Stretch marks are most often associated with pregnancy, but they can also occur after significant stretching of the skin that comes from major muscle or weight gain. It may even occur in teens that have exhibited quick growth spurts. While they are nothing to be ashamed of (especially for pound mamas!) many people would rather see them gone. But for many, corticosteroid creams, lotions, and vitamins/minerals have had little to no impact in getting rid of stretch marks, causing some to ponder the possibility of getting a tattoo to minimize the appearance of stretch marks in especially “problematic” zones. Is it possible? Tattoos can be applied to improve the aesthetics, but there are some important things to consider first.
4 Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo to Cover Stretch Marks
1. Severity of Stretch Marks
Skin type, elasticity, size, and color of your stretch marks make a big difference. If there is little variation from the surrounding skin then it may be a relatively seamless procedure. The more raised and the greater the variation however, the less consistent the tattoo will appear, and therefore you should not consider a design that depends upon that consistency across a given area of the body.
Also, you need to identify whether or not the stretch marks have run their full course. In other words, have they fully healed? While color change from reddish/purple/brown to a more even tone is an indicator, your physician can help you make that determination, especially if the scarring is the result of pregnancy, surgery, or other significant body changes. Only after the stretch marks have fully healed should you seek out a tattoo studio for a cover up.
2. Future Body Size Plans
If you expect to experience significant body changes (those that impact the existence and appearance of stretch marks) then hang tight on your decision to move forward with the cover up. For example, if you plan on having another child in the future, it’s probably best to avoid tattooing over current stretch marks around the stomach, buttocks, and upper thighs. The same goes for those who plan on significant muscle gain (or reduction) or weigh loss. If you’ve struggled with obesity and want to get a tattoo cover up for your stretch marks, it may be best to work on your health first. Once down to your goal weight you can then seek out a tattooist.
3. Cover, or Work With?
Ideally you would want to cover up the stretch marks completely, right? However, doing so over more severe stretch marks may simply not deliver the result you dreamed of. In such a case, you may consider a design that simply works with the stretch marks, versus outright blanketing. A skilled tattooist (more on this below) will be able to work with the area and suggest a design (based on your personal preferences) that upon casual inspection may make it nearly impossible to identify the damaged skin tissue. Basically, the intent will be to draw people’s eyes away from the stretch marks, and instead towards the tattoo.
4. Not All Artists Are Created Equal When it Comes to Tattooing Over or Around Stretch Marks
The ability of a tattooist is also a major difference maker. You will not only want to find a seasoned artist, but someone who has experience in tattooing over (or working with) scars. They will have a developed a better understanding of how to adjust color, pressure, shading, lines, and technique accordingly.
There may be some trial and error en route to success, especially for those with severe stretch marks. That means you may require one or two follow-up sessions, so that the artist can monitor how well the ink and planned design takes, adjusting accordingly as the weeks progress. Leave some wiggle room in your schedule and budget if you are looking for a significant cover up. Otherwise, a highly skilled tattooist with experience in scar (or better yet, stretch mark) cover ups can deliver the result you want. View more on what you need to know about tattoo cover ups on scar tissue.
The initial consultation is everything when it comes to gauging the potential for success. No studio or tattooist should ever state “yes” over the phone or email unless they inspect the stretch marked spot you want to tattoo over or around. If you live within or are visiting the Greater Vancouver BC or Toronto ON area, contact one of our shops to schedule that first consultation.