Stretch Mark Tattoos: Can They Cover The Marks Effectively?

by Ramona Sinha

Not all are comfortable flaunting their stretch marks. Certain treatment options can help improve their appearance. However, if you have tried almost everything but saw little results, you can camouflage them with tattoos.

Many women go for tattooing to camouflage and cover their stretch marks. There are tattoo artists who specialize in this process, and it doesn’t come without certain risks. In this article, we have discussed everything that you need to know about stretch mark tattoos.

Things To Consider Before Getting A Tattoo On Your Stretch Marks

You may get a tattoo on your stretch marks. However, whether you need to do it or not depends on several factors.

1. The Type Of Scars

Not all scars are equal. The tattoo artist needs to evaluate the depth, severity, and texture of your scars before deciding if you should get a tattoo.

2. Are The Scars Healed Properly?

Stretch marks that are new and reddish are a sign that your body is working to heal them. Newly-formed stretch marks are sensitive and it is challenging to work on them. Going for a tattoo may cause further damage to the skin.

3. Are The Scars Raised From The Surface?

It is tough to work on raised stretch marks. New stretch marks often appear raised from the skin surface. In that case, you should let your marks heal and settle down before going for a tattoo.

4. The Color Of Your Stretch Marks 

What is the color of your stretch marks? Do they appear reddish or purple or pinkish? Or are they white? As discussed, it is not advisable to get a tattoo on fresh (or red) stretch marks. Old and white stretch marks are much lighter. They also are much easier to be worked on by a tattoo artist.

5. The Size Of Your Stretch Marks

This is a crucial factor in determining whether a tattoo can adequately cover   your stretch marks or not. If the stretch marks are wide and long, the tattoo may not cover it properly.

The size of your tattoo will depend on the length and width of your stretch marks. You may want a specific tattoo design of a specific diameter, but if your stretch marks are bigger than that, you may have to go for a bigger and broader tattoo design.

Talk to a doctor and an expert tattoo artist before getting a tattoo done over your stretch marks. Here are a few things to keep in mind  if you are new to the process.

What To Expect When Getting A Tattoo Over Stretch Marks

Here are a few things you must know and expect if you are getting inked on your stretch marks:

  • The tattoo ink goes into your dermis, which is the second layer of the skin next to the epidermis. Your dermis contains blood vessels, nerves, collagen fibers, glands, and dermal cells. All these are critical for healing. Cells continuously die on the epidermis. Hence, the tattoo will fade if it stays only on the epidermis.
  • The tattoo needle pierces your skin at the frequency of 50-3000 times in a minute.
  • During the process, the tattoo artist will dip the needle into the ink and then turn on the tattoo machine. The tattoo needles have multiple ends (between 3 and 25). Needles with fewer ends are used for detailing and outlining, while needles with more ends are used for coloring and shading.
  • Whether the process hurts or not depends on your pain tolerance. Usually, you may experience nothing more than a stinging sensation. The pain rarely gets too uncomfortable or unbearable.
  • The artist usually begins by drawing an outline of the design using a stencil and then works on it.

Traditional tattoos focus primarily on making the stretch marks appear as if they are a part of them. However, another technique, called camouflage tattoo, covers up the scars and blends them with your skin. This gives you an even look.

Camouflage Tattoo For Covering Stretch Marks: What Is It?

Camouflage tattooing follows the methods of traditional tattooing. It uses a customized ink or pigment that matches your skin tone. This helps blend the stretch marks with your skin such that the scars are not visible.

Camouflage tattooing is not micropigmentation (a process to re-pigment the skin). It is a process in which the ink or the pigments are blended evenly and deposited into your dermis with just one application (depending on the surface area of the stretch marks).

Camouflage tattoo could be a permanent tattoo, though it may fade a little with time. However, the pigments remain unaffected. These tattoos work best on white or old stretch marks. Even individuals with vitiligo may opt for camouflage tattoos.

Is It A Painful Process?

Depending on the detailing of your tattoo, you may experience the following sensations during the process:

  • Burning Sensation: If the tattoo needle goes into the same spot over and over again, you may experience a slight burning sensation.
  • Sharp Stinging Sensation: This is very common in tattoos that have more detailing.
  • Scratchy Feeling: If your tattoo needs a lot of shading, you may experience a scratchy feeling.

The pain is usually not unbearable. But inform the tattoo artist and visit a doctor if you experience severe discomfort.

You need to take care of your tattoo and ensure it does not get inflamed. Here are a few tips.

Tips To Care For Tattoos On Your Stretch Marks

  • The tattoo artist will apply a layer of petroleum jelly to the tattoo and cover it with a bandage. Do not remove it for at least 24 hours. Ask the tattoo artist for the proper after-care routine.
  • Wash your hand thoroughly before removing the bandage. You do not want to transfer germs to the new tattoo. Also, while removing it, be slow and gentle. Do not rip it off.
  • Wash the area with a mild antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Avoid using a washcloth to dry the area. Let it air dry. Wash it several times a day.
  • Apply an antibacterial cream on the tattoo after it dries.
  • Moisturize the area daily. It is crucial to keep the area hydrated.
  • Your tattoo may scab once it starts to heal. It may also itch. Resist the temptation to scratch it.
  • Wear loose clothes for a few days or until your tattoo heals. Tight clothes may irritate the skin.
  • Avoid soaking in water (swimming pool or bathtub) for long. Avoid exposing the tattoo to sunlight while it heals, as this may damage it.

Despite all the care you may take, tattooing your stretch marks comes with a few risks.

Risks Associated With Stretch Mark Tattoos

  1. Getting a tattoo done on an area most likely to develop new stretch marks (like the thighs, abdomen, etc.) can actually damage it. This damage depends on the size of the stretch mark.
  1. Maintaining proper hygiene is crucial to reduce the risk of infection. Go to a doctor immediately if you experience:
  • Continuous burning sensation
  • Swelling (after a couple of days)
  • Bad odor
  • Tender skin or skin that is warm to touch
  • Yellow pus
  1. Avoid getting a tattoo if you are allergic to dyes. Signs of allergic reactions often take time to develop. They usually may start with a rash on the tattoo.
  1. Tattooing may also cause further scarring or overgrowth of scar tissues on your stretch marks.
  1. Tattoo needles that are not sanitized can increase the risk of developing blood-borne diseases, such as HIV, tetanus, and Hepatitis B and C.

It is always better to get a tattoo from a licensed and reputed tattoo artist. Make sure the facility maintains proper hygiene. Avoid getting a tattoo done on a scar that is inflamed. Talk to a doctor and a tattoo artist. Evaluate your options and risk factors. Go ahead with the procedure only if you are prepared. If you experience any side effects, get in touch with a doctor right away.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Can stomach tattoos cover stretch marks?

Yes, they can. The results depend on the severity and depth of the scar. Covering the scar could be difficult if it is too big or covers a wider area.

Can you tattoo over a skin spot?

Yes, you can get a tattoo done over a skin spot to cover any discoloration.

Do the stretch marks fully heal with tattoos?

Tattoos can only cover stretch marks. They cannot heal them.

Is it possible to get more stretch marks in the same place?

Yes, it is possible. If you gain weight or your skin stretches due to any other factors, you may develop fresh stretch marks in the same area as the tattoo.

Can I get a tattoo on newly-formed stretch marks?

No. As the skin on the new stretch marks is sensitive, it may cause further damage.

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona has a Master's degree in English Literature. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps readers select products and ingredients specific to their skin type and gives out tips to keep their skin healthy in a natural way. When Ramona is not working or experimenting with a new skin care product or ingredient, her books and a passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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