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Scars VS Cosmetic Tattooing

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Many of you have asked if it's possible to tattoo over scarred skin or does the color stays in and so on. So I decided to write about this topic more thoroughly.

There are some factors to consider before tattooing over a scarred area: depth of the scar, nerve damage, how much is the scar raised, scar age.

You shouldn't get a tattoo over a scar that is too fresh. The wound could be long healed, but it takes some more time for the scar to heal - from few months to few years.

The difference between a normal tissue and a scar is mostly how the ink will hold. There is probability that lines will be a bit blurry, ink would look a bit different than in surrounding "normal" skin and whole tattoo could need more sessions than usual. Some cases the scarred area might be more sensitive as well.

Lets talk about different scar types first, there's:

  • Keloid scars

A keloid scar is an overgrowth of tissue that happens when too much collagen is produced at the site of a wound.

The scar keeps growing, even after the wound has healed.

Keloid scars are raised above the skin and can be pink, red, the same colour or darker than surrounding skin. They're often itchy or painful, and can restrict movement if they're tight and near a joint.

** If you have a history of keloid scarring then permanent makeup is not for you as you are in risk of keloid formation. It will grow back if removed. Consult with your doctor first if you are unsure **

  • Hypertrophic scars

The difference is that keloid scars are bigger than the area of injury and they don’t fade with time. Hypertrophic scars are only in the wound area and do tend to fade with time.

Unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars do not extend beyond the boundary of the original wound. They may continue to thicken for up to 6 months before gradually improving over a few years.

**As soon as hypertrophic scars are completely healed they can be tattooed. There is relatively little chance of this type of scar becoming irritated and expanding once fully healed. It will usually take at least one year for a hypertrophic scar to be completely healed.**

  • Burn scars

Burn scars occur when burns damage the skin. For burns that only affect the outer layers of the skin, the scar tissue fades over time. When the deeper layers of the skin are damaged, it causes more permanent scarring that can have a thick, leathery, or irregular appearance

**Tattooing over a burned scar is not always a good idea, you should wait at least when your scar is several years old**

  • Pitted or sunken scars

Some scars caused by skin conditions, such as acne and chickenpox, can have a sunken or pitted appearance.

Pitted scars, also known as atrophic or "ice-pick" scars, can also develop as a result of an injury that causes a loss of underlying fat.

**Accutane/Retin-A - Individuals who have been taking acne medications such as Accutane or Retin-A within the last year have an altered skin condition that will not heal well after the procedure. It's very important that you wait a year before tattooing the skin**

  • Normal fine-line scars

A minor wound like a cut will usually heal to leave a raised line, which will gradually fade and flatten over time.

This process can take up to 2 years. The scar will not disappear completely and you'll be left with a visible mark or line.

Fine-line scars are common following a wound or after surgery. They are not usually painful, but they may be itchy for a few months.

  • Wrinkles (not a scar, however challenging to tattoo over if it's deep)

Wrinkles are creases, folds, or ridges in the skin. They naturally appear as people get older. The first wrinkles tend to appear on a person’s face in areas where the skin naturally folds during facial expressions. They develop due to the skin becoming thinner and less elastic over time.

**Tattoos cannot cover up wrinkles. Unlike cosmetic procedures that may reduce wrinkles' appearance on the skin, tattooing has no significant effect on wrinkles. Tattoos can be placed over skin that is already wrinkled but becomes more difficult as age reduces elasticity and collagen production in the skin. When face muscles around freshly tattooed area are moved often, the scabs might come loose prematurely and cause pigment loss-meaning fine lines going through tattooed area might appear lighter or darker if the color has migrated.**

When choosing a technique to cover the scarred area I would recommend specific cosmetic tattoo machines over microblading.

If you are planning to get a cosmetic tattoo but are unaware and hesitant about your scarring history, go see your local GP first. Also let your Permanent Makeup Artist know if you have any scarring in the tattooed area.

Didn't find an answer to your question here? Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information

OptiBrow Permanent Makeup

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