Updated on July 7th, 2023 at 05:20 pm

Weight loss, either for health reasons or a better-looking body, is fantastic. But, despite the benefits that come with weight loss, you may be worried about its effects on your tattoo – how does weight loss affect tattoos?

How much your tattoo changes depends on how fast and how much weight you lose. If you shed a small amount of weight over time, the tattoo won’t be affected. But with significant weight gain or loss, your tattoo’s size, shape, or appearance may change.

With fat loss, the skin has to adjust and tighten to accommodate the new weight. During drastic changes, the skin struggles to adjust. Let’s look at how weight changes affect tattoos and the best places to get one if you plan to lose weight.

Will my tattoo look bad when I lose weight?

image of changes in a tattoo after losing weight - Extra Large LivingYour tattoo won’t necessarily look bad after weight loss. However, you may notice some appearance changes depending on how fast you lose weight, the size of your tattoo, and its placement.

If you lose weight gradually, the skin will have enough time to shrink and adjust to your smaller body, albeit with some looseness. In this case, your tattoo may still be in great shape, but its placement changed.

For example, if you had a tattoo in your inner thigh after weight loss, it may be slightly higher and more to the front. With significant and drastic weight loss (like with surgery), the skin gets saggy. In this case, the original tattoo design will be deformed and unrecognizable.

Note: tattoos with irregular shapes don’t show too much change, like symmetrical tattoos on the inner thighs, inner and upper arm, and the stomach. Moreover, highly detailed tattoos tend to lose some of the details and quality after losing weight.

What is the best place for a tattoo when losing weight?

Areas in your body where less fat is stored are ideal because the skin isn’t stretched too much. Some of these spots include your wrists, forearms, ankles and calves, neck (especially the back), upper torso and foot. 

On the flip side, the worst areas to get a tattoo are your arms, belly, upper legs, and lower back if you are planning on losing or gaining weight.

Is it better to get a tattoo when you’re skinnier?

Not necessarily. Consider the following factors before getting a tattoo:

  • Your weight loss plans: if you intend to lose weight fast shortly, you should wait before getting a tattoo. But as mentioned above, there are areas where you could get a tattoo and have it change very little after weight loss.
  • Less weight translates into less surface area: when you get a tattoo when you are thinner, the tattoo artist has less surface area to work with and may draw your tattoo differently.
  • Do you intend to gain weight? Getting a tattoo when you are skinnier is okay, but it can also get distorted when you gain a lot of weight.

Can you get a tattoo over your stretch marks?

Yes, but it depends on how deep and thick the scar tissue is. If your stretch marks appear because of sudden body changes and are pink (a sign of a fresh scar), allow them time to heal before you tattoo over them. Once healed, you can blend the tattoos to your stretch marks or cover them completely.

Not every stretch mark is easy to tattoo over. That’s why it’s crucial to analyze the stretch marks before committing to the art. Aside from how fresh they are, consider:

  • Color – different stretch marks have different colors, which affect how well tattoos conceal them. For instance, lighter stretch marks are easier to cover than darker ones.
  • Size of stretch mark – large and wide stretch marks are harder to hide than smaller ones.

To succeed in the cover-up, the tattoo artist has to think of a good method to achieve the effect required and create a tattoo design that’ll hide the stretch marks without causing skin damage. Be sure to check out our post on Do stretch marks go away when you lose weight?

How can I reduce tattoo distortion after losing weight?

Moisturize your skin by drinking a lot of water and using moisturizing oils like coconut oil and shea butter. This increases the skin’s elasticity and reduces tattoo distortion. Avoid tattooing areas of the skin that are prone to shifting because of too much fat loss. And while it might be tempting to get a smaller tattoo to hide distortion, it’s harder to correct changes than on larger tattoos.

Also, consider slow and healthy weight loss since rapid weight loss will lead to excessive, wrinkled, and saggy skin, which inevitably causes unsightly transformations to your tattoo. Finally, 

What to do if your tattoo has changed

Taking precautions when losing weight helps minimize the effects on your tattoos. With proper care, your tattoos may not experience visible changes.

If your tattoo has been affected by weight loss, consult a professional tattoo artist for options. You can get some touch-ups, add more color or remove it. If you opt for removal, be advised the process is lengthy and can be painful.

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