What Happens to Tattoos When You Lose Weight?

So, what happens to tattoos when you lose weight? As the skin changes its quality, the tattoo is inevitably going to transition. The change depends on how much weight you lose. How quickly you lose weight is also another factor.

The skin is susceptible to change. Due to its elastic nature, the skin is prone to stretching.

Along with other factors that come along with weight loss, how it affects your tattoo is the primary concern. Tattoo deformation, visible stretch marks, and tattoo fading are the most common after-effects of weight loss.  

How Can Weight Loss Affect Tattoos?

The skin is the largest organ. It shrinks and stretches. There are parts of the body that show minimal changes during weight loss. Thus, where the tattoo is located also impacts the level of transformation. You might want to consider temporary tattoos until you achieve your ideal weight. It somehow exhibits the same aesthetic but with minimal risk.

Tattoos are etched into the lower layers of the skin. That is why when you lose weight, the tattoo will experience change. It could lead to visible distortion, minor fading, change in alignment, and possibly a shift in location. 

How to Minimize Tattoo Change After Weight Loss

what happens to tattoos when you lose weight

The belly, upper arms, and thighs tend to hoard more fats than any other body parts. Having small tattoos in these areas is hard to remedy. Large pieces, however, are easy to save. It gives more room for the tattoo artist to fill in the gaps. 

Lose Weight Slowly

If you are planning on losing weight, do it slowly. It will minimize the change in your skin art. Rapid weight loss, on the other hand, results in tattoo distortion. Why rapid loss promotes tattoo disfiguration? It is because the skin can’t keep up with the rapid shrinking. It doesn’t have the time to contract naturally. Hence, brisk weight loss leads to soggy wrinkled skin. Not to mention the visible cellulite and stretch marks.  

Stay Hydrated

Water is an integral part of maintaining a healthy physique. Another tip to avoid skin distortion is by drinking a lot of water. Water keeps the skin healthy and vibrant. So will your tattoo. On top of that, it will help in your weight loss goals. 

Moisturize Your Skin Daily

Moisturizing the skin postpones skin aging. And skin aging is one factor that contributes to the visual quality of tattoos. While drinking water hydrates you internally. Moisturizing will do the trick externally. Opt for moisturizing that contains natural ingredients. The vegan or organic lotion will give you better results. 

weight loss affects tattoos

Tattoos are bound to change when the skin appearance changes. How your tattoos look like after losing weight will depend on how you lost the weight.

How Do Tattoos Will Look After Losing Weight?


Large pieces are more inclined to wrinkle after losing weight. Especially when you lose weight drastically. This is due to the sudden loss of fats that the excess skin becomes soggy. Thus, slowly taking out excess fat will conclude a toned physique. 

Poor Definition

As the skin stretches, the ink in your dermis will also stretch. That’s why the tattoo appears faded or blurry. You will lose the defined lines and details in your skin art. 

Changes in Alignment

The tattoo’s alignment will alter when you change your body’s composition. As your skin stretch, the tattoos will move along with it. Thus, a tattoo centered in your stomach might move a little to the left or right before you lose weight. 

Size Distortion

The size, of course, will not change. The perception will. It is because the skin will flex. So, when the skin flexes, the tattoo may appear bigger than its original size. Fading also comes along with it. 

From a brighter perspective, the change will be minimal. A 4×4 inch tattoo will not go as far as 8×8. Although the change is visible, it will not alter the overall image of the tattoo. 

strong man with colourful chest tattoo training at the gym

Why The Changes Are Minimal?

The ink is embedded in the dermal layer. It is between 0.5 -1.5mm deep. It is not that deep, but deep enough for the ink to stay in place. Since your tattoo is already a permanent part of your skin, it can alter every time you lose or gain weight. The ability of the skin to adapt is what triggers the change in the appearance of the tattoo. 

The change will be minimal if your weight loss is not drastic. When you speed up the weight loss, your tattoo might fade, distort, realign, and resize. Hence, if you are trying to lose weight, getting a tattoo at the same period is not ideal. However, there are a few things to consider if you do so.

What To Do When Getting a Tattoo While Losing Weight?

Consider How Much Weight You Are Going to Lose and How Fast

As was mentioned many times, how fast you are losing weight contributes to the overall appearance of your tattoo. If you are planning on losing a lot of weight, it is best to lose it gradually. Also, exercising will keep your body toned. Losing weight by just merely cutting on carbs will not cut it. Replacing body fat with muscle will give the skin a sturdy matter to hold onto.

