Can You Get a Tattoo Over an Existing Bruise?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 30, 2020
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

There are a lot of factors that come into play when you get a tattoo. Not only should you consider the design and placement of your tattoo, but you should also make sure your body is in good condition to receive the tattoo on the day of the appointment. 

While planning for your sitting, you’ll want to drink plenty of water, eat a good meal and make sure the area of your body where you plan to get the tattoo is in good shape. 

The preparation process is what brings us to a big question — what happens if you bruise yourself on the area you’re planning to have tattooed? Is it okay to get a tattoo over an existing bruise?


What You Should Know About Bruises and Tattoos

Most professional tattoo artists will shy away from tattooing on a recent bruise. 

Though it’s not against any rules to tattoo over a bruise, serious tattoo artists will prefer to wait until your skin has healed. 

There are several reasons to avoid tattooing on bruises. The two most important factors to consider are the tattoo’s pain on the existing bruise and the healing process of your new tattoo. 

Painful Tattoo Application

Every tattoo you get is bound to hurt a little bit as it is being applied. Tattoos keep their permanence because tiny needles inject ink into the dermis, a deeper layer of your skin. 

Since these needles reach so deep, there is bound to be at least some discomfort during the time of your tattoo. If there is a visible bruise on your skin’s top layer, that discomfort is amplified, and the tattooing process is even more painful. 

It is extremely common to bleed slightly while the artist is tattooing your skin. However, if you have a bruise, you are likely to bleed more because the damaged blood cells under your skin are already irritated from the impact that led to the bruising.

Tattooing with color can also be a much more difficult undertaking for tattoo artists dealing with skin that is already discolored from bruises. It will be difficult to tell the ink’s actual color on your tattoo if the ink is applied over bruised skin. 

Just as it would hurt to push against a new bruise with your finger, it will be painful to feel the needles from a new tattoo’s application driving into your skin over a fresh bruise.

Though you can never completely eradicate the pain of receiving a new tattoo, you can significantly decrease it by making sure your skin does not have recent scars or bruising in that tattoo area. 

Healing Process

When your body is bruised, the tissue below your skin has been disrupted and is trying to heal itself from the impact that led to the bruise in the first place. Bruises are a physical representation of the damaged blood cells that are deep below your skin.

When you get a tattoo, you can expect around a three-to-four week healing process. During that time, you should wash your new tattoo with an unscented antibacterial soap twice a day and apply an unscented lotion several times every day as well.

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.

Your new tattoo will typically lead to peeling skin, some irritation, and possible bruising or redness during the healing process. If you had a bruise in the area at the time of the tattoo, the healing process could more easily lead to an infection. 

Most professional tattoo artists will say it takes about a month for a new tattoo to heal fully. However, if there was a bruise in the tattoo area, the healing process can take longer. 

Simply put, bruised skin will not heal as easily or as quickly as an unbruised area of your skin. To ensure your healed tattoo looks how you imagined it would, you should avoid getting any new tattoos on bruised or newly scarred skin.

Our Verdict

Though it is entirely possible to receive a new tattoo over a bruised area of your skin, you simply shouldn’t do it. 

Bruises complicate things when it comes to tattoos. Colors are harder to see, and tattoos have a more difficult time healing if the skin is damaged via bruising in any way. 

Most importantly, it is crucial to avoid infection during the healing process of your new tattoo. Infections can warp and change your tattoo’s appearance forever, which is why it is essential to consider the condition of your skin before following through with your tattoo appointment. 

Since tattoos last forever and the healing process is extremely crucial, it will always be safer to wait until a bruise heals before adding a tattoo on top of it. 

For best results on your tattoos and a more comfortable healing process with less infection risk, avoid tattooing on bruised skin.