Whether you’re experiencing weight loss from your own personal goals, or whether it’s due to a medical reason, you may be wondering how these body changes will impact the look of your tattoos. While all body transformations, like pregnancy, for example, will impact how your tattoo will look, it’s never so extreme that you need to panic.
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How Can Weight Loss Affect Tattoos?
When you get a tattoo on a body part that may be larger or expanded due to excessive weight, that skin is also stretched and expanded in order to hold the extra weight. When you lose this weight, sometimes your skin will, in elastic-type format, shrink back to a smaller size without issue or concern. In other situations, your skin may have been stretched for such a long period of time that you have stretch marks, extra skin (that may appear like flaps hanging off your body), or scarring from the rapid weight loss.
Thus, weight loss may impact any tattoos you had on your skin prior to losing the weight. This could cause tattoos to have some issues, such as:
- Slightly distorted design as the skin moves to a new placement
- The tattoo may be covered in stretch marks or scarring from the rapid loss of weight
- The tattoo could be flappy, wrinkly, or saggy if there is access skin in a region that hangs down
- The size may change, appearing smaller than it originally was
- The placement may not be where you originally intended it to be
- The definition of the tattoo may change
If you plan on losing weight, you may want to delay your tattoo session until after your weight is lost. You should also consider:
- Where you will want the tattoo to go, as some regions of the body do not experience rapid weight gain or loss;
- How stretch marks in this region may impact the design;
- To speak to your tattoo artist about your transformation intentions so they can give you the proper advice for your situation.
How to Minimize Tattoo Distortion After Weight Loss
Tattoo artist Jaz Paulino says, "To minimize tattoo distortion, in any case honestly, would be to moisturize. Moisturizing the skin is so important in general, but especially if your skin is experiencing some elasticity in either direction. To support the skin being stretched, whether it be weight loss or gain, pregnancy, etc., just be sure to moisturize your body with what works best for you."
Hydration of the skin also starts from inside, so be sure to drink plenty of water as you go through your body transformation, in order to help maintain the elasticity of your skin.
In addition, losing weight slowly rather than rapidly will help your skin maintain its flexibility and elasticity as well and will prevent stretch marks and sagging skin.
How Can Weight Gain Affect Tattoos?
Weight gain can affect tattoos in the same manner that weight loss impacts tattoos but at a less extreme level. All changes in body shape can cause some distortion to your design. Celebrity tattoo artist Dillon Forte says that “Weight change has virtually no effect on the tattoo unless the weight gain or loss is like 100 pounds. With drastic weight gain, it needs to be enough to cause stretch marks, which in turn will impact your tattoo."
Paulino adds, “I've personally only seen this example on expecting mothers who have their bellies tattooed. Once they are close to delivering, a round tattooed belly will appear warped, or enlarged until she gives birth, then it goes right back into place (usually)."
How to Minimize Tattoo Distortion After Weight Gain
Weight gain is often unavoidable and is usually never intended, but if you are beginning to notice changes in your body, there are a few things you should consider so that your tattoos are not impacted.
- Drink lots of water during these body changes.
- Moisturize frequently to prevent stretch marks.
- If possible, avoid rapid weight gain.
- Speak to a medical professional if you have concerns about sudden unexplainable weight gain.
My Tattoo Has Changed, What Should I Do?
If your body changes have caused your tattoo to change, don’t panic! You are not the first person and definitely won’t be the last to have an ink design impacted by weight gain or loss. Here are a few options you can consider:
- Get a touch up on your original tattoo
- Get a cover-up or blast over
- Get laser tattoo removal for the old tattoo
- Love your tattoos as they are!
Our Final Thoughts
Weight loss or weight gain should not be a deterrent to getting tattoos, and it should not become a concern if you already have them. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and changes to this organ are often unavoidable. There are solutions to tattoo distortions that are available to you, and so long as the weight changes are not rapid, your tattoo should not be heavily impacted.