Marks
- 5 Our Final Thoughts
Tattooing Over Stretch Marks: Is It Possible?
Tattooing over stretch marks is not as straightforward as other parts of your skin. Like scars, no two stretch marks are alike, and like most sensitive locations, some artists may hesitate to tattoo your stretch marks.
If you do find an artist who is willing to work with or over them, the skin will not take up the ink in the same manner that healthier skin does. As such, it could be painful as the artist overworks the area, or it could require numerous touch ups over time.
There are various factors that impact how well or how difficult stretch marks will be to tattoo. Here are some questions you should ask yourself about your stretch marks, prior to getting tattooed.
Are My Stretch Marks Fully Healed?
Younger stretch marks are infinitely more sensitive as well as extremely difficult to tattoo. Newer stretch marks are skin that is still going through a healing process; many of them could disappear over time, or they could change color, texture, and depth. It’s important to wait until your stretch marks are “fully matured” prior to getting them tattooed.
Are the Stretch Marks Raised?
Stretch marks that are raised rather than creating indents in the skin are very difficult to tattoo. For some artists, they won’t even attempt it. People who are prone to keloid scarring are often susceptible to raised, red stretch marks. A raised stretch mark could also simply indicate that the stretch mark is still young and you need to give it time to settle down.
What Color Are the Stretch Marks?
Aged stretch marks generally take on a light or whiter tone from your regular skin color, and these are usually easier to tattoo. Red or purple stretch marks are a challenge to conceal, and take green toned ink to fully hide them. Unless you’re willing to commit to a green tattoo, you may put yourself through a lot of pain tattooing red and purple stretch marks for no effective reason.
Dominique Bossavy, a permanent makeup artist, says, “Once there is no color, no melanin, and no future production of melanin in the area, we have a clean slate to layer the color back onto the damaged skin.”
How Long and Wide Are Your Stretch Marks?
Did you know that horizontal stretch marks have the tightest skin surrounding them, making them the easiest to conceal through a tattoo? The width and length of your stretch marks will make a big impact on just how successful your tattoo will be, as well as what you are trying to achieve with the tattoo.
If you are intending to hide the stretch marks through your tattoo, this is much easier to do on less intense or large stretch marks. Large stretch marks will require larger tattoos to cover the region, and this will take more time, more money, and more tolerance as the sensitivity is much higher than healthy skin.
Is This an Area That Experiences Rapid Weight Gain and Loss?
If you’re planning on getting a tattoo in an area that is prone to excessive weight gain and loss, and subsequently more likely to have more stretch marks appear over time, this must be considered when getting your tattoo. A perfect example of this would be a woman getting a tattoo to cover pregnancy stretch marks and then getting pregnant again.
Even significant muscle gain can cause stretch marks, so if you have the intent to hit the gym and step up your weights, perhaps you should put off getting that tattoo until your body mass is at a neutral and comfortable point.
Can Tattoos Make Large Stretch Marks Look Nicer?
In our opinion, stretch marks are the natural tattoos that our body graces us with, over time. They can happen to adolescents going through puberty, women going through motherhood, or men hitting the gym and bettering themselves. They’re not meant to be something that you are ashamed of or feel you need to hide.
That being said, if you wish to conceal your stretch marks with a tattoo, that is a personal choice. But whether the work will be nicer or make your stretch marks more prominent will depend on:
- The skill of the artist
- The age of your stretch marks
- The color of your stretch marks
- Whether your stretch marks are raised or indented
- How large your stretch marks are
- Where they are located and whether they could experience rapid growth again
One other avenue of stretch mark tattooing that has emerged in the last few years is a cosmetic procedure that is done to make the stretch marks disappear through tattooing. This is done using a unique color blend that is matched to the client’s healthy skin color, and then the lines are carefully tattooed in multiple, layered sessions. This is called the Nano Color Infusion method, and it can cost thousands of dollars to complete.
If your stretch marks are older, lighter in color, and in one general area, and if you have the money to spend, this may be the tattooing procedure you should consider to hide your stretch marks.
Will Getting Tattooed Over a Stretch Mark Be More Painful?
Like all tattoos over unhealthy skin, the experience of tattooing over stretch marks is going to be significantly more painful. Generally, the newer the stretch marks are, the more they will hurt. Older stretch marks have established scar tissue in the region which has less pain receptors. The majority of the pain comes from the artist having to work and overwork the area to make sure the tattoo ink stays put.
Tattooing over stretch marks could feel like:
- A burning sensation
- A stinging sensation
- A sharp, scratching sensation
- Or a dull pain that is just irritating
The pain also depends on what needles are being used, as the square tipped needles used for shading or for coloring tattoos cause the most pain for stretch mark tattooing.
Since stretch marks are notoriously difficult to tattoo already, we don’t recommend using a numbing cream to dull the pain, unless your tattoo artist gives you permission to use it.
Learn more about the most painful places to get a tattoo
The Risks of Tattooing Over Stretch Marks
There are a few additional risks with stretch mark tattoos that are worth considering.
- The ink may not hold, and your tattoo could feather or blowout, which can only be fixed through complete coverups.
- You are more likely to need frequent touch ups as the ink ages quicker on stretch marks.
- You may end up highlighting your stretch marks rather than hiding them, if that was your intent, as the tattoo may heal differently than when you finished your tattoo session.
- If this is a part of your body that experiences frequent weight gain and loss, your tattoo may stretch.
- If your artist is not experienced with tattooing stretch marks, you increase the risk of problems or infection.
- This skin is even more susceptible to allergic reactions due to ink pigments or poor aftercare products.
Our Final Thoughts
If you are seriously considering getting a tattoo over your stretch marks, discuss this intent with your artist or your favorite shop. Since all stretch marks are different and will react to tattooing differently, they will likely ask to see your stretch marks and will provide you with the best suggestions for your particular needs.