Tattoo by Swasthik Iyengar @gunga_ma
What is a stretch mark?
First things first, we should establish what a stretch mark is and why they occur. A stretch mark is essentially a tear that happens in the deeper layers of your skin, when growing fast in puberty, pregnancy or even through strenuous exercise like weight training. The more supportive structures in your skin get torn, resulting in the scar-like stretch mark you see on the surface. Natural weight fluctuation happens throughout our lives, and this is nothing to be concerned or ashamed about. Pretty much everyone you know will have some stretch marks; male, female or anybody in between!
Can you get a tattoo over a stretch mark?
We’re not here to tell anyone what to do with their bodies, and this post is not intended to make you feel like you need to cover your stretch marks at all. But if you are planning on getting a new tattoo on an area that may have some stretch marks, you may be wondering how that could impact your new tattoo.
The short answer is yes, you can definitely get a tattoo over stretch marks. Maybe you would like to blend them into the rest of your skin a little better, cover them entirely, or they just so happen to appear in a spot you’ve always wanted to get tattooed. Regardless of where or why, it should really be no issue for a legitimate artist.
Tattoo by Justin West @sailors_rehab
Does a tattoo over stretch marks hurt?
As the skin is a little different in an area where there are stretch marks, the tattoo could potentially hurt a bit more; areas with newer stretch marks are more sensitive. Older stretch marks probably won’t make too much of a difference, much like old scar tissue, but be aware that the sensation might still hurt a little more. For this reason, as well as to make the tattooing process easier for your artist, it’s usually best to wait until the marks have settled in a little, and not to try to tattoo over them while they are very new and pronounced.
As with any tattoo, the process will be made a lot easier for your artist if you come in with well hydrated skin. Using a moisturiser consistently in the weeks before your appointment will make you skin way easier to tattoo, especially when texture like scars and stretch marks come into play. Our daily moisturiser is great for this purpose, but don't use it immediately before getting tattooed as it may prevent the stencil from staying on properly!
Can I conceal my stretch marks with a tattoo?
If you did want to camouflage your stretch marks, this is something cosmetic tattooists are starting to specialise in. Using inks matched to your skin colour, cosmetic/paramedical tattooists are developing new techniques to cover up scars or stretch marks, by matching them to you and camouflaging them this way. It’s much like matching a foundation shade!
What happens if I get more stretch marks in an area that is tattooed?
If more stretch marks appear, there is the potential for this to warp or damage the tattoo in that area. It may be barely noticeable, but a larger mark could affect the appearance significantly. So if you are planning on getting pregnant any time soon, or perhaps looking to gain some muscle, it could be worth holding off on that new tattoo until your body has settled again. Of course, you may not always get stretch marks, and they may not be major enough to actually impact your tattoo, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.