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How Long After Surgery Can I Get a Tattoo Over the Scar?

It is crucial to wait for any type of scar to heal before you get a tattoo to cover it. At this point, it is not just about the decoration itself, but health as well, and with this, the good or bad outcome of the tattoo.

The tattoos and their trends change all the time, so do the opinions of people about tattoos. Luckily, tattoos are no longer a torture process resulting in an unsightly image that fades badly over time.

Nowadays, tattoos are a gorgeous decoration for our bodies that holds certain meanings, and overall, they are made professionally and beautifully.

But, this type of art is not always done just for decoration, and it is wonderful to know that scars and scar tissues can be covered with permanent, beautiful ink images. Still, we are here to clarify how soon you can get a tattoo over a scarred skin because this factor is also crucial in this case.

How Long After Surgery Can I Get a Tattoo Over the Scar?

It is important to wait long enough before tattooing a scar. For light scars, you should wait at least a full year until the skin is completely healed and feels and looks normal, both upon touch and functioning. For deeper scars, the waiting could extend up to a few years, a minimum of 3 to 5 years, depending on the severity of the injury or cause for the scar.

What are the types of scars, and can they all have tattoos over them?

Tattoo Over the Scar

The scars are divided into 3 main categories:

Keloid scars

The keloid scars occur when the skin gets injured, and over the scar, the fibrous tissue starts to assemble and form to heal the injured skin. It ends up as a smooth skin area, with a shiny layer. In most cases, these scars fade to the same skin tone, or even whiter.

Hypertrophic scars

The hypertrophic scar is quite similar to the keloid one, in terms of the shiny layer after the healing. However, this type of scar will not fade as easily as the keloid one, and they retain a strong pink or reddish color. Also, they are not as smooth and flat as keloid scars but raised a few millimeters over the skin.


The contracture scars are, unfortunately, the most severe scars that always go along a deformity around the scarred area. These scars are accompanied by some sort of deformity on the connective and elastic tissues of the body. For example, most common contractures occur near tendons, muscles, and ligaments (most often fingers of the hands, or feet, with impaired movements and nerve sensitivity).

Also, there are burn scars, and stretch mark scars too, and depending on their depth under the skin, some of them can be tattooed over.

However, not all of the above-mentioned scars are fit for tattooing, at least not with perfect, desired results. The keloid scars are the best for a tattoo over them – they are flat and white. The hypertrophic scars can be tattooed over, but their bumps and raised skin will show somehow, at least upon touch. As far as contractures go, it is not the best idea to tattoo over them – the deformity due to such scars often leaves that tissue ‘dead’ and ‘heavily numb’ due to permanently damaged nerves and hardened tissues underneath, so it wouldn’t be very pleasant or productive to have a tattoo over such a seriously damaged body part/tissue.

Will a tattoo over scar tissue hurt more?

Yes, in most cases, the tattoo hurts more over scarred tissue, and the sensitivity is heightened to almost a maximum. We all think that scarred skin has many damaged or dead nerve endings, and logically, it should hurt less, right? Well, this is a wrong notion, ironically.

Will a tattoo over scar tissue hurt more

The longer you wait for the healing, the less the scar will hurt, and this makes complete sense. Damaged skin has already gone through trauma, and every additional trauma, such as needles for tattooing, will be felt completely, and it won’t be the most pleasant tattooing there is.

Will the tattoo stay if it’s made over scar tissue?

Usually, tattoos do stay over scarred skin, but it depends on many factors, and it is not a sure, proven rule that they stay with the same quality as in the first few months of tattooing.

Since the skin is damaged due to injuries or traumas, and similar causes, it is not as healthy as the skin on the rest of your body. It is expected that this damaged skin will more likely fade its ink over time, for some fast, for some prolonged, but it’s almost inevitable for this to happen.

You will notice that the ink on scars will probably fade after the first few months, depending on the scar depth. Now, do not panic, the fading is not severely prominent or too obvious, but the pigment will show less contrast and boldness as it did in the first 2-3 months. This can easily be corrected with a simple touch-up by the artist.

Read also: Best Temporary Tattoo Markers

What are some things to avoid when tattooing over a scar?

It is good to come to the salon prepared for the tattooing pain and sensitivity because the tattoo over the scar will hurt slightly more than a regular tattoo. To avoid this, as well as the overall unpleasantness, do not drink alcohol before the session, at least 24 hours beforehand. Alcohol will thin out the blood and even increase the intolerance to pain, which is something you don’t need when tattooing over a scar!

What if I hurry up and get a tattoo over a very freshly healed scar?

It is not a rule written in stone, but you have to wait for the scar to heal. Why wouldn’t you? What is waiting several months for healing, compared to rushing for the tattoo and risking it all? By risk, we mean you will feel unbearable pain over skin that is still very traumatized and hurting, plus, a distorted tattoo that will look, modestly described as “awful” and unrepairable.

Truth be told, there wouldn’t even be an artist that would agree to tattoo you over an unhealed scar. It is not possible, to be honest, to jam needles on the skin that is still forming crusts or still in the process of skin cell renewal. Nobody wants that sort of complication in their business resume, and nobody would risk the skin health of their customer just for a quick appointment and earning money.

Is there something I can do to prepare the scarred skin before the session, or right after, or during it?

What you can do is take good care of the skin nourishment, and this is an amazing start. Luckily, there is a product for deep skin nourishing before, during, and after a tattoo, which leaves the skin supple, moisturized, allows for pores to breathe, and doesn’t contain harmful ingredients!

Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Aftercare

Hustle Butter Deluxe is an original luxury tattoo care product for every stage of the tattoo process. It helps prepare the skin to make it softer supple, offers superior glide when being tattooed, can help moisturize, heal skin afterward.

If anything, the skin will receive soothing ingredients like vitamin E, coconut oil, mango, aloe, papaya extract, and similar – this is a nourishment cocktail for any type of skin, especially that which will be, or is tattooed.


By now, scars must heal before you do anything with, or over that skin area. All things that affect the skin are postponed until the skin is fully healed, whether we talk about beauty treatments or tattooing especially.

As a rule of thumb, a year is a good waiting period for most (simple) types of scars. But, after serious injuries or traumas, the waiting would be longer, starting from 3-4 years and probably more.

It will pay off to wait – you will get a gorgeous tattoo afterward that will turn a scarred skin into a beautiful piece of art!

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