Do Bicep Tattoos Stretch If You Gain Muscle?

Tattoos have grown in popularity in the last couple of years, with more people wanting to express their individuality. This is especially true in the sport and fitness industry. Many fitness-focused people have been getting sleeve-and bicep tattoos. However, you might be wondering if bicep tattoos will stretch if you gain muscle.

A few factors will cause a bicep tattoo to stretch or become deformed. However, if done over a long period, an increase in muscle mass should not cause your bicep tattoo to stretch. The tattoo might increase in size as your skin stretches, but it should stay in proportion.

Apart from gaining muscle, a few other factors could cause a bicep tattoo to stretch. There are ways of preventing a bicep tattoo from stretching as your muscles grow. Should your bicep tattoos ever stretch, there are also ways of taking care of that.

What Can Cause A Bicep Tattoo To Stretch?

While a bicep tattoo should not stretch if you gradually gain muscle, it can happen if any sudden changes occur. For example, sudden weight gain or muscle gain will cause a tattoo on your bicep tattoo to stretch. Likewise, if the size of your bicep suddenly increases, the skin will stretch, and the bicep tattoo along with it.

With gradual weight or muscle gain in your bicep, your skin will have time to stretch while also keeping its elasticity. The skin on your bicep works similar to a balloon. If you inflate the balloon slowly, the material remains elastic and can increase in size. However, suppose you suddenly pump the balloon full of air. In that case, the material will not remain flexible, and the balloon will burst.

Should you have any writing on your balloon, it will gradually increase in size as the balloon does. However, if the balloon bursts, the writing will also become distorted. So even though your skin will not burst if your bicep size suddenly changes, it may very well develop stretch marks.

Unfortunately, stretch marks are pretty common on your biceps if you suddenly gain weight or muscle mass. Stretch marks affect the appearance of tattoos and can cause their shape to change or even some ink to be lost.

Some people are naturally more likely to develop stretch marks. Should this, unfortunately, be the case for you, you might want to reconsider getting a bicep tattoo or carefully consider where you place your bicep tattoo.

Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent your bicep skin and tattoos from stretching if you gain muscle.

How To Prevent A Bicep Tattoo From Stretching

The first tip to preventing a bicep tattoo from stretching if you gain muscle is something you may have guessed from reading the paragraphs above. That is – take it slow.

As long as your skin has time to stretch while retaining its elasticity, it shouldn’t cause your bicep tattoo to become deformed in any way. Gaining muscle in your bicep slowly or at an average pace is also the best way to prevent stretch marks. Stretch marks can severely alter or destroy a tattoo. They are, therefore, something you want to avoid at all costs.

Apart from gaining muscle at an average pace, you can also take some extra measures to help prevent stretch marks from forming and keep your tattoo looking pristine. Applying tissue oil or regularly moisturizing any areas on your body where the skin might be stretching is the best way of doing so.

Regular application of tissue oil on your bicep will help keep the skin elastic and can help prevent the formation of stretch marks. It will also help keep your tattoo from stretching, deforming, or fading.

Another reason why your skin must retain its elasticity while your bicep muscles grow is that the skin will be able to shrink again without becoming loose. Many people who suddenly lose weight struggle with loose skin because the skin has lost some of its elasticity in the process.

Even though you may not intend on losing the muscles you have gained in your biceps, keeping the skin supple is an excellent way of ensuring that the skin, and the tattoos on it, remain in good condition as it changes with your body.

Tissue oil, mineral oils, and high-quality moisturizers help the skin to remain supple. It can then adapt to any changes in weight or muscle your biceps might be experiencing.

The key is to start using tissue oil when you start to gain muscle. This will help prevent stretch marks from appearing. However, if you wait until you already have stretch marks on your biceps, removing them using tissue oil will be more challenging.

Suppose you have waited too long before applying tissue oil, and you already have stretch marks on your biceps or the tattoo has become deformed. In that case, there are ways of fixing your tattoo.

How To Fix A Bicep Tattoo That Has Stretched

If you have developed stretch marks on your bicep, or the skin has stretched too quickly, and you see that it is affecting the appearance of your tattoo, it would be best to make an appointment and see a tattoo artist to have it fixed.

Usually, the tattoo artist will be able to touch up your tattoo. They will fill in any gaps that may have formed in the ink and fix any lines or areas that look deformed. If the tattoo has become severely deformed, or there are stretch marks in the tattoo area, the tattoo artist might suggest you do a cover-up.

A cover-up is a new tattoo that is done over the old one to hide any deformations or stretch marks that have appeared. The tattoo artist will be able to work with the stretch marks and cover them up. However, cover-up tattoos are usually quite expensive. In addition, if you gain muscle quickly again in the future, the cover-up might develop the same problems.

It is, therefore, best to take the proper measures to ensure your bicep tattoo does not stretch or deform as your muscles grow. If you have a touch-up or cover-up tattoo done, you need to take care of it to ensure it remains in peak condition.


If your muscles gradually increase in size and your skin can retain its elasticity throughout the process, your bicep tattoo should not stretch. However, sudden muscle gain can cause stretch marks, which can deform a bicep tattoo. Using tissue oil is an excellent way to prevent stretch marks from forming and keep your tattoo looking its best.

If your bicep tattoo has stretched or become deformed, you can have it touched up or do a cover-up tattoo at a tattoo artist. With proper care, your tattoo should not stretch and will look as good as the day you first got it. The bottom line is don’t be scared to get a bicep tattoo for fear of it stretching when your muscles grow!

Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.

Design and tattoo ideas

For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):

Tattoo meaning

If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).

Tattoo aftercare

The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):


Similar Posts