How Can Weight Loss Affect Tattoos?
When getting a tattoo, the ink penetrates deep into the skin. The condition of the skin at the time of the tattoo will determine the quality and appearance afterward. There are many factors which can lead to tattoo distortion, and rapid changes in weight is one of them. Tattoos after large weight loss or weight gain tend to change, they may look saggy or off-point, or stretched and faded.
Remember, the skin is largest biggest organ on our body. It stretches and shrinks as needed, but a tattoo is not as flexible. Lines may not align as they did previously. Depending on the area, the tattoo may shift location a bit. The location of the tattoo also plays a significant role in how much it will be affected.
How to Minimize Tattoo Distortion After Weight Loss
The belly, upper arms, and thighs are areas prone to shifting appearances of a tattoo because they tend to be fattier spots. Smaller tattoos are usually more affected by weight loss, and they are also much more difficult to correct. Larger tattoos can always be fixed by adding more filling, whereas smaller ones don’t always allow for that option.
Losing weight slowly is key to keeping a tattoo intact. With rapid weight loss, the skin can’t keep up because it doesn’t have time to naturally contract as your body shrinks. This can result in excessive, saggy and wrinkled skin. As you can imagine, this will affect your tattoo. Cellulite and stretch marks may also become more visible.
Drinking plenty of water is not only going to help you on your weight loss journey, but it will also help your tattoo stay intact. Remaining hydrated will improve the quality of the skin, resulting in fewer changes to the tattoo.
How Can Weight Gain Affect Tattoos?
Gaining weight is never fun, however, sometimes it’s hard to avoid. Rapid and extreme weight gain will, unfortunately, affect any tattoo. You may notice the tattoo stretching or changing shape. How much it changes depends on the tattoo and its area. Larger tattoos tend to change quite a bit because of the amount of area they cover.
Tattoos with intricate patterns or symmetrical designs can easily show the effects of weight gain, since these have to be very precise.
Sleeve tattoos, which cover the whole upper arm and sometimes the shoulder as well as the lower arm, are very popular. You may notice some changes if you decide to gain a bit of muscle in the area, for example.
Don’t get too worried if you’ve added just a mere few pounds, however, as the skin (and your tattoo) can handle subtle growth (and shrinkage) pretty well to an extent.
Another thing which usually follows rapid weight gain is stretch marks. Stretch marks are basically the body’s way of telling us the skin has reached its limits. They often appear as white or red marks, and they can run horizontally as well as vertically. If you happen to get stretch marks on the skin around your tattoo, it could ruin the design.
The stretch marks might break up the ink particles, which means you could lose parts of your tattoo. It can be fixed by tattooing over the stretch marks, but remember that damaged skin will be more sensitive, so it may be a little more painful.
How to Minimize Tattoo Distortion After Weight Gain
Weight gain can affect a tattoo more than weight loss, taking a toll on the skin as it struggles to keep up. I know it’s not something we can always control, but if you’re gaining weight deliberately, it should be handled with care.
Rushing the process won’t leave the skin with enough time to stretch naturally, and you may end up with a few unwanted stretch marks.
Hydration is also an essential part of skin health, and as mentioned above, the condition of your skin is crucial in keeping a tattoo looking great. I strongly suggest buying a good moisturizer, especially if you have a tattoo in an area which could see drastic changes.
The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a (vegan) tattoo aftercare product called Hustle Butter. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process – not only to keep your tattoo really well hydrated, but it’s also very good at soothing that annoying itching and irritation.
My Tattoo Has Changed, What Should I Do?
If you have a tattoo that has already been through the changes during previous episodes of weight loss or gain, you may be left wondering what to do next. I recommend consulting a tattoo artist, ideally returning to your original artist, and discussing how to fix it.
The artist may recommend fixing the tattoo with small touch-ups, or you may be advised to change the tattoo altogether in the way of a coverup.
Taking the necessary precautions while losing or gaining weight can minimize the effects on the tattoo. If handled with care, you may not experience any changes to your tattoos at all.