What Happens To Tattoos After Gaining Muscle? Do Tattoos Stretch?

Written by: Pete

Being inked and being fit is a pair that goes hand-in-hand. With more and more people choosing to get tattooed as a way to show off the hard work they put into their bodies, you may be wondering what happens to tattoos after gaining muscles. As the body undergoes changes in muscle size and shape, the tattooed area can be impacted.

How Tattoos Take to the Skin - Do Tattoos Stretch With Muscle Gain?

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and it’s one that will adapt to our body changes over time, whether we gain or lose weight or gain or lose muscle. The process of tattooing involves puncturing the top layer of skin to deposit ink into the dermis, where it becomes a permanent part of your skin. As this organ changes, this permanent piece of art also changes with it.

When it comes to tattoos and muscle gain, there’s no definitive answer as to whether tattoos will stretch or distort as the muscles grow. Skin is vastly different for each person, so it varies according to each person’s individual situation. Some people have noted that their tattoos became distorted or stretched due to gaining muscle, while others do not notice any changes at all. 

How much or how little a tattoo will distort depends on the size and placement of the tattoo, the amount of muscle gained, and the individual’s elasticity of their skin. In addition, the quality of the tattoo will also impact it’s distortion level. 

Do Tattoos Stretch After Gaining Muscle?

Will You Have to Stop Training When You Get a Tattoo?

Yes, it is recommended that you stop training when you get a new tattoo, but not because it will distort your tattoo. It’s important to take precautions during the healing process to avoid damaging or infecting the tattoo.

Intense exercise should be avoided for the first few weeks after getting a tattoo to ensure it heals properly. In addition, it’s important to keep the tattoo clean and avoid exposing the fresh ink to bacteria which is prevalent in gyms. Sweat should also be kept off of a raw tattoo.

Gyms are a potential source of infection for new ink. There are many opportunities for germs and bacteria to be transferred to the skin. If you absolutely must work out after getting a new tattoo, you need to cover it with a sterile bandage to protect it. 

For more information, check out the articles, Can I Work Out With A New Tattoo? - Tattoo Safety Guide and Will Sweating With A New Tattoo Affect How It Heals? - Your Sweat Safety Guide.

Which Body Parts Stretch the Most?

Everybody’s body is different, but there are certain areas that are more prone to stretching and distortion as a result of muscle gain. 

Stomach and Abdomen Area

This is the area where you first notice changes once you’ve begun working out or training. It’s also a very common area for tattoos and can be significantly impacted by muscle gain. As the muscles grow, the skin can stretch causing potential distortion or fading of your tattoo. Skin in this region is thin and may handle rapid muscle gain differently than other parts of the body.

Back and Shoulders

Bodybuilders and dedicated gym-goers often like to bulk up their arms and shoulders region, but this area can also cause tattoo distortion. If you intend to spend a lot of time focusing on muscle growth in this area, you should be aware of how those changes will also impact your tattoo.

What Areas of the Body Are Less Prone to Skin Stretching?

There are a few areas of the body that you should consider for your next tattoo if you plan to gain some muscle in the future.

Thighs and Calves

Even though these parts of our body can significantly bulk up from muscle gaining and bodybuilding, they are also regions of the body where the skin is thicker and more resilient against change. They are less prone to stretching and distortion because the skin will expand with the growth of the muscle differently. 


The skin on the forearms is relatively thick and has great elasticity, so it can accommodate muscle growth without significant stretching or distortion of your tattoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

But, What if Your Tattoo Starts Changing With Muscle Growth?

If you notice your tattoo start to change as you begin to gain muscles, you can minimize the distortion and preserve the tattoo’s original appearance with these tips:

  • Consult your tattoo artist - They can provide you with professional advice on how to best care for your tattoo during these body changes.
  • Avoid rapid muscle gain - Rapid muscle gain causes the greatest distortion of the skin.
  • Use moisturizer regularly - This helps maintain the elasticity and overall health of your skin. Check out our article, Best Tattoo Cream - Our Top Choices Reviewed.

Will Tattoos Change if You Lose Muscle?

Like muscle growth, muscle loss can also change the appearance of your tattoo. As muscles shrink, the skin around the tattoo may become looser and could cause the tattoo to sag, stretch, or distort. The extent of how muscle loss will impact your tattoo depends on the amount of muscle loss, the location, and the elasticity of your skin.

Our Final Thoughts

Getting a tattoo means that this ink becomes a permanent part of our body’s largest organ, and, as such, it can be impacted by the different health and fitness choices we make. If you’re ever concerned about how muscle gain may impact your tattoo, you can always speak to your tattoo artist about your workout intentions and they may provide you with suggestions for maintaining the original look of your tattoo.

Copyright © 2023 Tattify. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy & Cookie Disclaimer.

The information contained on Tattify is intended for informational and educational purposes only. None of the statements made on this website are intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease, infection or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before using tattoo/skincare products that may interfere with medications or known conditions. This article is provided with the understanding that it does not constitute medical or professional advice or services. If you are looking for help with your condition, please seek out a qualified medical practitioner.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.