Everybody has scars—they’re a part of life that you couldn’t avoid even if you tried. Maybe you bare the memory of a gnarly playground fall from your childhood, or maybe a fraction of your skin has been forever altered by acne. There are many different kinds of scars, and in many cases, personal reasons why you may want to cover them with something badass. Whether it’s creating a masterpiece over top with Freehand Ink, adorning yourself with one of our 1,000+ designs, or going the permanent route, do whatever makes you feel your best and boldest self.
Covering scars with tattoos allows you to take control of your body—and your story—in a powerful way. If you’re wondering how to do it, or if it’s even possible to, we’ve put together a few things you should think about before hopping into a tattoo artist’s seat.
Can you cover up that scar with a tattoo?
First of all, you need to consider what kind of scar you have. This determines if, and how, you can get it permanently tattooed. Remember, a scar is broken skin, so you won’t be able to get ink done on one that’s relatively new. Healing times may differ from person to person, so that means it can take anywhere from a year to a year and a half. Your best bet would be to see a specialist like a doctor or dermatologist who can give you the definitive green light.
Even after it has fully healed, skin that is scarred will be more sensitive than your regular skin—so expect your threshold for pain to be a little lower when getting tattoos over scars.
Why do you want to cover it?
For some people, covering scars is a way to rebuild self-confidence and self-worth. For others, it’s just to hide skin that looks a little different. And in some cases, scars can remind you of a traumatic time or low point in your life. Whether they’re caused by acne, burns, self-harm, an accident or common injury, a lot of people simply prefer not to look at their scars every day. So why not turn that into something positive?
Sarah Williams, a Saskatchewan tattoo artist once put it best: "It's something that's still a stigma.” she told the CBC. “These people wear their emotions forever through these marks, and lots of these people have come so far and they want to take that next step.”
Even when there are no emotions attached to your scar, a tattoo is a bold way to make it more beautiful. Check out our blog post on this inkbox Freehand artist, who is now inspired by become a permanent tattoo artist that focuses on self-harm cover ups.
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*Trigger Warning: This post contains sensitive content regarding self-harm* Self-harm was a battle that @inkbychey faced each and every day. After four hospitalizations she found that body art was a way for her to express herself and love the skin she's in. Drawing flowers on her arms, wrists, anywhere she would cut, reminded her that her body is beautiful. “I use inkbox because I need a skin deep reminder that there is beauty and there is hope and it's written on my body.” 💛🌼 ▪️ ‘Freehand Ink’ [inkbox.com] ▪️ 📸 @inkbychey ▪️ #inkbox #inkboxlove #mentalhealthawareness
What kind of tattoo do you want?
Subsequently, the reason you’re covering a scar can be closely tied to what kind of tattoo you want. Do you want your tattoo to be related to how you got the scar? Or purely for aesthetic purposes? That’s up to you, but one important thing to consider is choosing a design with less negative space and thinner, lighter lines, like this blog suggests. Floral tattoos are a common choice, as well as animals—both of which can resemble your journey with your scar.
At the end of the day, using tattoos to cover your scars is a form of expression just like any form of body art, but one that can carry even more personal meaning. Whatever you choose will be part of a story that you may not have had control over—until now.
By Ebony Renee-Baker