Covering your scars with tattoo work

jwoo Member Posts: 930
edited November 2022 in Recommend Your Resources

Hi everyone,

After some discussion with the mods and a few others, I am happy to start this thread!

This is a safe space to discuss covering your scars and such with tattoos, or other body modification techniques. (Flat or recon- all are welcome!) Those of us with a love for beautiful ink, that want something besides nipple tattoos on our chests now have a space here to post photos of the work we have done, and provide references for tattoo artists that do this work.

Tattooing scar tissue is really quite different than working on unscarred skin, and it takes an artist that has a lot of skill and patience to work on. I worked in the bodymod industry for a few years (only as a counter person, not as a skilled professional,) and have a lot of wonderful friends that still do, so I know a little about what it takes to navigate the skin.

Artists in this particular subset are asked to turn what can be ugly and painful skin into a work of art. We are also asking these professionals to work with our emotional scars, as they are all connected. Finding the right person to work with can be hard, as you want to find someone that is not only talented in the style you prefer, but that is also empathetic and well grounded.

So this is the place we can come together to help one another find the right artist, to encourage and support one another in our choices, and to share our successes!

Please, no critical posts about others work. If you don't like someones art, don't bash it. Keep your negative opinion to yourself. BUT, if you've had a particularly terrible experience of your own and want to share, please do not post the contact info for the artist. That might put you and BCO in a sticky liable situation. You can post photos, and have whatever private discussion with others you wish, I just don't want this to turn into a negative space with possible legal ramifications.

Feel free to post your own photos and the name and contact info for your artists, and please also PM me with their contact info so I can create a running list here in the subject. ( I might not be able to keep up with all the posts, and want to be sure there is a good list for others to reference.)

****Please do not share anyone else's photos, or photos from the internet that are not yours. We want this to be a space where we all feel safe, and don't want to intrude on anyone else's experience. ****

I've seen some really amazing art on my BC brothers and sisters, and those with other scars, so really hope that we can curate a community of information here that will benefit others!

I have quite a few tattoos already, and will be having my DIEP recon in August/November, and will hopefully be able to start my tattoo work sometime in 2017, if everything goes as planned. I'm excited to be able to share that with others that are in the same space.

Thanks for your participation, and best of health to you all!


  • jwoo
    jwoo Member Posts: 930

    As stated above, my recon isn't till Aug, and it will be sometime next year before i am able to get started on my coverups, but to start things off, here is what I currently have on my chest (this was way before cancer showed up):


    I'll be incorporating this by adding a background, which will then extend somehow down to the scars on my recon, and then also will be working on something to match for my waist scar.

    One of my skulls was slightly damaged when the port went in, but the surgeon was ever so respectful of my tattoo, and did his best to minimize the scaring.

  • SuC
    SuC Member Posts: 11

    imageThis is me post bilateral mastectomy, no recon. I waited 2 years for good scar healing

  • jwoo
    jwoo Member Posts: 930

    Really beautiful! Love the intricate detail on the wings.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Can you recommend your artist and their shop?

  • Monis
    Monis Member Posts: 309


    This is my one and only tattoo on my body. I decided I wanted something pretty to see whenever I looked in the mirror. Had nipple recon and tattoo as well.

  • juliecc
    juliecc Member Posts: 4,360

    I got my tattoos in February from Shane Wallin at Garnet Tattoo in San Diego. He specializes in mastectomy tattoos i love them. Happy


  • jwoo
    jwoo Member Posts: 930

    Monis and Juliecc- Gorgeous work!

    Monis, can you recommend your artist?

    It's always so nice to find someone that specializes in this field.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,449


    I don't have any tattoos at my bmx site (just one on my forearm), but I can't get over how gorgeous yours is. Simply stunning

  • cive
    cive Member Posts: 265

    A good friend that never had breast cancer although she had a scare posted on facebook about some person that had posted that folks with tattoos abused their children. How ridiculous! I love my friend's tattoos, although my old skin isn't really an artist's canvass. How lovely to see folks using them positively.

  • juliecc
    juliecc Member Posts: 4,360


  • jwoo
    jwoo Member Posts: 930


  • glennie19
    glennie19 Member Posts: 4,830

    Beautiful tattoos!! I don't have any. I wanted to get one to cover up my MX scar, but then I developed truncal LE and was told that getting a tattoo was not a good idea,,,

  • slv58
    slv58 Member Posts: 486


  • Monis
    Monis Member Posts: 309

    My tattoo artist (mine is the cherry blossom branch) is Mary Jane Haake at Dermagraphics in Portland, OR. She specializes in medical tattoos and works by referral only. Also bills your medical insurance. My plastic surgeon sends all his patients to her.

  • OrcaPorkka
    OrcaPorkka Member Posts: 18

    Your tattoos look amazing. I am not there yet, but something to look forward to...

  • Sjacobs146
    Sjacobs146 Member Posts: 155

    Julie, beautiful tattoos, thanks for sharing.

