Can You Tattoo Over a Scar?

Can You Tattoo Over a Scar?

Photo: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Many scars can be covered up by a tattoo, but like many things in life, a tattoo is a big commitment. Hearing, "that's a fab tattoo" instead of "that's a nasty looking scar" may be pretty enticing, but you should consider a few basics before heading over to the tattoo parlor to get that scar covered up.

Other Options

A tattoo is permanent, and when tattooing over a scar you run the risk of making your scar more obvious. If your goal is to camouflage a scar, you might want to look into other options before jumping to a tattoo. According to "Dermatology Times," the appearance of scars may be minimized by procedures such as laser treatment or micro-dermabrasion, or over-the-counter ointments containing Retin-A. Time may also mellow the way your scar looks.

Age of Scar

For once it isn't your age that counts, but rather the age of your scar. Fresh scars are still healing, and as new tissue replaces the old, tend to reject tattoo ink more than healed scars. You should wait at least a year before you ink over a scar, and possibly even longer depending on how your skin heals.

The Right Artist

You wouldn't go to a new hair stylist without finding out about her reputation. Same thing goes for a tattoo artist. Research artists in your area, and then interview a few to make sure their design talents are aligned with your sense of style. Some tattoo artists even specialize in scar cover-ups, so don't be afraid to ask to see a portfolio of scar-covering art.


The most expensive artist may not always be the best, but generally the more money you shell out for your tattoo, the more likely you are working with an experienced artist. You should also make sure you know exactly what you're paying for -- some artists charge extra for touch-ups. Price structure may also vary because scar tissue is more likely to fade than the surrounding tissue and will likely require more touch-ups.


The design, color and placement of your tattoo will all determine how successful it is in covering up your scar and how long the color will last. You may also be able to work the scar in as a part of the design so when fading occurs it is not as noticeable.

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