Any skilled board-certified plastic surgeon will place a great deal of importance on scarring, especially on the location of plastic surgery scars and the minimizing of them. In fact, it’s an art form and the best plastic surgeons take pride in reducing the appearance of their patients’ scars. After all, one of the goals of plastic surgery is to make it look natural.
We’ve written blogs about skin elasticity, weight loss before surgery, maintaining plastic surgery results, recovery after plastic surgery, sunscreen after surgery, minimizing sun exposure, and so on, but we haven’t written one about tattooing over a plastic surgery scar, and surely this is a question that patients have posed.
Can You Cover a Scar With a Tattoo?
People get tattoos for all kinds of reasons. While one of our patients may get a tattoo specifically to cover up a plastic surgery scar, that’s more the exception than the norm. Usually, a patient has a particular tattoo in mind and they want to know if it’s okay for them to tattoo over a plastic surgery scar. The answer is, “Yes, of course, but it’s important to wait until the scar has fully healed before getting a tattoo.”
You want to avoid getting a tattoo before the scar has fully matured. To achieve the best results, you’ll have to take into consideration the nature of the scar itself, the tattoo artist, and the design of the particular tattoo that you have in mind. Did you know that we offer permanent makeup and scar tattoo services at our office? You can call to schedule your consultation with our permanent makeup artist/skin care specialist, Elleni Gonzalez.
Tattooing Over Scar Tissue
Scar tissue is not the same as normal skin; it’s dense, causing it to hold tattoo ink differently than normal skin. In effect, lines over a scar can be less defined and the colors and shading may require a second session to achieve the desired result. If you have an inexperienced tattoo artist, it can backfire and the scar can be more noticeable than it was before. Our advice is to talk to your plastic surgeon about healing and timing of your tattoo, and be very meticulous about planning out your next ink session.
Find a tattoo artist with a lot of experience tattooing over scars. You can ask different artists to show you their portfolio of tattoos that covered scars. This is important because it’s easy for inexperienced tattoo artists to have blown out lines when they go over scar tissue, so you want to hire a very experienced tattoo artist who knows what they’re doing.
The best tattoos draw attention away from scars instead of covering them up. Remember, a tattoo over a scar will not change the skin’s texture and if you look hard enough, you’ll still be able to see the scar. So, you may want to incorporate the scar into the tattoo design so it draws attention away from it.
How long should you wait to get a tattoo over a plastic surgery scar? Usually, it’s best to wait at least 12, if not 18 months after plastic surgery. To ensure the best results with your tattoo artist, we recommend consulting with your plastic surgeon ahead of time to make sure the scar has reached its full healing potential.