Can I Tattoo Over Self-Harm Scars? 

In a sense, scars are like tattoos, both are permanent and have an effect on your appearance for the rest of your life. And, it’s natural to feel stressed trying to hide self-harm scars because you don’t want others to notice it. So, if you ask, can I tattoo over self-harm scars? 

Yes, you can tattoo over self-harm scars. But, doing it can be unsafe without the proper supervision of an experienced tattoo artist. The procedure is risky and can cause disfigurement and blowouts in the shape of the tattoo. It can also cause more scarring over the skin which can make the tattoo look irregular. 

The procedure can be painful to many people depending on their pain tolerance. It can also cause skin irritation after getting the tattoo. Different types of scars can require different maintenance throughout the healing time. 

This article covers all the information you need to know before tattooing over your self-harm scars. We will also discuss different types of scars and how to prepare the skin before putting a tattoo over them. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

How Can I Tattoo Over Self-Harm Scars?

How Can I Tattoo Over Self Harm Scars
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Yes, you can tattoo over self-harm scars, but it depends on the size and the extent of the scars on your body. If it is a small scar, it’s easy to cover up. If the scarring is too deep, the appearance of the tattoo becomes irregular because of discolouration.

Tattooing over scars is a useful way to hide them, and it looks beautiful if executed properly. But you should never tattoo over a fresh scar, it will cause permanent damage to your skin and the ink might cause infection on your body. Even if it doesn’t cause any damage, the experience will be painful and cause skin irritation and itchiness. 

What Happens If I Tattoo Over Self-Harm Scars?

What Happens If I Tattoo Over Self Harm Scars
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A lot of things might happen if you tattoo over self-harm scars, depending on the efficiency of your tattoo artist and the size of your scarring. Below are some possibilities you should be aware of.


A tattoo blowout occurs when the tattoo artist creates too much pressure to penetrate the tattoo ink on the skin. It exceeds the depth of where tattoos actually belong. For this, the ink spreads a layer of fat and creates a blurring.  

The chance of tattoo blowouts is higher when you have scars on the skin. It’s because your skin becomes harder and more uneven after having scars. Skin with scars is less able to absorb ink than skin without scars. So, the artist may try to press the ink too hard which is not desirable of course.

This means that it’s possible for the ink in the tattoo that covers your scar to migrate, making it appear smudged or indistinct.

Permanent Scarring 

This issue is most common among people having keloid scars. Keloid scars have a lifted, circular and asymmetrical shape, and scar tissues can be seen a long time later after having the injury.

With these types of scars, there is a higher chance of further injury which could cause permanent scarring on the surface of the skin. Wait at least a year until a newly accumulated keloid scar has fully healed before covering it with a tattoo.

If the scar is too deep and scattered, it is recommended that you wait at least three to five years before tattooing over them to ensure complete recovery.


Since everyone has a different body, the level of one’s pain tolerance is also different. That is why placing a tattoo could become a painful experience for many.

However, it’s natural that scar tissues are more painful to tattoo over than normal skin. In some cases, it might become extremely painful.

According to experts, scar pain is very common to have while getting a tattoo, especially if the scars have caused any compression or nerve damage, then it gets very painful. If the scar is  too deep or too large, it will also be very painful to tattoo over. Tattooing over small scarring is easier and less painful.


Certain scars are regarded as atrophic. In these situations, the skin is indented. These scars are frequently lighter in colour and gentle to the touch. Usually, once atrophic scars have healed, tattooing over them is safe.

But finding a design that can cover atrophic scars smoothly might be difficult because they are frequently discoloured and don’t go with your skin tone. In such a situation, the colour of the tattoo can appear scattered and could look odd. 

A skilled tattoo artist can assist you in selecting a design that complements your scar the best. It is also important that you consider selecting a design that better fits the colour of your skin and covers your previous scarring. 

Skin Irritation

According to experts, digging into scar tissues can cause irritation on the skin which can cause itchiness, discomfort and pain on the surface of the skin.

Since a tattoo essentially pokes needles in the scar tissues and injures the skin however temporary it is, it can still cause itchiness, pain and discomfort on the surface of the skin. Skin irritation is very common to get while getting a tattoo.

Although it is advised to the artists to use clean gear and tools while working, and well-known artists usually do, clients often get irritations after getting tattooed. That’s why it’s also important to consider any allergies and other issues you have before getting the tattoo because drawing over scarred skin can cause more irritation. 

Is Tattooing Over Self-Harm Scars Safe? 

Is Tattooing Over Self Harm Scars Safe
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Tattooing over self-harm scars is safe as long as your scar is old enough to work on, you’re going to be a reliable, efficient, and experienced tattoo artist, and you pass the healing process ensuring hygiene, safety and patience.

All tattoos hold the risk of having infections, blowouts, skin irritation etc. The more experience your tattoo artist has, the lower the likelihood that you will have any issues.

There can be, of course, side effects of getting tattooed over scarred skin, but with the proper experience and useful design, such effects get reduced.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo on Your Scar

Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo on Your Scar
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Firstly, you have to choose a design that covers or looks good over the scar, you can take the help of your tattoo artist to do that. Because no one wants a botched tattoo on their skin, so choose carefully. 

Secondly, you have to consider the condition of your skin before you put a tattoo over your scar. If the scar is still fresh and it’s still hurting,  then it’s probably not a good idea to put a tattoo on it. You have to make sure that the scar is properly healed. If it’s an old scar and it’s not hurting, then you can put a tattoo on it.

And finally, you have to take care of your skin religiously before and after getting the tattoo. You have to moisturize on a regular basis so the surface of the skin does not get too dried out. Otherwise, the tattoo can look misshapen. It is also important to use a good antibacterial soap to avoid any infections.

Does It Take a Lot of Time to Tattoo Over Scars? Does It Hurt More?

Does It Take a Lot of Time to Tattoo Over Scars Does It Hurt More 1
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The surface of scarred skin becomes more delicate and sensitive than normal skin, so it is natural that tattoo artists take more time while handling any scarred or atrophied skin. If the scarred tissue is not handled properly with enough care and time, the tattoo will look irregular and the ink will appear smudged.

Getting a tattoo over scarred skin is also considerably more painful than normal since the skin is already injured enough, it can hurt a lot. Especially if the scar is too deep, it can hurt a lot during and after getting the tattoo, so it is advised to use your discretion while getting the tattoo. 


Do artists tattoo over scars? 

Though it’s not common, tattoo artists can tattoo over scars based on their experience. It is up to you to find a tattoo artist who has experience with it.

How can I find an artist to tattoo over self-harm scars? 

You need to call all the well-known tattoo parlours near your designated area and ask about whether or not the artists have any experience with tattooing over scarred skin. Consider an artist’s level of experience, portfolio, and the cleanliness of their shop.

Can tattoos cover self-harm scars? 

Depending on the size and the extent of the scarring on the skin, tattoos can cover self-harm scars, if you choose the proper artist and the proper design. If the design can cover the scar properly, and the artist is experienced, you should not have any trouble. 

Last Thoughts

Now you know how you can tattoo over self-harm scars. It is possible to get a tattoo over self-inflicted scars. If a tattoo is applied over self-inflicted scars without the necessary guidance of a skilled tattoo artist, it could be dangerous.

The process carries a high risk of deformity and blowouts in the tattoo’s design, it is also quite painful. Additionally, after receiving the tattoo, it may irritate the skin. You are more likely to achieve the best outcome if you have thought about these possibilities and taken the appropriate action. Hope this article helped you.

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