Tattoos On Burn Scars

Updated on January 25, 2011

Can Someone get a tattoo on their Scars?

Well, that is exactly what we wanted to know. So I got on line, of course, and started searching google. I tried all kinds of different words & sentences that included, tattoo, burn, get the idea.

Well, there wasn't much info out there, and what we did find was mostly forum Q&A's. Which of course all had different answers, no real info, no photo's of a tattoo on a scar, and no real description of the tattooing on scars process.

So, if you have been considering getting a tattoo on a scar or grafted skin, then here are some real answers that will show you the process, with photos, to help you decide if you are ready to get a tattoo to cover your scars.

Plus Lots of cool info about our tattoo artist Mr. DANG

Scott's Story

Deciding to get a tattoo on grafted skin after burn injury

On August 6th, 2002 Scott was severely burned over 85% of his body in a flash fire explosion. You can read his burn injury story here.

Before Scott's acciden,t he had a one of a kind skull tattoo on one shoulder and a large wizard on the other. The Skull was completely burned off, and all but the top of the wizard's staff burned off.

Scott has contemplated getting another tattoo since his accident, but was unsure how the grafted skin would take a tattoo.

We had heard of people getting tattoos on grafted skin, but Scott has 100% grafted skin on his arm where he wanted the tattoo. So finding a tattoo artist with experience tatooing on grafted skin was important to us.

We tried looking up information online about tattooing on burn scars or grafted skin and came up empty handed.

We talked to the tattoo artist who had originally done the skull on his arm, but he seemed skeptical about if it would look good or not. He also seemed very reluctant to even try it. So our next stop was to see Dang. Dang is the hubby of an old friend of mine and the tattoo artist who does my middle son's tattoos.

Choosing Where to get your Tattoo

A little Tattoo Advice

I have quite a few tattoos myself, some of which are over 20 years old, so I have seen a lot of changes in the tattoo industry since I got my first one. Back in the day, people could just walk into a tattoo shop, drunk or high or whatever, and get any crazy looking tattoo you asked for right there on the spot.

A lot of the old tattoo shops were filthy, with grungy bikers hanging out, smoking, drinking and swearing, while some hungover biker gave you a tat with the same needle he had just used on the last customer.

True, back then, that atmosphere was all part of the thrill of rebelling and getting a tattoo in the first place. Thankfully, times have changed. These days tattoo shop are usually very clean and well run businesses.

There are now Sanitation laws and tattoo shops need to follow rules and be licensed. This makes getting a tattoo a much safer experience than it used to be.

Still, not every business is run the same. When you choose a tattoo shop, you want to choose one that is clean and where the license is prominently displayed and up to date.

Never get a tattoo at a shop where they don't ask for your ID and have you fill out a form that asks you medical background questions.

Make sure the shop you choose actually follows the safety and sanitation procedures, like steralizing equipment, wearing gloves, cleansing the area of your body where the tattoo is going to be placed.

My personal review of B-Cool Tattoo the Shop we chose for Scott's tattoo, is five out of 5 stars. It is cleaner than most hospitals, the people who work there are friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful. They even have a machine with snacks!


Choosing a Tattoo Artist

Why We Chose DANG

Well, DANG was my first choice all along, but Scott had really loved that skull tattoo and was hoping for the same guy/same style thing. Talking to that guy though, was enough to convince Scott to talk to someone else.

Scott liked DANG right away, I knew he would. DANG assurred him that yes, he had done tattoos on scarred and grafted skin and though it was different, it was definitely do-able.

Plus DANG has such an easy going and likeable personality. One of the reasons I wanted Scott to go to Dang, was because I was already aware of DANG's incredible artistic ability. A lot of tattoo artist rely on transfers for their tattoo designs. A transfer is where they photo-copy the image with special ink, or trace the image on carbon paper and then rub the carbon image onto the place where the tattoo is going to be. Then they just basically tattoo on the lines and fill in the color.

I knew Scott wanted a one of a kind design, and I knew that DANG had the actual artistic skill to deliver. Because Scott is getting a tattoo on grafted skin, it will take more than one visit to complete the piece. This first visit, DANG is just doing the outline of the flames and some basic shading, to see how well Scott's skin takes the ink. On Scott's next visit, DANG will be incorporating skulls and more shading into the design. We will add Scott's next visit to this lens, after it happens.

Conversation with DANG

Dang Snaps a photo before starting Scott's tattoo.

Do You Prefer DANG or Mr. DANG?

Either one is okay, it's funny all the strange variations we get when people call. People ask for Dan G. a lot.

How Long Have you been doing tattoos?

About 8 years

DANG draws out the design.

Conversation part 2

When did you decide to become a tattoo artist & why?

I did the corporate thing, and was good at it, but tattoos are just so much more personal. If someone's happy because I helped them through their very first [even stamp-sized] tattoo, they're really happy. It's just more 'pure'.

Which Tattoo Artist or Artists are your favorite & why?

I don't really do the Idol thing, but there are a lot of innovative artists bridging off of the old-school style that I really like; Adam Barton, Stevie Edge, Matt Rinks, Seth Cefari and so many that nobody's heard of ...yet.

Dang Starts tattooing the Outline

Conversation Part 3

A lot of the younger generation of tattoo artists started out as taggers or Graffiti Artists, where you into that scene before becoming a tattoo artist?

Nope, grew up on a farm. There'd be a pretty short list of suspects if I were to tag a cow.

What is the best advice you would give someone thinking about getting their first tattoo?

The more personal the better. get it how you want it, where you want it. If you really want it, you can handle however it's going to feel.

