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Tattooing Over A Scar: Everything You Need to Know

Tattooing over a scar is a standard process for someone wanting to cover up a skin marking they’re unsatisfied with. Before you do this, read this guide.

By T.ArnoldPublished 2 years ago 5 min read

In some sense, tattoos and scars share characteristics. Each is permanent body markings located on the skin during a particular time and place.

Whether it’s positive or negative memories, they’re on your skin for the rest of eternity.

However, people sometimes want to change the appearance of each of these. It can get covered up if you have a tattoo you don’t like. The same follows with scars, well, slightly.

To learn more about tattooing over a scar, you should become knowledgeable on the below. Here we detail everything you need to know before going through the procedure.

Can you tattoo over scars?

The first question everybody asks is, “can you tattoo over scars?”. Although a straight answer is perfect, it isn’t possible.

While tattooing over most scars is possible, some challenges are faced. All tattoo artists can tattoo over unscarred skin; it’s their job. However, not all can tattoo over scarred skin.

The most optimal way of discovering whether an artist can cover a scar with a tattoo is by consulting them. First, find a reliable, long-lasting, and well-known tattoo artist. Afterwards, consult with them one-on-one and express your concerns about the tattoo location, scar, etc.

Upon evaluation, the artist should be able to offer some advice on the subject. Because all scars come in different severities and sizes, it’s hard to say for certain if it’s possible.

But you must note that it could hurt more than a regular tattoo. Sometimes scars can cause skin sensitivity issues, which could lead to an increase in pain around that particular area. Using a Tattoo Numbing Cream can help reduce this pain, and can reduce the pain felt during the procedure, making it a more enjoyable process.

What can happen if you tattoo over a scar?

Tattooing over a scar isn’t like normal skin. Problems can occur, and it’s best to be aware before encountering them.

As a rule of thumb, these are the primary issues that you might encounter when getting a tattoo over a scar:

  • Ink bleeding – Scars harden your skin, making the surface uneven. With this in mind, it generally absorbs less ink than usual. Therefore, it can cause the ink to migrate, which visually looks like the tattoo is smudged or unclear.
  • Additional scarring – Additionally, it could make the scar even worse. Although this isn’t for all, sometimes it can happen. The most active reports of this occurring are from people that are prone to keloid scars.
  • Irregular appearance – Because the surface isn’t flat like the rest of the tattooed area, it can appear inconsistent. As you can see, tattooing on two surface levels can result in uneven shading or colouring.

As you can see, there are some issues with tattooing over a scar. However, this only occurs sometimes. As previously mentioned, this occasionally happens. It all depends on the severity of the scar, placement, and development.

What will my scar tattoo look like?

Surprisingly for most, there isn’t only a singular type of scar. There are different forms of scars which could affect how the tattoo appears.

To learn more about the different types of scars and their effects on tattoos, see the below:

  • Keloid – These scars can cause problems with tattoos. This is because they’re raised, which could result in further scarring once tattooed. What many people do to overcome this is by incorporating the scar into the tattoo.
  • Burn – If you have a burn scar, it can make the area around the affected zone sensitive. Again, this makes it very challenging for tattoos. Many use various lines and colours in their tattoo design to counteract this, as this conceals it the best.
  • Scars on the stomach – Whether it’s from surgery, pregnancy, or something else, scars on the stomach can present issues in some circumstances. Depending on the severity, many artists can overcome this. However, you might want to hold off from a tattoo if you want a baby soon, as the gaining and losing weight phase could adversely affect the design.
  • Surgery scars – With surgery scars these are done professionally. Therefore, it typically leaves the smallest scar possible. If these are healed correctly, tattooing over them isn’t a problem.

Scars can get worse once tattooed. However, following the correct guidance on minimizing tattoo scars can decrease the chances of this occurring.

Why do people get tattoos over a scar?

The reason for people getting tattoos over a scar varies. As you can imagine, it depends on the person. However, many choose to tattoo over a scar because they’re unsatisfied with its current appearance.

Including this, people that have received scars from surviving major health or accidental issues may choose to get them covered up. The reason might not be because they don’t like it, but it feels like they’re reclaiming their body.

As you can see, it depends on the individual themselves. There are countless reasons why, with each of them being understandable.

Does tattooing over a scar hurt more?

When speaking about how much a tattoo hurts over a scar, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Everybody’s pain tolerance is much different, so the experience can change from person to person.

However, many have mentioned that tattooing over some scars hurt more than others. Typically, scar tissue is the most painful place to tattoo. With many people say it’s painful or extremely painful. The reason for this occurring is that there’s major nerve damage or compression around the affected area. Apart from scar tissue, there are more scars that have been mentioned as “painful”. These are:

  • Keloid scars
  • Atrophic scars
  • Hypertrophic scars
  • Burn scars

Typically, these are deep and large. Therefore, making the scarring area remarkably sensitive.


After reading the above, you should know everything about tattooing over a scar. Without question, it can be painful. However, it depends on various factors.

To reduce the pain felt with this type of procedure, use a tattoo numbing cream solution, Tattoo Numb. Since its establishment, it has helped hundreds of people receive pain-free tattoos.


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