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Tattooing over scars

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Posted · Report post

I'm good at hiding fresh cuts, and I haven't cut in a while. But my arms and legs look like a war zone. I tattooed over my right arm and am working with a tattoo artist on a project for my left arm which is my bad one.

My mom would be disappointed, shocked when I cut. People would be kind of angry. I hate bathing suits and rarely wear shorts. I used to be embarrassed talking to tattoo artists that were tattooing over scars, sometimes still am. I wear short sleeves in the summer, most people don't ask.. I stay around the same people, though, I'm not terribly social. If its someone I don't know, in public or something, I don't care what they think. I'm pretty shy to strangers. I have a lot of tattoos and a couple of visible piercings, and a horseshoe shaped silicone implant in my right hand, so people tend to ask about those, rather than the self injury. Before tattoos, I never wore short sleeves.

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Posted · Report post

I have two tattoos, neither coverups. However I do plan to get one on my thigh, cherry blossoms I'm thinking, for the one obvious scar I have. My experience from this and from accompanying a friend to an actual tattoo convention - the only issue tattooers have with scars for the most part is whether or not it will hold ink well. Not so much judgement or condemnation. I was worried about my tattoo artist's reaction when I mentioned it. No problem at all. I do look forward to feeling comfortable wearing shorts again.

So, to open this up.. does anyone else have any cover-up tattoos? What are your thoughts about using this method to fend off unwanted judgments? How do you think the stigma of SI compares to the stigma of tattoos?

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Posted · Report post

How do you think the stigma of SI compares to the stigma of tattoos?

God, is there a stigma to tattoos anymore? I feel like they are everywhere, on TV, on every kid I pass, on magazine covers. I think they are getting close to being as mainstream as makeup. As for the stigma against SI- whooo. Most of my scars are not visible, but the few that are feel like the scarlet letter. It's probably because I am hypersensitive about those scars-- they happened when I was completely dissociated, and I don't remember much beyond coming to and seeing what I had done. (there's a niggling little bit of memory, but that's it) I usually SI where clothes can cover the scars, and now I have these that are visible, I feel like explaining myself to people all the time.

I have been lucky-- all of my scars have turned white, and I have very white skin, so they become invisible. If they didn't, I probably wouldn't tattoo over them, because I don't like the way the ink gets blurry in scars (for myself). Not to mention that where I SI is not where I would want tattoos... Most of mine are scattered to the periphery of my limbs (tops of arms, wrists, ankles, feet, hip, knees), and I SI mostly on my thighs and calves. I think it's a great idea for some people, though.

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Posted · Report post

How do you think the stigma of SI compares to the stigma of tattoos?

God, is there a stigma to tattoos anymore? I feel like they are everywhere, on TV, on every kid I pass, on magazine covers. I think they are getting close to being as mainstream as makeup. As for the stigma against SI- whooo.

I suppose that was an easy one.. heh. But yes, there is. Not so much in general society, but definitely the workplace and whatnot. I know many jobs that will discriminate against those wearing tattoos, perhaps more so than scars that could be explained away. I suppose that's more of the direction I was thinking of.

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Posted · Report post

Scars can be tattooed over, you may still have the texture. All of my scars covered by tattoos have held the ink very well.

I'm in computer engineering and programming, they don't care about tattoos in that field. I am heavily tattooed, most of my body. I look very young so people wonder how I got so many tattoos, then I say I'm 26.

I got fired from a job for wearing long sleeves, this was before I covered my bad scars. I told my boss it was because I had scars, no other job has given a f*ck if I wear long sleeves, and he said the uniform was short sleeves, you can't have tattoos (he told me to get them removed, ya right!) and he fired me. My dad (he's 65!) was PISSED at that guy! My mom likes my tattoos, they're colourful and none are offensive. My dad wants to get a tattoo with me, which is awesome!

