This is a topic I didn’t realise needed discussion until a friend pointed it out to me. I noticed that people who approached me for scar tattoos were hesitant and very accommodating if I wouldn’t allow it, but didn’t know why until she enlightened me to this sad fact:
Some tattoo artists decline inking over self-harm scars in case they do it again, thus ‘ruining their work’.
…I was so upset to hear this and can assure you that it’s not that way at NAOHOA. You body is yours and yours alone. Your mental well-being is more important than a picture. Having worked in industries where ego took precedence over sense, I’m determined not to fall into that trap within myself or my business.
Anyhoo, back to tattoos!
Can you tattoo over scars?
Yes! ...if the scars are at least two years old and the skin is strong enough to withstand the tattooing process. I’d need to see it in person to check myself by touching the skin.
Can you tattoo over keloid scars?
Technically yes, but it’s better not to, if it can be helped, especially if it’s quite raised and tender. If it’s an old, shallow scar, I can tattoo over it but will need to be more gentle. This means it may take more sessions to cover the area, to avoid over-working the skin.
Will you be able to see the scars under the tattoo?
Yes, especially if they’re raised. Typically, people get a tattoo to distract rather than cover their scars, as they’d already managed their expectations on what can or can’t be done.
The ink will appear lighter on scarred areas compared to unmarked skin, so you may notice variations in colour based on the different skin textures. This is normal.
Will it hurt more?
Normally, yes, though everyone’s pain threshold is different. Some are in agony, others breeze through like a normal session, so although you may experience more pain than usual when going over scar tissue, your mindset and how you process pain will be dominant factors.
Of course, you can request for breaks whenever you like – NAOHOA works on an exclusive one-client-a-day basis, giving you the time and space you need to get your body art. 💕
For tips on how to remain calm whilst getting inked, check out this blog post.
Does it take longer to tattoo over scars?
Sometimes, as normally I’d need to go over the area more than usual for the ink to settle in. Everyone’s skin is different, so it’s hard to give a blanket statement.
You’re more likely to need at least two appointments, so I can go over the area after it’s healed to get a stronger colour. This is because I don’t want to overwork an area that’s already vulnerable. It’s best to see how the first session goes and take it from there. 🙂
Do I have to stay for the full session or can I finish earlier, even if it isn’t done yet?
It’s absolutely no problem if you want to tap out before the end of your sesh – I’ll simply charge for the amount of time inked that day (minus half your deposit), and we’ll pick things up again after your skin has healed. 🙂
Please don’t feel pressured to stay the full time if the pain is too much (this goes for all tattoos – not just scar ones).
If you’ve booked a Day Session, please be mindful that your overall cost may go up if finishing early, as you save money the longer we ink within a single session. This is due to time saved from prep and opening up availability to clients on other days.
Something I feel is worth noting, regarding scars. No tattoo, clothing or amount of money will fix the image you have of yourself. It’s understandable that scars on your body might affect your self-esteem. Covering them is an easy, superficial way to soften the impact they have on you and believe me, it’s an honour to be part of that process. However, getting a tattoo is not a magic bullet to feeling better about yourself – that has to come from within.
I’m bringing this up in order to manage expectations. You are likely to still see the scar(s) after getting a tattoo, as they physically change the texture of the skin. That’s a fact. It’s just the reality of it. What the tattoo(s) will do is give you something else to look at and think about. A distraction, a conversation starter, a reminder of brighter things. Shifting your perspective to the positives in this way will help you embrace your new body art rather than fixating on the scars.
Some decide to have tattoos because they feel it would be less unsightly than their scar for other people. I implore you to think deeply about this. Marking your body for how you think others might react, instead of what you truly want, is setting yourself up for failure. Your body is yours and yours alone. When you let people say otherwise, you give them power to judge you and make you feel bad, which could feed into lowering your self-esteem further.
Something to think about, before adding new marks to your body.
If you have any more questions, please send them to info [at] naohoa.com
Many thanks to my clients who are willing to share their tattoos publicly to help others on their journey. 💛
Looking to Cover Your Scars?
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Deposits for new pieces will not be accepted whilst under lockdown. You can instead watch me draw LIVE via Instagram while I work on existing designs!
Keep well and stay safe,
P.S. I was going to wait until I finished a few more scar tattoos before publishing this piece, but the clients were either too self-conscious to have their photos used or have postponed their appointments for medical reasons. I’ll update this post as-and-when I obtain new relevant pics!