Most people wear their scars with confidence as they tell their life story.
But, for those who view their scars as blemishes on their body and can barely look at the sight, it’s possible to use a well-done tattoo to cover the area.
It can even be a cheaper option than plastic surgery.
However, the results that you expect will depend on the design of the tattoo you have chosen, the type of scar and expertise of the tattoo artist.
Before you embark on this journey, know the facts first to ensure the procedure is safe.
1. Understanding the type of scars
While there are different types of scars, the most common scars that can be tattooed over include scars from surgical procedures, burns, accidents, acne, birthmarks, stretch marks, freckles and spider veins.
Although the ease of covering any of these scars and skill level varies from one tattoo artist to another; it’s challenging to cover keloid scars or any raised tissue as they tend to heal on the skin surface instead of under it.
Keloid scars enlarge progressively, are firm, shapely elevated and have an irregular shape; therefore will not take well to tattoo pigment. Even if the keloid scar looks stable, a tattoo can irritate and cause it to resume growth.
On the other hand, a hypertrophic scar which is raised, thick and darker in color than the normal surrounding skin will not regrow and when completely healed can be tattooed.
That’s why it’s crucial you find a tattoo artist with extensive experience of covering up different scars so that they can determine whether your scar can be tattooed over.
2. Have realistic expectations
A well-done tattoo looks good and is often a source of pride for the owner. However, using a tattoo to cover up a scar makes it impossible to predict how the scar tissue will react to the ink.
With this in mind, you have to realize beforehand that it’s not a guarantee that the tattoo will meet your expectations. One thing to remember is that a tattoo will not erase the scar or change the texture.
Scar tissue has a dense texture which makes the tattoo ink to hold differently as compared to normal skin. Some colors will look better on your unique scar than others while the tattoo lines and shading can be lighter and with time can look blurry. Therefore, the tattoo will require multiple touch-ups to maintain the fresh look you want.
Considering any limitation that might be available can help you have realistic expectations so that you don’t get disappointed if the tattoo doesn’t look as you imagined.
While different people react to pain in various ways, doing a tattoo on a scarred area can be more painful as the scar tissue tends to be more sensitive. Some scars cause extensive damage to the nerves which makes tattooing your skin extremely painful.
Additionally, if the skin surrounding the scar doesn’t take the ink, the tattoo artist will have to redo the same spot several times which will make the whole process even more painful.
3. The ideal time to cover up a scar
The healing period including the time it takes for any particular scar to fully mature, smoothen out and fade varies. Minor scars can take a few months’ while large scars can take up to a year to heal. Complete scar maturation will depend on skin type, your age, post scar care, the severity of the scar and nutrition.
For best results, wait for the scarring to mature between 1-2 years as it takes approximately one to three years for a scar to turn pale and for the tissue to mature.
Nevertheless, you can influence the skin healing time to some degree by keeping the scar out of sun exposure until faded and applying topical forms rich in vitamin E. Some gentle massage, drinking plenty of healthy fluids and a proper nutrition can help speed up the healing process.
Nevertheless, you have to wait until the scar is completely healed before you can cover it with a tattoo. In most cases, the scar should be white and not red or pink.
Avoid covering up fresh scars with a tattoo because the older the scar, the better it’s more likely to take the ink pigment. But, it’s recommended you get the go-ahead from a dermatologist. A doctor can help gauge whether or not the scar is completely healed and give medical advice that can help you make a safe decision on covering your scar with a tattoo.
4. The design
After your doctor tells you it is okay to tattoo a scar, the next crucial step is to consult a tattoo artist. The best tattoo design that you choose should either hide or draw attention away from the scar. You want to make sure that at the end of it all you’re happy with your tattoo, so it’s important to go to an experienced tattoo artist.
This artist can help you choose a design that is both meaningful and camouflages the scarred tissue. With a skilled and creative tattoo artist, you can turn your scar into an image that you’re proud to show off instead of something that you constantly hide.