I'd rather be asked about my tattoos than my scars. I think its a positive way to cope with the scars, turning them into art. It is hard finding an artist to work with such bad scarring, but I found someone, he's really good, and he couldn't give a sh*t about why I have scars. And remember, tip your artist. :)

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Posted · Report post

I have been wondering for a while now if I should get tatoos to cover up my scars, the tops of both my arms are filled with cuts and burns from years ago. It really ruins my self confidence having those scars there, I can hide them when I am wearing short sleave shirts but I haven't been able to take my shirt off around anyone in 7 years, awkward when I get invited to go to the beach or to go swimming.

I am not sure how well tatoos would cover up my scars though, all the cuts are pretty big and deep while the burns are all raised, you can really feel them when you run your finger over them, plus they are completely covering quite a large area.

Also I would have no idea what kind of tatoo to get, what would be the best way to pick a design?

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Posted · Report post

Alpam: You'd have to consult with a tattoo artist first. Some want to wait until the scars are a couple of years old.

Google "tattoo flash", or think of something that means a lot to you. I suggested My Little Pony (I horseback ride and collect the toys, I have over 200) and had the artist draw it right on my arm, then tattoo it. Big tattoos take time and cost a lot of money. Shop for an artist, find someone with a portfolio that has a style you like. Make sure the shop is good, and ask about sterilization procedures and spore tests.

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Posted · Report post

I personally think that tattoos are much more accepted than scars, although yes, there are some work environements where they are frowned upon. i also think it can be very empowering to tattoo over ones old scars.

but this is really a decision one must make for oneself.

if the scars are raised, thick or otherwise difficult to handle, one really needs an experienced tattoo artist.

annA

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Posted · Report post

I personally think that tattoos are much more accepted than scars, although yes, there are some work environements where they are frowned upon. i also think it can be very empowering to tattoo over ones old scars.

but this is really a decision one must make for oneself.

if the scars are raised, thick or otherwise difficult to handle, one really needs an experienced tattoo artist.

annA

Agree 100%!

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Posted · Report post

Sometimes it's possible to flatten raised scars a bit with silicone sheets. There's been more than one thread here raving about kelo-cote as well (it's expensive!), which is essentially a silicone gel or spray that aims to accomplish the same thing as the silicone sheets do. Those could be options to prepare scars that are raised or particularly bad to be more easily concealed by ink.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The best thing I've found is called Cordran Tape. It's extremely helpful with flattening raised keloid scars and lightening them. My scar was keloid - red, raised.. Cordran Tape is not over the counter silicon tape you find in stores.. but it's along those lines. First, you need to rub the scar to separate the scar tissue from the tissue underneath, which can hurt.. but not that much. *Make sure it's healed first* That will allow your skin to move like normal rather than the feeling of it being stuck in place. Then you use the tape. I personally used the tape alot during 6 months, and here and there for the rest. It took 1 year, but now it's white and almost completely flat.

The tape is expensive: $100 without insurance. But it mattered enough to me that I purchased it without insurance anyway. I don't regret that decision. I only needed one roll.

Edit: It is only available by prescription.

Edited by Cetkat

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Posted · Report post

Wow, that's really interesting, I had never heard of that. Definitely useful info for a lot of people!

Fortunately, I don't keloid, my scars aren't raised. I tried Mederma before it was in Canada, I bought tubes of it in Ohio and it didn't do anything. :(

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Posted · Report post

I agree with the silicone tape ideas. That stuff helped me loads when I was a teenager and had a bad accident that resulted in me having horrible scars on my body. I had them on prescription and used them for I think it was a couple of years. The scars haven't gone, but they are a lot less than they were.

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Posted · Report post

I have just spoken to my tattooist today and finalised the plans for a cover-up tattoo on my wrists/forearms. I'm getting a spiral/heart/star/butterfly design on my right wrist and halfway up my forearm, and on my left i'm getting the words "Life goes easy on me... most of the time". Am booked in with the tattooist on Weds, so i'm really looking forward to it.

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Posted · Report post

TheNewBlack: Oh, cool! I have "The Devil and God are raging inside of me" on my left arm in a nice script. I like your quote!

I'll see if I can find some of this silicone tape, just not sure where to get it.. I'm pale, so I don't scar terribly. Fortunately! I need some extra money before the shop gets really busy (tourist season!) to get some work done on my arm, the side that has the quote. We're doing abstract black and red, hearts, quotes. I've known this artist for years and he has no problem tattooing over scars on me.

