Weight loss is usually a great thing for a person’s health and lifestyle. It can have many benefits, especially if you were quite overweight, and it was causing issues with your health. Even though losing weight is usually a great thing, people who are losing the weight may be concerned about what effect it may have on their tattoos – do tattoos get ugly if you lose weight?
Depending on just how much weight you lose, your tattoo may change. If you lose a very small amount of weight, your tattoo will be unaffected; however, if you lose a significant amount of weight, that may change the shape, size, and appearance of your tattoo.
Weight loss is a huge adjustment for your body to go through – no matter how much weight you lose, your body and skin will always need to adjust and tighten to fit your new weight. As amazing as our bodies are at doing this, sometimes weight is lost too quickly, and your skin doesn’t cope as well. Let us look at how weight loss may affect your tattoos.
Do Tattoos Get Ugly If You Lose Weight?
Tattoos do not necessarily “get ugly” when you lose weight; however, they may become unrecognizable – this will also depend on how you lost the weight, where your tattoo was placed, and the size of your tattoo to begin with.
If you have gradually lost weight over a few years, the chances are that your skin had the time to shrink back down with your body as is it was getting smaller, and although you will most likely have some loose skin, for the most part, your skin will be relatively tight and well fitted to your body.
If you have lost a drastic amount of weight in a short amount of time, for instance, if you had undergone a weight loss surgery and lost hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, your skin would not have been able to keep up with how fast your body was losing weight. Chances are this would you would leave you with large amounts of loose skin.
If you had a tattoo before your weight loss, and you lost the weight slowly and gradually, your tattoo will more than likely still be in great condition. Where the tattoo sits on your body may have changed, as your skin may have shifted.
For example, if you had a tattoo on the right side of your torso, just below your ribs, as you lose weight, your skin will tighten and shift, and your tattoo may end up sitting closer to your stomach and higher on your ribs.
Even though your tattoo shifted, it should still look the same as it did before.
If you lost your weight drastically and quickly, and most of your skin is now saggy, there is a good chance your tattoo will no longer look as nice as it did before, especially if it is placed on a section of skin that has sagged, as the skin is not tight enough for you to be able to properly see the design of the tattoo – this may make your original tattoo unrecognizable.
Will Losing Weight Prevent Me From Getting Tattoos In The Future?
If you have a lot of loose skin left over from a drastic weight loss, this may affect if you can get a tattoo in the future.
Many tattoo artists are very weary of tattooing lose and saggy skin, as it would need to be stretched tightly in order to be tattooed, and then after it has been tattooed, you may not be able to clearly tell what the tattoo is unless the skin is stretched out again.
This is only one out of many examples as to why it is less than ideal to tattoo any loose skin – another reason being that when the skin that a tattoo artist is working on is not tight, things like blowouts can happen over and over again, with no fault of the artist.
Because of these reasons and more, many tattoo artists are not comfortable tattooing skin that has been stretched out and then not had time to shrink down again, leaving it loose and saggy.
You will most likely not be refused as a client if you have loose skin; no matter how tricky it may be for the tattoo artist, they will usually do everything in their power to try and give you the tattoo of your dreams.
They may, however, try and find a part of your body with the least amount of loose skin to do the tattoo on – like your back or your calf, for example, to try to get as much detail in the tattoo as they possibly can without the loose skin becoming a problem.
What Do Tattoos Look Like When You Lose Weight?
Tattoos that you had done before you lost weight will usually change their appearance in some way by the time you are at the end of your weight loss journey – but what they look like will depend again on how much weight you have lost.
People who have lost a great amount of weight but slowly over time, and their skin managed to shirk down with their bodies, might find that their tattoos look larger after they have lost weight. You could think of this being like a canvas; the same size drawing is going to look far smaller on a large canvas than it would on a small canvas.
So, whereas before it might have seemed that your thigh tattoo did not take up that much space on your leg when your leg is half the size it used to be, it will, of course, look a lot larger and seem to take up a much bigger space of your leg, even though it is the same size tattoo.
If your skin has become very loose in the area that your tattoo was done, there is a chance your tattoo may just look like a blob of color/black until you stretch it out.
If your skin has become saggy and now folds over the tattoo, you may not even be able to see your tattoo at all.
Or, your tattoo may not change its appearance at all. Each person’s body and skin are completely unique, and there is a chance that even with fast, drastic weight loss, you may still be able to see what your tattoo is exactly. Skin is a truly amazing thing and can sometimes be unpredictable.
Do tattoo artists care if you’re fat?
Any professional tattoo artist will not care about your weight in any way. They may ask you a few questions about your weight simply so they know the best place that they could place a tattoo for you, but they will in no way not want you as a client simply because of your weight.
The only thing a tattoo artist is ever concerned about is the quality of their work, and if they raise any concerns with you about your weight, it will only ever be for this reason – not because of any personal views or feelings.
Your weight is your own concern, but your tattoo is their concern, so if your artist ever makes suggestions as to how they want to change your tattoo because of your weight, do not take it personally, as they are trying to give you the best tattoo they can.
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):
Even though your skin is incredibly flexible and will change with your body through its highs and lows, your tattoo may not.
Any change to one’s skin could lead to undesired effects on an existing tattoo, and since weight loss is often a drastic change to the skin, it should be no surprise that your tattoo may change as your skin does.
If you are now planning to lose weight, but you are worried about how it may affect your tattoos, try aim to lose the weight slow and steady – giving your skin time to change with your body, tightening up along the way, and thus allowing your tattoos to remain on as tight an area of skin as possible.