Cover-ups are a great way to turn a tattoo that you don’t like into a work of art that you’re happy with, and they require an incredible amount of skill and creativity. But what if you want to cover up a cover-up? How many times can you tattoo over the same area?
You can tattoo over the same area as many times as you like, as long as you’ve given it enough time to heal. However, that doesn’t mean you should. It is important to put thought into the tattoos that you get and consult with your tattoo artist to get a creative design that doesn’t look messy.
So, you may have gotten a tattoo that you regret and are looking for a creative solution to fix the ink that now permanently marks your skin. And a good cover-up is an art in itself, so let’s take a look at cover-ups and our recommendations for how many times you can tattoo over the same area.
There isn’t a limit on how many times you can cover up a tattoo in the same area, as long as your skin has healed. You must, however, bear in mind that several cover-ups in the same spot will not result in a beautiful tattoo because the combined elements of each design will just pile up into a huge mess. If you’ve run out of options, you can always go for laser removal, but it is painful and expensive.
That’s not to say that a cover-up cannot be a beautiful tattoo or even a cover-up of a cover-up – but you need to be smart about the decisions that you make regarding the designs that you get. You need to use skilled artists, even if they charge more, and you should be aiming for high-quality tattoos that you’re certain you’ll appreciate for your entire life. Ultimately, you can tattoo over the same area as many times as you like, but you’re going to have to live with it on your skin.
You may have gotten a tattoo recently and hated it the first time you looked at it, so you may be considering doing a cover-up immediately. But is it a good idea? And how long should you wait until you do a cover-up on a fresh tattoo?
As is the case with multiple cover-ups, it is possible for you to tattoo over a fresh tattoo, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. You are going to want your skin to heal first and be scab-free. And this doesn’t mean that you should pick the scabs off because it will extend the healing process, and if it bleeds, it could push the ink out.
The best advice will come from the tattoo artists who know what inks they used and your skin type. The appropriate time to do a cover-up will also depend on the tattoo’s size and how populated it is. So don’t trust everything you read on the Internet and rather get advice from a professional that knows you personally.
Another thing to consider is that tattooing over a fresh tattoo would be incredibly painful from start to finish. If the skin is still wounded, it will be extra sensitive, and the experience will be incredibly uncomfortable, to say the least.
Finally, it is important that you take the time to consider what your cover-up tattoo is going to look like, how to incorporate the new design into the old one, and other important considerations that you probably didn’t take the first time around, which is why you want to cover the original tattoo up, right? Don’t make the same mistake with your cover-up.
While various factors dictate how long it will take your tattoo to heal and to do a cover-up, it will generally take at least two weeks for most people.
The alternative to covering up a tattoo that you don’t like is to get laser removal. Most people don’t like laser removal because it’s painful, pricey, and not completely effective. There will always be some scarring and the process is not perfect.
However, cover-ups require more ink and usually an artist has to use dark, heavily pigmented inks to completely conceal the existing tattoo. This is particularly problematic if you want to replace your unwanted tattoo with something that is colorful or uses lighter colors. Furthermore, after a cover-up, you may find that the old tattoo becomes more visible over time as the cover-up fades with age.
You don’t necessarily need to remove the tattoo completely, it will just help to do a few sessions that fade the existing ink and give the artist a less distorted canvas to work on. Cover-ups are also limited in design and size. They have to be larger than the original tattoo and it is difficult to cover up fdarker colors and black ink.
But, again, if you opt for this strategy, it is going to be expensive and you need to be ready for a lot of pain. Weigh up your options, consider the composition of your existing tattoo and the colors that you would like to put into the new artwork.
The first step to take when you approach getting a cover-up tattoo is to collect visual inspiration. Put together some ideas, using platforms like Instagram or Pinterest to find designs that covered up tattoos that may be similar to your unwanted artwork.
You may not find the exat design that you want, but it’s always helpful to provide your tattoo artist with a reference so that they can design something suitable for you.
It is also imperative that you find a good artist that you trust. Cover-ups are an art and require a tremendous amount of skill that some tattoo artists simply don’t have. Not to mention, the reason that you want a cover-up in the first place could be that you picked a bad artist to do the original tattoo.
Ask friends for recommendations and inspect the artist’s portfolio to ensure that the artist will do a good job. Book an appointment for a consultation, speak to the artist and make sure that they are capable of creating a cover-up that you’ll be happy with.
You also need to be able to trust the artist and be flexible with your expectations. Be firm about what you want but also don’t expect that everything will go your way and that the artist’s judgement may be better than yours, particularly given their level of experience.
Don’t be overly fixated on particular details, because your pursuit of a perfect cover up may hinder the quality of the tattoo and you need to be conscious of what an artist can and cannot do.
So, if you want to know how many times you can tattoo over the same area, you will be happy to know that there are no limits. However, more than one cover-up can turn into something very messy, so make sure that you’ve put a lot of consideration into your decision. And don’t make the mistake of covering up a fresh tattoo.
Also put some thought into whether laser removal might be a better option for you. Then, go find a great artist, a great design and you will be well on your way to getting a tattoo that you’ll be happy to adorn for many years to come.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
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):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
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).
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):