Can I Tattoo Over a Scar or Beauty Mark?

Would you like to cover up a scar or beauty mark with a tattoo?  Do you wonder if it is even possible?

Many scars can be covered with tattoos, but there are a few elements that come into play that can effect the ability of the scar to take tattoo ink well.

How old is the scar?  If the scar is still pink and raised, most likely you will not be able to tattoo into it yet. 

Tattoo artists do not want to cause further damage to your skin by tattooing into scar tissue that is fresh, as this can cause more severe scarring.  Fresh scars that are still red or pink will not accept the ink as well or at all, thus making for a painful tattoo appointment with poor healing of the image.  On scars this fresh, you might have near 100% rejection of the ink - a waste of your time and money.

How large is the scar?  Is it very long, or very wide?  In my experience, thinner scars cover very well.  The wider scars may have more trouble consistently healing the ink, so you might end up with a light patch, or find that the healed area in the scar is more shiny-looking than the skin around the scar.


Here is a scar that goes through the drawing of the tattoo stencil drawn over it.  It is long, thin and pale white, but it is significantly deep.  We are using the shapes and colors of the tattoo to draw away from this shadow and the scar.


Here is the tattoo, which uses the white of the scar as part of the light rays coming from the sun in the raven's mouth.

Scar tissue can sometimes be more painful to tattoo into than other areas of skin.  Or, they might have no sensation at all other than the pressure of the tattoo needles working on your skin.  This is dependent on how you have healed the injury, and nobody can tell you beforehand which way your sensation will go.

If your scar is pale, white, or very old and a pale pink color, you can likely tattoo into it with little or no problem at all. 

Work with your tattoo artist to choose patterns, shapes and colors that help to downplay the scar underneath the tattoo, and your scar will disappear!

If you have a birth mark or colored area of skin that you are unhappy with, your tattoo artist may be able to help you distract away from the area, or place a tattoo over it.

Tattooists will not tattoo through raised moles or freckles, or any kind of mark on your body that is raised or has jagged edges.  This is to prevent irritating an area that may be prone to skin cancer, or making it difficult for you to tell if the mole has changed shape or color. 

You can, however, tattoo next to the raised mole or freckle, and turn it into something else visually.  You might turn it into a flower, for example, with the center being the beauty mark!  Of course, if you have any kind of concerns about a freckle or mole, talk to your doctor before coming to get your tattoo.

Discolored areas of skin, such as a splotch of red birthmark, are able to be tattooed into.  These are just areas of differently pigmented (or colored) skin.  As such, the tattoo ink will show  up differently there, because the ink needs to show through the pigment of your skin.

In most cases, there won't be any noticeable difference between areas tattooed on pale skin vs the areas tattooed on redder skin.  But, if you are concerned about this, talk with your tattoo artist and they can plan their palette accordingly so that you have a clear and beautiful image that doesn't seem to change colors over the various areas of skin.