I knew someone who got laser treatment for his scars, they were barely noticeable after, but he slipped, unfortunately.

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Posted · Report post

Interesting thread...

I'm in the process of drawing up my next tattoo thats going down my forearm, its going to read 'Ex lux in tenebris lucet' in script which translates to 'Light shines through darkness' , and it's a piece to symbolise my battles with SI, and encourage me to stay strong. I don't have any many scars on my forearms, so it's more the symbolism of the piece than a cover up.

I'm am thinking of getting a cover up on my thigh though, when I lose the weight I want, I'm going to have something to cover the bulk of scars on my right leg, I think that will help with the swimming thing, drawing the attention away from the rest of my body. To be honest, I think it's more the comfort of covering a scar, I'm not sure how well hidden they will actually be, I just know that the distraction is enough to put me at ease around others.

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Posted · Report post

Tattoos can cover scars very well. I can't agree more with making sure you find an artist who knows how to tattoo over scars.. even if it takes the ink there is a chance it will cause a difference in color than skin with no scars. If you can find an artist who will draw the tattoo directly on your skin instead of sticking it there from a sheet even better! That way the artist will be able to work your scars into the tattoo design instead of just over it.

I'm lucky that most of my scars turned white years ago,, and my skin is very light. I had one major scar on my arm that had stitch marks and all still visible 10ys later.. raised as well! My artist was able to work it into the tattoo (part if my sleeve) and made it so that if it changed color/didn't hold well it didn't matter because it was part of a highlight. (raised scars get angry looking when tattooed.. don't worry the swelling will go back down!!!)

A few random tips for getting tattoos;

*Make sure its not something you like but love! Pretty much anything can be made into a tattoo if you find the right artist so you don't have to stick to tattoos you see hanging from those giant books in the shop (how many people do you want to have the same tattoo as you anyway?)

*When going into a shop for ink.. the tattoo artist can't tell you want you want to get, they are not you... however if you have ideas that you like but can't find pictures a tattoo artist should be able help you with that.

*Listen to your artist!!!! They want to make sure you love your tattoo for a long time to come and bad ink gives them a bad name.. you don't have to agree with them but listen to them and they will listen to you!

* Don't pick something to get tattooed based on what you can pay at the time.. wait and save money if you have to! Tattoos really do fall into the category of "you get what you pay for".

* Tip your artist.. getting tattoos cost a lot but so does tattooing! You might be surprised at how much it actually cost to run a shop.

I'm not a tattoo artist.. but I've spent enough time in shops to learn a thing or two.

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Posted · Report post

Ugh, I just typed out this long reply and apparently it was eaten. Anyway, I got a locket tattooed on my wrist to cover a scar. The scar was white, and we did it so that the scar is in the keyhole and that part is tattooed white. It covered very well. It's nice to have something pretty where there used to be something that always reminded me of cutting.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

My self-harm scars are almost all on one arm. It is pretty well done in. But I've begun getting tattoos on my left arm, which is clean. I've decided I'm going to get a series of monster tattoos --the Gorgons, the Sphinx, etc. Then if people feel the need for an explanation, I can tell them I have Scylla on one side, and Charybdis on the other. Let em figure it out themselves. ;)

Edited by Oddjob

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Posted · Report post

I actually am getting a cover up for just a fucked-up tattoo. But I know people who have tattoos over scars, there are some amazing artists in the Bay Area.

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Posted · Report post

Well I took the plunge and got a tattoo to cover the scars on my right arm, hopefully in the next few weeks I will get one to cover my left.

Below is a pic I took, crappy pic can't really see it, but it is meant to be ripped skin showing armour underneath.

post-5339-0-49394300-1312710387_thumb.jp

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Posted · Report post

interesting. i like the concept of that. :)

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Posted · Report post

I think that's a really cool idea.

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Posted · Report post

I have kind of thought of my scars and cuts my own personal tattoos that no one can see like I do. I wouldn't want to cover them up for myself - I like looking at them, but I would consider it so no one would ask about them. :)

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