Can You Tattoo Scars Or A Skin Graft?
Even when scars heal well, some people tattoo scars to camouflage them further. Skin grafts can also be quite obvious to the eye and are also something people consider tattooing.
Tattooing a scar or skin graft can be a reasonable option in certain situations. However, there are a few things to consider before pulling the ink gun trigger.
Scars should be completely healed and “mature” before attempting to tattoo them. This means the scar is soft and flush with the surrounding skin. Thick, raised scars are much harder to tattoo and typically do not “take” ink very well. It can take a year, sometimes even two, for scars to mature fully to the point where they are as soft and flat as they’re going to get. Hypertrophic scars are very hard to tattoo. Keloid scars should never be tattooed since the associated trauma can actually cause the keloid to return or even grow larger.
It is also important to wait until a skin graft and surrounding scars have healed completely and become as soft and elastic as possible. Again, this can take up to two years.
Tattoo ink is injected into the dermis layer of the skin. In the case of a skin graft, the thickness of the graft determines how much dermis there is. “Full thickness” skin grafts have the same amount of dermis as normal skin and can be tattooed like normal skin. Thin skin grafts (“split thickness” or “partial thickness”) have much less dermis than normal skin and should not be tattooed because the trauma caused by the tattoo could potentially create a wound.
If you are considering tattooing over scars or a skin graft, ensure the area is as soft and flat as possible before tattooing. Multiple studies show that topical silicone scar treatments are the gold standard in softening and flattening problem scarring. Combine your treatment of choice with daily scar massage to speed up break down of firm scar tissue.