What Happens To Tattoos When You Gain Muscle?

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Getting a tattoo isn’t just a fun way to change your appearance and do something exciting. A tattoo becomes a part of your body and it is a piece of art that will last you a lifetime. Sure, unless you opt for laser removal, the tattoo will be there, permanently.

During the time of your life’s permanence, your body won’t stay the same. Your skin will change, your muscles will grow or shrink, and your body will grow old. Those are all the challenges your tattoos should be able to withstand. But, things are not that simple.

Muscle gain or muscle growth, for example, is a potential issue for people with tattoos. As the muscles grow and the skin stretches and expands, what exactly happens to the tattoos on the body?

In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at what happens to tattoos once the muscles in your body start growing. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What Happens To Your Skin When You Grow Muscle?

It is a well-known fact that regular weight workouts and muscle growth contribute to skin tightening. And, that is very true. However, it is true for people with sagging skin or loose skin resulting from extreme weight loss. In such cases, the muscle fills in the area previously occupied by fat tissue. As a result, one has a more toned, tightened skin and body.

But, what happens when a person with tight, elastic skin starts lifting weights, for example. In such a case, weight training increases muscle mass significantly. As the muscles grow they expand and stretch the skin to appear even tighter – that is why bodybuilder experience cases of stretch marks, for example.

However, it is important to mention that our skin is an incredibly adaptable organ. The skin is elastic for that reason; to be adaptable to certain body changes and be able to return to its previous state.

Just remember that pregnancy is a thing; pregnant women experience severe skin stretching of the abdomen area, and once they give birth, the skin starts to gradually return to its previous state; sometimes not completely, but even that could be managed with exercise and tone training.

Why are we saying this? Well, the stretching factor is essential when it comes to muscle growth. The skin’s elasticity allows it to adapt to the change of muscle shape and density. The same applies in the case of fat tissue accumulation; as the fat layers grow, the skin stretches and adapts.

So, what happens to your skin when you work out and grow muscle? It adapts!

What-Happens-To-Your-Skin-When-You-Grow-Muscle

So, What Happens To Your Tattoos When You Grow Muscle?

Since your tattoos are placed in the skin, the same thing will happen to your skin, and tattoos of course. If you gain muscle, your skin will start to stretch a little, and the same will happen to the tattoos.

However, contrary to the popular belief, the stretching of the tattoo won’t be noticeable. If your muscle growth is controlled, steady and not extreme, your tattoos will only stretch and tighten until the skin has fully adapted to the new muscle shape and density.

Tattoo change in steady and natural muscle growth is not dramatic, and in many cases, not even noticeable and visible to the naked eye.

However, if you’ve started bodybuilding and lifting extreme weights, you can expect extreme skin stretching, muscle growth, and tattoo-changing effects. In extreme cases of muscle growth and weight gain, the skin can stretch so much so that the tattoos start to lose the initial vividness and change colors. The tattoos can even start fading too.

However, these cases as extreme and rare, as we mentioned. So long your workout is natural, steady, and controlled, you won’t have any issues with your tattoos.

Do Some Body Parts Change More or Less With Muscle Growth?

Of course; some body parts are more prone to more noticeable muscle growth and skin stretching. If you don’t have a tattoo just yet, and you’re planning to get one, bear in mind to avoid the following body parts due to a more significant skin stretching;

  • The abdomen area – getting the abdomen area to change for the better is always difficult. For some reason, that six-pack is always so far away. So, why worry about the stomach? Well, the skin on the stomach is one of the most stretchable on the body, especially in women. So, if you’re planning to gain or lose weight, or start a pregnancy, then avoid a stomach tattoo, until you’ve reached your goal.
  • The shoulder and upper back area – when it comes to weight lifting and muscle growth, the shoulder and upper back area is directly affected. The muscles in this area become significantly bigger or more visible, which means there is a higher chance of skin stretching. You may want to consider the size and the design of a tattoo if you want to place it in this area.

Some body parts are less prone to skin stretching, so you may want to consider getting a tattoo in;

  • The sleeve area – even though there isn’t much room for creativity and bigger designs, the sleeve area is excellent for a tattoo. Even with muscle growth, weight gain, or loss, the skin will change little. Sometimes the bicep area might be prone to sagging and skin stretching, but that can be fixed with a bit of tone training.
  • Thighs and calves – our legs carry some of the strongest muscles. So, when gaining or growing muscle, you should know that they’ll be rock solid. But, to accompany such strong muscles, the skin is also thicker and more resilient in this region. So, if you want to get a tattoo without worrying it will be affected by your body change, try getting it on a thigh or the calf. Because this body area is so resilient, chances are the tattoo will also hurt less than expected.

But, What If Your Tattoo Starts Changing With Muscle Growth?

As we mentioned, in the case of quick and extreme muscle growth, the skin will stretch and the tattoo will stretch with it. The tattoo may lose its initial shape, vividness, color and it may start fading increasingly.

However, even in such a case, there is hope. It is possible to fix a stretched tattoo with a little bit of professional touch-up.

Minor tattoo distortions, like color fading, for example, can be easily fixed. But, if your tattoo has stretched to the point where it is unrecognizable, you may want to consider covering it up with a new tattoo.

This, of course, carries many risks itself; the new tattoo will have to be bigger than the current one, so if it’s placed somewhere with little room for creativity, you may be in trouble. Furthermore, the new tattoo design will have to be denser and darker as well, so bear that in mind as well.

Will The Tattoos Change If You Lose Muscle?

It may seem that weight loss and muscle loss have a greater impact on the skin than muscle growth does. When it comes to significant weight loss, people are often left with stretches, sagging skin which sometimes has a hard time bouncing back to its old form.

In such cases, working out and muscle building is necessary. Toning exercises can help the muscles grow and fill in space previously occupied by fat tissue.

But, what about the tattoos?

When you lose a significant amount of weight in a short period, chances are your tattoos will change the initial appearance. There might be an issue with stretching and color fading, as well as issues with the detailed visibility.

Unless you grow muscle and do some tone training, there is little or nothing a tattoo artist can do about the tattoo(s). Sagging and elastic skin is too hard to work with unless there’s a developed muscle beneath to act as firm support.

If you don’t have any tattoos, but you plan to lose weight, simply wait until you’ve reached your goal to get tattooed. This way you will prevent any major changes to the tattoo.

Also Read:

Can You Work Out After Getting a Tattoo? – Everything You Need To Know

Do Tattoos Fade Over Time (And How Can You Fight Tattoo Fading?)

The Final Takeout

Here’s a summary of everything you need to know regarding muscle growth and tattoos;

  • The only thing you have to do is grow muscles steadily, naturally (without steroids), and without going to extremes
  • The tattoos are in the skin(in the dermis layer of the skin) so they will adapt to the muscles growing along with the skin
  • The skin is very resilient and adaptable to natural and regular body changes
  • Extreme weight/muscle gain/loss will affect and change the appearance of your tattoos
  • Do not get tattooed if you plan on gaining or losing weight/muscle mass
  • Avoid getting tattooed in areas where the skin is prone to stretching

For more information about tattoos, skin and body changes make sure to talk to a professional tattoo artist and a medical professional. These people will provide you with a more detailed insight first hand.

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