Should You Lose Weight Before Getting a Tattoo?

Our bodies naturally change over time, whether we’re going through parenthood, feeling stressed, or slowly starting to wrinkle and sag over the years (it happens to all of us). But what impact will this have on your tattoo?

You’ve no doubt seen examples of how tattoos change as our skin and bodies age…but what about weight gain and weight loss? Also, should you lose weight before getting a tattoo?

This article will explain everything, including how weight changes affect your tattoos and whether you should lose weight before getting a tattoo or after.

Why lose weight before a tattoo?

Why lose weight before a tattoo?
Credit: Instagram

There really isn’t a yes or no answer to this question, as it depends on your body. Many people want to lose weight before getting a tattoo for these reasons:

  • They want to show off their tattoo to their friends and/or on social media, and don’t want to look “big” in photos,
  • They want a tattoo in an area that looks leanest (e.g. a flat stomach),
  • They want a tattoo as a reward for losing weight and being healthy.

There are also other considerations when considering losing weight for a tattoo.

  • Will you really be able to maintain your weight?
  • Is the placement in an area that naturally swells?
  • Will the tattoo be very visible?
  • Are tattoo inks and colors easy to remove with a laser?

If you have poor control and are at risk of falling back into unhealthy habits, then getting a tattoo when you are skinny is not a good idea.

Placement matters too. If it’s on a part of your body that bulges or accumulates fat often, it will deform faster. This includes the stomach, hips, lower back, upper arms, etc. If this worries you, choose a location that’s easy to hide or doesn’t accumulate a lot of fat (eg, forearms or collarbone).

Finally, you should research laser tattoo removal. Even if you’re sure you won’t lose weight and keep your tattoo forever, it’s good to know how much laser tattoo removal costs and how hard it will be on your ink colors.

The benefits and the risks

The benefits of losing weight before a tattoo
Credit: Instagram

The benefits of losing weight before a tattoo:

  • You can feel more confident in your body and therefore have the confidence to get your dream tattoo,
  • Despite the body positivity movements, it’s fair to say that society still views being thin as beautiful. This means that getting a tattoo when you are slim and posting the picture online, will likely get a more positive response,
  • Your body will be healthier, which means tattoo healing and recovery times should be shorter!

But there are some risks and drawbacks to consider:

  • With less fat and flesh between the surface of the skin and the bones, getting a tattoo can hurt more,
  • If you gain weight, the tattoo may: become deformed, be hidden by bulges of flesh, or be wrinkled by stretch marks.

Embrace Your Body and Try Temporary Tattoos

Our best advice for you is to try temporary tattoos before losing weight. You will determine which placement and design works best for you, and you may be able to gain the confidence to get the tattoo you want without losing weight first.

Ultimately, you should feel happy, healthy, and confident with your body, no matter your shape or weight. Getting a tattoo might not change your personal opinion of your body, and losing weight for the wrong reasons can cause you to gain weight back.

Tattoos After Weight Loss – Reddit’s Advice

Tattoos After Weight Loss – Reddit's Advice
Credit: Instagram

Everyone has an opinion about tattoos, but here are some of the best tattoo tips. Reddit and Quora. If you need a second opinion before getting a tattoo, you can also talk to your tattoo artist.

Kyle Hutson answered a Quora question: “Tattoos shouldn’t be the catalyst for weight loss. […] this is also important for placement, if you keep it heavy you will get stretch marks, these can ruin a tattoo unless they are part of the original ink. Stick to areas that accumulate less fat, forearms, lower legs, upper thighs, hands, feet, upper back, side ribs.

quornsmut commented on Reddit on their weight loss and tattoo journey: “I thought about it a lot and looked online for pictures of what happens to tattoos after losing weight, and all the pictures I’ve seen support my decision.: I didn’t find any tattoos that were distorted or made worse due to weight loss – but there are MANY that show distortion due to weight gain. That’s why I decided to do it now rather than wait: because if I waited until I was slimmer, finished my art, and then for some reason gained weight again: then I should worry about distortion.

Thatlacky also decided to get a tattoo before losing weight, rather than after: “I got a calf tattoo before I lost over 100lbs and it looks like rain. The shape changed it a bit but not enough for anyone to know if they didn’t see it brand new compared to now.

Keep in mind that tattoos will age and change and your body will age and change too no matter what you do. It doesn’t matter, it’s going to look different in 10-15-20 years”

Tattoos before and after weight loss

By now you’ve realized that it’s usually best to get inked when you’re heavy and then losing weight. This will tighten the ink and maybe change the shape a bit. If you decided to get a tattoo when you are at your lightest, it could deform much more drastically.

Weight Loss Tattoo

Weight Loss Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

This photo shows an example of how tattoos change when you lose weight after get inked. Tattoos on the stomach area have changed the most, shrinking and tightening.

You can also see how many tattoo placements on the forearms and shoulders haven’t really changed much. This is why placement is so important!

tattoo weight gain

tattoo weight gain
Credit: Instagram

There are far fewer pictures of tattoos to be found after significant weight gain.

Some types of weight gain will barely deform the tattoo. Muscle gain, for example, is a slow process, so your skin can stretch with your body as it changes. Pregnancy, on the other hand, stretches some areas of the body more than others. Your belly and fingers, for example, will change in weight during pregnancy while most other parts of your body won’t gain much weight.

The most damaging types of weight gain are the fastest. If you suddenly gain a lot of weight (more than 10 pounds), whether from diet, trauma, or another medical condition, it can distort the tattoo.

You can see :

  • Elongation,
  • Discoloration,
  • Wrinkles (where stretch marks form under the tattoo,
  • Or nothing – some people are lucky!

If this happens, your best option is to have the tattoo removed or covered. If you lose weight again, there is no guarantee that it will return to good shape!

Read also :

Quick FAQs

Should I lose weight before a tattoo?

No, you don’t need to lose weight before getting a tattoo, but many people consider it to improve their health or body image.

Should I get a tattoo before or after losing weight?

We recommend getting a tattoo before losing weight. The distortion that weight gain can cause is usually far greater than the decrease that weight loss can cause.

Should I wait to lose weight before getting a tattoo?

As mentioned above, getting inked before losing weight is best. If you’re worried about how the ink will appear on your body, try a temporary tattoo first.

What happens to tattoos when you lose weight?

It depends on the location. Certain areas, like your forearms, stay roughly the same shape and size as you lose and gain weight. Other areas change drastically, such as your waistline – tattoos in these locations may shrink, tighten, and change shape slightly.

What Happens To Tattoos When You Gain Weight?

It depends on the weight and the speed of weight gain. Slow, steady weight gain (whether fat or muscle) is unlikely to greatly distort a tattoo. However, if you’ve suddenly gained 50 pounds – it’s happened to many of us during COVID-19 lockdowns – then your skin will struggle to stretch to accommodate. The tattoo will warp, stretch and may wrinkle if stretch marks form.

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