Can You Get A Tattoo Over A Birthmark?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 5, 2020
    Last Updated: December 19, 2020

Tattoos mean something different to everyone. For one person, the tattoo may be a symbol of something they went through as a child or a design they have come to love, but for others, the tattoo could be to cover up an unwanted blemish. 

While the design of the tattoo is essential, the placement of the tattoo is just as crucial. If you’re interested in tattooing over a birthmark, you should consider the effects of that placement on you and your body. 

Is it safe to get a tattoo over a birthmark? Will the tattoo cause complications down the road because of its placement? Read on to find out.

What Is A Birthmark?

Birthmarks are skin abnormalities that are usually present from the time of birth, though may appear over time. 

Birthmarks can appear in a range of colors. Most birthmarks have a red hue because they are made up of blood vessels, yet some birthmarks may appear to be tan, brown, gray, black, or even blue. 

Moles are also considered a form of birthmark because of their presence when born. 

Most birthmarks are not painful and will not cause any issues throughout your entire life. If a birthmark ever begins to hurt, itch, or bleed, you should contact your healthcare provider. 

Birthmarks usually have a similar texture as the skin surrounding them, which is why some people think it would not be an issue to tattoo over a birthmark. However, doctors disagree on that point and warn that it could be dangerous to your health if you get a tattoo over a birthmark. 

Here’s Why Doctors Say You Shouldn’t Tattoo Over Birthmarks

In short, the answer to your question is yes — you can get a tattoo over a birthmark. There are tattoo artists all over the country who will willingly allow you to put a tattoo over any part of your body, no matter the issues it may cause down the road. 

Doctors, on the other hand, would not be as willing to sign off on such placement. 

Doctors have studied and researched the extensive effects of tattooing to cover birthmarks. Sometimes, the consequences of tattooing over birthmarks could have been avoided entirely. 

Birthmarks, with their discolored appearance, can sometimes lead to clues about melanoma forming under the skin. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that deals with melanocytes, or pigment-creating cells, which begin to grow out of control. 

Sometimes, melanoma can be caught in the early stages because of the clear discoloration of skin that was not formally discolored. If there is a tattoo on that area, however, you will be unable to tell if there are any abnormalities happening around your birthmark. 

Additionally, doctors have reported that around 50% of reported melanoma cases can be traced back to pre-existing moles on the body. There have been reports of high melanoma activity in areas that are covered by tattoos. 

Scientists believe the ink from the tattoos may seep into the layers of the skin where the birthmark is formed and cause issues that may lead to cancer. The only way to knowingly reduce the risk of melanoma forming around your birthmark is by refraining from tattooing the skin in that area. 

Doctors and scientists are still working to fully understand the relationship between tattoos and birthmarks, although evidence has shown that combining the two may lead to negative consequences. The worst part of the situation is that the spreading melanoma would be very difficult to recognize if covered in colored ink from a tattoo. 

As said above, many tattoo artists all over the world will likely agree to tattoo over a birthmark without realizing the inherent risks. It is important to advocate for yourself and make sure to have your next tattoo done in a place that should not easily lead to such major problems. 

Our Verdict

Though it may seem like a popular trend to cover birthmarks with tattoos, the potential consequences have proven that the act of doing so is probably not worth it.  As doctors learn more about melanoma and how it forms and spreads, tattoos are working against them because they limit the understanding of visual representations of melanoma. 

It’s important to always wear sunscreen to protect against sun damage, especially on tattooed areas of skin

Consider all aspects of the tattoo, including how it will affect your body and deeper layers of your skin, before agreeing to a certain spot on your skin. It never hurts to be overly cautious.

When you eventually go ahead with getting your dream tattoo, it’s imperative that you always follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality tattoo healing lotion to aid recovery.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan-friendly aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated, but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times, and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​

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