Can you get tattooed over scars?

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Scars are something we all have, in one way or another. But what happens when you want to get a tattoo over a scar? We're here to give you some advice when it comes to covering those speed bumps!

Tattoo by Justin West (@sailors_rehab)

Tattoo by Justin West (@sailors_rehab)


Can you get tattooed over scars?

The short answer is yes, it is usually completely doable for an experienced artist.

But in order to even think about getting a tattoo over a scar, you need to make sure your scars are completely healed, which could take up to a year for deeper scars. It also depends on the type of scar; some scars hold ink better than others. Some people have found scars like stretch marks don’t hold ink as well. There are lots of things that need to be considered, but the best place to go for advice is to your chosen artist.

Contact your artist for a consultation

The next step is to contact an artist you want to get tattooed by, and it may be necessary to go for a consultation. The artist needs to know where your scar is, and if they can see it in person properly it can help them decide if they are the right fit for the job. Tattoos that have more depth and texture, like some surgical scars, can be trickier to tattoo over and cover up

It may not be possible to completely cover up and conceal a scar, but oftentimes that’s not the goal anyway. Many people get tattoos that incorporate their scars as a part of the design, or work that draws attention away from the scar without entirely erasing it. If it helps you to feel more comfortable, it’s all good!


Tattoo by Justin West (@sailors_rehab)


Is it more painful to be tattooed over scars?

For some people, depending on the depth and size of the scar, it could make the tattooing process more painful. 

Scar tissue can become very aggravated during tattooing, and fresher scars are often more painful than others. But even if a scar begins to look red and raised during tattooing and immediately after, this should calm down during the day or so after your tattoo. 


Tattoo by Justin West (@sailors_rehab)


Be realistic with your expectations

Although many artists have created beautiful designs around and over scars, it doesn’t hurt to set your expectations a little lower for these pieces. The process is not as simple as tattooing over ‘normal’ skin, and outcomes can be a little different. 

Certain types of scars may not hold the ink as well, the pain may be more than you expected, so the process could take a little longer. Scar tissue could also make blowouts and other healing issues more likely. These aren’t guaranteed to happen, just risks you should be aware of. It’s not unusual to need a few sessions or a touch up for tattoos of this kind, so keep that in mind when booking in. 

Don’t feel as if you need to cover up any scars or blemishes on your body. There is nothing wrong with imperfections, we all have them. But if you do make the decision to get a tattoo over a scarred area, just make sure you go to a competent and experienced artist for the job.