  • AmyQ
    AmyQ Member Posts: 821

    Oh ladies I have tattoo envy. I've deconstructed after a full year of trying to find implants that didn't hurt like crazy so I'm left with noticible scars of course. Daily reminders (as if I didn't know) but a gorgeous dramatic tattoo would be my ultimate desire. I've already imagined it in dark dramatic jewel tones, and ocean related. I happen to think an octopus is a beautiful, intelligent and graceful creature and she would be my badge of honor.

    I so wishI could enduldge this fantasy but right arm and Truncal lymphedema makes it impossible. So you ladies, enjoy your beautiful art. I am so happy you can find joy and beauty in such dire circumstances. Congratulations.


  • leftduetostupidmods
    leftduetostupidmods Member Posts: 346

    I want to get a few tattoos to cover the most stubborn scars - which amazingly are mostly scars from drains but also the horizontal scar on my right breast (the one that had BC). I found this when surfing for ideas, and I will definitely have something in this style. I found a local tattoo artist who is female and I'm sure could be able to pull this type of tattoo design off.

    Anyway, this is it:

    Ethereal Nature Tattoos

  • jwoo
    jwoo Member Posts: 930

    well, had my 2nd DIEP surgery. Hopefully they will settle the way I want and in a year i can start my tattoo work. I'm so looking forward to it

  • JamieBollerud
    JamieBollerud Member Posts: 1


    These images are from clients that I have personally worked with. With their permission you can see that there is options for women in the healing process. I personally have geared my tattoo career in helping women achieve this goal. Every one has their own story and own healing process. And I am honored to have worked with these fierce women. If you would like to know more please private message me for inquiries. Lovely Monkey Tattoo Whitmore Lake Mi. By Artist Jamie Espy Bollerud

  • BRCASister
    BRCASister Member Posts: 1

    Hi Julie,

    I live in Orange County (Aliso Viejo) and had a double mastectomy back in 2014. I completed breast reconstruction in July 2014. I'm ready to get a tattoo to help me feel more in control of my sexuality and not let these scars rule my body image.

    I found Garnet Tattoo in SD online. I would love to hear how you are liking your tattoo now that it's been a while. I'll be going from zero tattoos to this, but I'm pretty confident this is what I want to do, but would love any advice you can give.

    How long did it take to complete your tattoo?



  • juliecc
    juliecc Member Posts: 4,360

    Hi Kathy, I sent you a PM. I still love my tattoos!

  • jwoo
    jwoo Member Posts: 930

    Well, I finally got the courage to start. One of my oldest friends is actually doing the work. He's one of the best artists I know, and knows scar tissue.

    I'll post a photo from my next session at the end of the month. I am having a full chest piece that has a favorite pant/flower, bug, or bird of the people that were my true support system through my cancershit. The first portion is a clutch of blueberries for my dog BlueBear(y) who was my soul dog. He actually sniffed my cancer almost a year before I found my lump. He'd come up under my arm and press his nose really hard into my sideboob towards the tumors. It hurt so bad! and I was so annoyed when he did it, but he was just trying to tell me something was wrong.

    He was my best boy, and I lost him to age (almost 19) and illness in 2015. He saw me through some of the worst parts of my life, was my welcoming committee and coach to all the rescues that came through my home- 2 or 4 legged, and is my favorite belly rub toll-taker forever. A hilarious, fuzzy, mellow fellow. I miss him every day.

    Here he is as a wee beary,


    And here he is in 2014


    My fuzzy old Blueper.

    Hope you are all well and safe.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 761

    He was such a beautiful dog. ((Hugs))

    I’m excited to see what your tattoo is going to look like!

  • jwoo
    jwoo Member Posts: 930

    progress! Each item in this represents someone who has been helpful to me re: my cancer. I'm lucky to have the support i do, and want to honor their love. Still have a loooooong way to go, but here is the first part. This is my right side- the blueberries are where my bub would press his nose, and where my scars feom my DEIP start.: image

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 761

    I love it! Beautiful!!

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    Thats really beautiful. And what a wonderful tribute to your BlueBear. So glad you had him when you did. I had a similar experience with my pet helping me to "find" my mass except she was a little black cat named Lucy.

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 191

    Reading through this thread is uplifting. I’m just starting to think about this as a possibility - it gives me something to do while I wait for a biopsy I’ve been trying to figure out if I’m even a candidate, though. I’ve had radiation and am missing 3 lymph nodes, although haven’t ever had trouble with lymphedema - at least, not yet. Also, do tattoos make it more difficult to detect the skin changes and lumps that can signal a recurrence?

  • karen1956
    karen1956 Member Posts: 4,292

    I just had one side done and in a couple weeks will have the other side (BC/radiated) side done. It is gorgeous. I never imagined how beautiful my chest could look. My oncologist was excited for me when I told him I was having it done and I know someone else who uses the same oncologist and says he is always excited to tell interns about it. So I'm guessing its not a concern. I stopped seeing my PS 12+ years ago.

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 191

    Oh, good! As soon as I discovered these beautiful tattoos are a thing, the idea of mastectomy didn't seem quite as horrifying, so I'm glad to learn radiation wouldn't automatically make me ineligible. Thanks for sharing your experience!