Tattooing Over Scars

Tattooing over a scar is a way of hiding disfigurement or a bad memory. Different types of scar injuries require different types of tattoo. Scars must be fully healed.

Tattoo acquisition to tell a story or share a memory isnt the only reason people get inked. For some people tattooing to disguise or cover a scar changes injury into art.

Post Mastectomy Tattoo Design

The physical and emotional scar of breast cancer and subsequent cosmetic molding of a new breast were validated when the insurance payers finally agreed to pay for breast reconstruction. To replicate the natural breast, an areola often is tattooed over the reformed breast. For some women who could not follow up with reconstruction for one reason or another, the scar remained. Some of those women chose flowers, birds, or butterflies tattooed around the area making the scar an object of beauty.

Tattooing over Skin Grafts

Burns and tumor removal can leave ugly disfigurement telling a story the owner may not always want to share. Tattooing over these sites takes patience and skill. Multiple surgeries may be needed. Grafted skin takes time to heal before inking can begin. Skin color and texture is permanently altered.

Vitilago and Cosmetic Micropigmentation

The absence of pigment is the hallmark of vitilago. Unfortunately, it isnt a stable loss but continuously changing/spreading. Coloring a small area may give satisfactory results but as the other areas coalesce, continued treatment is needed and the overall result is often unsatisfactory.

Minor Facial Scars and Permanent Cosmetic Makeup or Tattooing

Chickenpox scars, acne scars, or accidents affecting the brow or lip can be successfully modified to look like eyebrow hair or lip lines. Cleft palate repairs have been disguised under permanent makeup tattooing. A permanent makeup technician specializing in scar revision is the optimum choice. Check out experience and photos. Tattooing over scarred skin is NOT the same as applying lip or eyebrow tattoo solely for cosmetic enhancement.

Scars and the Tattoo Process

The tattoo must incorporate the lines of the scar. Keloids become part of a 3 dimensional design, similarly, indentations can become shadows or give depth to a design.

Small scars can more easily be incorporated into a tattoo design. It is still time consuming and multiple passes and visits may be needed.

Scarred skin absorbs pigments differently from healthy smooth skin. Skin must not be open or hot (infected).
It takes a complete year for skin to heal post injury and surgery. The initial inflammation is a week. Granulation, collagen repair and cell regrowth lasts another year few weeks. Strengthening collagen to preinjurty status can take up to 2 years.
The pigment may grab differently since scarred healed skin is a different color than nearby skin. Colors are seen through the skin not crayon like on top of it. Multiple visits assess color reaction and correct as needed.

The design itself is dependent upon the scar configuration. Open spaces of lettering or tribal design leave patches of scarred skin visible.

Large multicolor tattoos can distract the eye and cover a scar completely.

Let the tattoo artist know of any medications prescribed. These may alter sensation, color, bruising and bleeding.

Plan for no more than an hour of tattooing at time per visit.

All tattoos fade with time but sun exposed areas fade faster. Experiment with sunscreens which wont irritate the delicate skin site.

Start small and evaluate. This is a lifelong decision- faded or otherwise.

Repeating the process of initial injury although in a lesser degree by tattooing needs consideration. There is a tattoo healing time. Protect the new area and dont improvise on aftercare instructions. Take time to select the best person possible to work on the skin.

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