Think About The Ideal Tattoo Size

Small tattoos are more fitting. It will not exhibit visible change while you are losing weight. Big pieces will be harder to conceal change. Hence, it is appropriate to wait until you achieve your weight goal before getting big pieces. Tattoos aren’t cheap. If you get a tattoo and end up ruining it, it will be a lot of loss on your end.

Choose A Body Part Less Susceptible to Stretching

Certain body parts are less prone to stretching. These parts are ideal for getting a tattoo while losing weight. Areas with more flesh respond to weight loss more than the boney parts. Body parts with more flesh are the first ones to show visible changes. Thus, choose a body part that stretches the least. 

pretty women with arm tattoo doing yoga

Body Parts That Stretches The Least

The Forearms

The forearms do not change much. Whether you lose or gain weight, the forearms are usually the last ones to show visible changes. It doesn’t store much fat and remains firm. So, if you’re getting a tattoo while losing weight, consider having it on your forearm.

The Wrists

The wrist is one of the thin body parts. It also doesn’t store fat. It doesn’t stretch and hardly changes even f you lose weight. 

The Calves and Ankles

The same goes with the wrists. The calves and ankles are boney parts with thin skin. It is one of the last body parts to hoard fats. The skin on the calves and ankles wraps around the bone. Thus, zero to minimal stretch happens when you either lose or gain weight. 

The Neck

The back of the neck is one of the ideal parts for tattoos. It is not a reservoir for fat cells. Additionally, it doesn’t sag and stretch when you lose weight. Lastly, the skin on the neck area is often firm and boney. 

The Upper Torso

The upper chest part to the rim of the shoulders also does not store much fat. It does not stretch over time, even with skin aging. 

The Foot

The foot is just like the ankles, calves, and wrist. The skin blankets the bone. Hence, it doesn’t stretch when sudden changes in the body occur. The tattoo on the foot is less likely to change over time. 

These areas are the ideal body parts to get tattoos when you are losing weight. It shows no sign of change when you are simultaneously losing weight. As for body parts that serve as a reservoir for fats are likely to distort, fade, and get ruined by stretch marks. 

Stretch marks often appear when you lose weight fast. Thus, when you choose areas that stretch, you might want to consider the appearance of the tattoo on top of the stretch mark. 

pretty girl with a arm tattoo stretching

Does It Hurt To Tattoo Over Stretch Marks?

Getting a tattoo hurts. It is unavoidable. However, certain parts of the body hurt more in contrast to others. Tattooing over a stretch mark may or may not hurt more. It depends on the condition of the stretch mark. 

Fresh Stretchmarks

Fresh stretch marks will be more painful. It is because it is not fully healed yet. The skin is still thin and delicate. 

Textured Stretchmarks

The pain will be more excruciating as the needle moves around a raised stretch mark. It might also trigger irritation. Also, the tattoo artist will have a hard time injecting the ink into the textured stretch mark. 

Stretchmark Placement

If the stretch mark is located in painful areas, it will contribute more to the pain. More discomfort will be experienced. 

Stretch marks appear when you lose or gain weight. As part of the process of losing weight the healthy way, exercise is likely for the skin to flex. In spite of this, the best way to lose weight is to balance food intake and exercise. 

There are indications that tattoos might get affected when you work out. On a brighter note, there are better ways to work out without compromising the appearance of your tattoos. 

How To Work Out Without Changing the Appearance of Your Tattoo?

Exercise Moderately

An intense workout will promote drastic body change. It will significantly stretch your skin due to drastic muscle build-up. Moderate exercise, on the other hand, will only tone your body. Thus, the skin will be firmer. As a result, the tattoo will stay pristine aesthetically. 

Choose The Placement Wisely

Putting your tattoo in the right spots will save you the hassle of worrying. Having them on areas where there is less fat or muscle mass is ideal. Tattoo placement is a crucial decision. Hence, pick a body part where the skin doesn’t stretch much, even if you lose weight and gain muscle. 

Good Hygiene is Integral

Working out with a fresh tattoo is not recommended. But if you have a strict exercise plan, keeping your tattoo clean after a workout will prevent it from getting irritated. Sweat can contaminate your fresh tattoo. Thus, after your workout, make sure to wash off the sweat. 

Conclusion – What Happens to Tattoos When You Lose Weight?

The skin is bound to change when your body changes. Losing weight is one factor that can trigger that change. As long as you progressively lose that weight, your tattoo will not undergo drastic alterations as well.

The best solution is balance. Losing weight does not only require decreasing food consumption. Exercise is also essential to keep the skin firm, and when the skin is firm your tattoo will showcase best!