Bodies don’t stay the same. Weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and other physical changes are completely normal parts of being a human being. But, how do these changes alter tattoos? How much can you expect body art to change as you go through life?
How Does Weight Gain Impact Your Tattoos?
Your skin will naturally stretch as you gain weight. Yes, skin has some elasticity, so it’s used to some changes, but stretching and shrinking in a short amount of time alters your skin in the form of stretch marks.
So obviously, as your skin changes, so will your tattoo. Stretching out of the skin will affect the appearance of your ink, as well as any stretch marks.
The placement of your tattoo is a big factor when it comes to how your tattoo changes with weight gain.
A few extra pounds doesn’t have an impact on your whole body; the biggest changes usually occur in certain areas. For example,
“Perhaps you’re concerned that your weight training may interfere with a new tattoo. Some stretching may occur with increased muscle mass, particularly in the bicep and tricep area. Luckily for you, a small amount of muscle growth won’t do too much. Slow, muscular growth will help to minimize severe skin stretching,”Authority Tattoo
If you’re focused on gaining mass in a specific muscle group, such as your biceps, the contraction and expansion of the muscles there will affect the skin and can cause the ink in your tattoo to break down quicker.
The more weight you gain in a certain area with a tattoo, the more the ink will distort.
How Can Weight Loss Affect Your Tattoos?
Two of the most common changes to tattoos due to weight loss are placement shifting and a decrease in size.
Let’s say you get a tattoo underneath your belly button. After going down a few sizes, your tattoo might look as if it has gone up a few sizes because the area of your skin has decreased. The placement might also shift due to your skin shifting.
Highly detailed tattoos may lose some of their finer characteristics if you experience weight loss in the area of your tattoo.
“When you get a tattoo in an area with lots of fat underneath the skin the tattoo will cave in on itself as the fat is lost and then take on a smushed or saggy appearance,”Sick Tattoo
How Can Pregnancy Impact Your Tattoos?
Pregnancy causes extreme changes in the body, which can affect your tattoos.
“Chloasma (brown pigmentation that happens during pregnancy) can affect the color of a tattoo, for example. Weight gain and stretching of the skin can distort a tattoo. And stretch marks can also damage a tattoo – sometimes permanently,”Baby Center
Your skin can be extra sensitive with a baby on board, and if this impacts your tattoo in the way of irritation and rashes, it’s best to visit your doctor.
Romper points out that spider veins can pop up during pregnancy, which can also distort the appearance of your tattoo.
Getting a tattoo while you’re pregnant, though, is a different story.
WedMD points out that the risk of infection that comes with getting a tattoo could be an unnecessary danger to take on for you and your unborn baby.
“One of the main risks of being tattooed is the chance of an infection. If your tattoo artist uses contaminated or dirty needles, you could be at risk of getting bloodborne infections, such as hepatitis B. A mother with hepatitis B can easily pass on the infection to her baby at birth. Babies with hepatitis B have a 90% chance of developing a lifelong infection, and one in four of them will die of health complications from the infection if it is left untreated.”
How To Minimize The Effects Of Body Fluctuations On Your Ink
Many people think that they should lose weight before getting a tattoo. This might not be the best idea for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, a few pounds isn’t going to make a big difference to the look of your tattoo as stated above.
Secondly, do you want to lose weight and drastically change your body? Trying to drop dress sizes super quickly might not be the healthiest for you, and losing weight in an unsustainable way could mean that you put it back on after you get your tattoo, negating what you wanted.
One of the best things you can do to minimize any distortions of your tattoo due to body weight fluctuations is to choose your tattoo placement wisely. Areas such as your hips, stomach, breasts, and thighs are often the most common areas to be affected by weight loss and weight gain.
Then, take care of your tattoo by keeping your skin hydrated.
“To minimize tattoo distortion, in any case honestly, would be to moisturize. Moisturizing the skin is so important in general, but especially if your skin is experiencing some elasticity in either direction. To support the skin being stretched, whether it be weight loss or gain, pregnancy etc. just be sure to moisturize your body with what works best for you,”Byrdie
Changes in your body are a completely normal part of life, but you don’t have to let it weigh on your body art decisions. Chances are, unless the fluctuations you experience are very significant or your tattoo is on a body part that is experiencing intense change, you might not notice that much of a difference in your tattoo.
Take care of your ink, and if your body art does undergo a shift you’re not happy with, visit your tattoo artist to get your design reworked. You can touch up your tattoo, or you can adapt your ink to be more aligned with your life now.