Tattoo FAQ 09: Can you tattoo over a scar?

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Tattoo FAQ 09: Can you tattoo over a scar?

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Original question from our visitor:
I was thinking about getting a tattoo to cover up some scars of mine, but a friend told me that you can’t get a tattoo on a scar. Is that true?

Answer:
No, its definitely not true that you can’t tattoo over a scar in most cases. HOWEVER…Here are some things to consider:

It will depend on what kind of scar you have, keloid, hypertrophic, contracture? Do you scar easily? Is your family prone to scarring easily? This is usually hereditary, and causes alot of grief for people, especially those who are genetically predispositioned to scarring because this makes them less than good candidates for tattooing.

Also, ink sometimes has trouble of staying put in/on a scar and may require a few sessions until the correct coverage is achieved. A good artist knows this already and will fit that into the price. If they dont mention it, dont sit in their chair until you are certain that this scar cover project is just that, an entire package or with set prices for future touch ups if and when needed.

Covering up birthmarks, or skin discolorations in general are quite common. Covering scars is also done quite a bit but dont trust this to a novice artist. Find someone who you can check his work on previous cover-ups and the lasting results do matter so try and see people well after they have had the work done to see how the ink set. Of course the people you look at should have had similar needs to yours in the type of scarring and area to be treated.

One of the best artists I know in the states is a guy called Rick Harnowski. He is what I would call an all around awesome, thorough, professional. He wont jack you around and he doesnt like to be jacked around. I trust him immensely with this sort of thing but he is located in Green Bay Wisconsin so that may be a bit out of your way.

And the final thing Id like to stress is getting a tattoo to cover up a scar seems a bit like a last resort especially if you have never had a tattoo before. Are you sure you really want a tattoo? What about a non-evasive approach like silicone sheeting for scar removal? I am also looking into a method called “dry tattooing” which is basically using a tattoo gun in a way to treat scars. I just began the research on this so I will post more information on that later but for now, just realize you have options for the scar besides a tattoo.

I love tattoo’s. I love the art totally and completely and I wish I had 3 bodies myself just to get more ink, so it stresses me out a bit to hear of the art being relegated to a last resort desperation. Id much rather you reply to someone when they make a comment on your new tattoo “I had to get this design because it spoke to me, and I love my artist and I cant wait for the next one!” as opposed to “oh…I had to… Its covers up a scar”….

Can you tattoo over a scar?

Picture from “Total Tattoo Book” by Amy Krakow (p.132), ISBN 0-446-67001-4
photo (c) 1993 Derdre Lamb Photography, Fort Bragg, CA

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