What Happens To Tattoos After You Gain Weight? Can Tattoos Be Distorted From Weight Gain?

Written by: Claudia
Updated:

Weight gain can happen unexpectedly or through planning. It can occur in the form of muscle, in the form of fat, or due to a medical change such as pregnancy. It’s normal to be concerned about whether the ink you spent hundreds of dollars on will be impacted by this weight gain. Can gaining weight distort a tattoo?

We dive in with everything you need to know about weight gain and tattoos.

What Type of Weight Have You Gained?

The most important question which impacts whether your tattoo will be distorted by your weight gain is to assess the type of weight gain you’ve had. Is it muscle building? Is it for a medical reason? Or are you unexpectedly gaining weight where you did not have any, prior?

This information will not only determine how fast you’re gaining the weight, which will influence how impacted your tattoo will be, but will also help you navigate whether the distortion to your tattoo can be prevented or avoided completely.

Our skin, which is our body’s largest organ, is made to stretch and adjust to our bodies gaining weight. It is natural, therefore, for tattoos to also be influenced by this stretching.

Placement

It’s very important to consider that placement makes a big difference in whether or not your tattoo experiences distortion from weight gain. If your weight gain is centralized to a certain region of your body and your tattoo is located there, obviously, you can expect it to be influenced by these skin changes. If your weight gain is located in your abdomen region but your tattoo is on your shoulder, you’ve got nothing to panic about.

Sudden Weight Gain

Sudden weight gain insinuates something happening quickly and without warning. But if you’re experiencing gradual weight gain over time, you can usually expect very little impact on your tattoo.

If your weight gain is abrupt and unexpected or due to a medical reason such as medication you are taking to manage an illness, this stretching of your skin is often paired with stretch marks. Rapid weight gain may cause the appearance of stretch marks over or across your tattoo if the fat that you are getting is located in the same region as your tattoo.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy weight gain is unpredictable, and despite anyone telling you otherwise, there’s no real way to prevent this weight gain while also maintaining your health and the health of your unborn baby.

Pregnancy weight is normally centralized to the abdomen and stomach area around the second trimester of pregnancy, so if you don’t have tattoos in that region, you normally don’t need to worry. Other people have experienced weight gain everywhere on their bodies during this period of change, so it’s really difficult to anticipate whether your tattoos will be impacted.

We wrote all about the potential distortion of tattoos during pregnancy in our article, Stomach Tattoos After Pregnancy: Will They Be Ruined? Tattoos Stretching In Pregnancy.

Muscle Gain

Muscle weight gain is usually gradual and slow to build, and while it often defines the shape of your body, it doesn’t usually distort your tattoos in the process. If muscle weight was built in an irresponsible manner such as using steroids to rapidly increase the muscle in a short period of time, then you may have to deal with stretch marks over or around your tattoos. Of course, this depends on where your tattoos are located and where you are focusing on building the muscle.

Preventative Measures

While you may not be able to completely stop your tattoos from being impacted by weight gain, you may be able to navigate weight gain with tattoos a little easier by keeping some factors in mind.

Timing

While not all weight gain can be planned, some are if you have intentions to get pregnant in the future or hope to enter a body-building competition in a few months, for example. It may be wise to plan your tattoo after your body has gone through the weight gain (or potential weight loss) from this process.

Tactical Placement

Much like timing, if you can expect weight or muscle growth in a certain region of your body, it may be smart to plan out your tattoo placement around this weight gain. For example, avoid stomach or abdomen tattoos if you intend to get pregnant in the near future, or stick to your chest if you plan to build your biceps at the gym.

Of course, placement only becomes a preventative measure if you can anticipate the weight gain, and not if it’s due to sudden or unexpected circumstances.

Use Oils and Hydrate

If you notice or are planning on your skin stretching due to weight gain, it’s helpful to keep your skin hydrated so it maintains its elasticity. In addition, many oils such as Bio-Oil are known to help increase skin collagen and combat stretch marks.

Our Final Thoughts

Whether your weight gain is intentional or unexpected, placement and the speed at which your skin stretches will both play a significant role in whether or not your tattoo is distorted or impacted. Be sure to keep your skin hydrated as you gain weight, and you can always consider a touch-up or blastover of your tattoo if you’re unhappy with it.

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