DANG Tattooing on Scarred Skin

Dang The Artist

Conversation Part 4

Other than tattoo art, what is your favorite art medium?

Pop art/ sequential art.

Where can we get DANG gear like t-shirts, buttons & stickers?

At my Online Store

Grafted Skin has much more texture than normal skin.

DANG the Graphic Novelist

Conversation Part 5

You have a published graphic novels, tell us about it and how it came to be?

My latest book is my 11th published book (and largest to date), GREYDUCK: volume of roars. I've been occasionally self-publishing on the side (in my extra-extra-extra spare time). GREYDUCK was an idea that all of our pop culture has an energy to it, all the importance we place on things (both superficial and nostalgic), a life to it. In the book I flush out a lot of my own pop-philosophy through the genre of Daikaiju (giant monsters). Drawn in my own offshoot of the old-school tattoo style; it's funny, wild and so surreal that it's most bizarre moments just might actually mean something.

DANG an evil-genius at work!

DANG an evil-genius at work!
DANG an evil-genius at work!

My Favorite Shot!

My Favorite Shot!
My Favorite Shot!

About Tattooing On Scar Tissue

Conversations with Dang & Scott


How is tattooing on grafted skin and/or scar tissue different?

When considering working over a scarred area, you want to wait at least a few years after the injury, wait for the scar to whiten/lighten up.

Often the details aren't as crisp, texture of the scar can effect the consistency of color/shading, and the skin sheds differently.

What are some of the other types of scars that you have tattooed on?

Cuts, burns, surgery scars, stretch marks.

I even had a client with a small gecko tattoo on her stomach that was cut in half and shifted a bit from a car accident scar- we re-attached 'im.

What type of tats do you recommend for people with grafted skin and/or severely scarred skin?

Same as anyone else, look for what you like. Just takes a little experimenting to see what the tissue will take.


Does it feel different to get a tattoo on grafted skin than it felt getting your other tattoos?

Definitely, the other ones hurt. I don't have any nerve endings anymore on the grafted skin, so there was really only a little pain under the wrist. Everywhere else it was just like a slight vibrating pressure.

What do you think of the tattoo so far?

Love it! I can't wait to come back and get the skulls put in.

Finishing up the shading

Conversation with DANG part 6

What are your plans for the future...What will MR. DANG be doing 5 or 10 years from now?

Probably same as I'm doin' now, helpin' the world express itself...but in the future...maybe a silver jumpsuit?

So where can we view and buy prints of your incredible artwork?


Conversation Part 8

What else are you currently doing artistically that you want people to know about?

GREYDUCK is still pretty fresh-squeezed, so I'm hitting a few conventions this year to promote it.

(G-FEST in Chicago, and MNCBA Fallcon at the MN fairgrounds).

Also working on more Flash art and pop art.

See A'LA DANG for updates!

All Done!

All Done!
All Done!

Scott's tattoo one day after the first visit - his grafted skin bruised from the shading, but not the outline

Scott's tattoo one day after the first visit - his grafted skin bruised from the shading, but not the outline
Scott's tattoo one day after the first visit - his grafted skin bruised from the shading, but not the outline

Part Two

DANG finishes Scott's Tattoo

On Our 2nd visit, DANG starts again by drawing first were he intends to tattoo.

On Our 2nd visit, DANG starts again by drawing first were he intends to tattoo.
On Our 2nd visit, DANG starts again by drawing first were he intends to tattoo.

DANG Adds the Skulls to Scott's Tattoo

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Again we see that Scott's grafted skin easily bruised where the shading needle was used

Again we see that Scott's grafted skin easily bruised where the shading needle was used
Again we see that Scott's grafted skin easily bruised where the shading needle was used

DANG ROCKS! - Scott is very Happy with his new tattoo!

One Week Later - the bruising is gone and the tattoo looks great!

One Week Later - the bruising is gone and the tattoo looks great!
One Week Later - the bruising is gone and the tattoo looks great!

Tattoo Success! - We now know that tattoos can look great on scarred or grafted skin.

Scott is very happy with his new tattoo and can hardly wait to get more. Other burn survivor's who he has shown his new tattoo, are also very excited to know that they also can successfully get tattoos on their grafted skin once it is fully healed.


We'd like to thank Mr. DANG and Be-Cool Tattoo for making this informative Lens possible. We hope this information will be helpful for other burn injury survivors or anyone thinking about getting a tattoo on a scar.

Thanks, Bambi & Scott

Thanks for Visiting! - Please sign our guestbook and tell us what you think!

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    • profile image

      Chantel Daley 3 months ago

      I had a tattoo over a burned area on my ankle. I don't know why? It is also bleeding in area's. I will be going to the doctor soon to find out why. But could it be that it's old and needs lotion on it?

    • profile image

      Bill Layton 15 months ago

      THANK YOU!!! I was in a house fire at the age of 9. I have wanted to tattoo over the scars for years. I have some tattoos on skin that was not grafted. I was watching tv and they had a guy that was having his grafts tattooed. I thought I would check it out. Can you say Hello Sleves

    • profile image

      Freddy 24 months ago

      I'm 80% and definitely getting covered but people already think it's a tattoo, I don't hide my scars there a conversation starter lol .. Facebook: Freddy beeson

    • profile image

      Lori 2 years ago

      I am still in hospital after being severely burned from catching fire in a minor kitchen explosion. Reading stories like this help me to remember that I can come through this and be strong and beautiful again - just like Scott.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Liz, I have a permanent makeup business that specializes in paramedical tattooing. Skin camouflaging helps a lot and you can also tattoo in eyebrows,eyeliner, and define lips. The results can be amazing! My website is unfortunately under construction (just now putting it together) but to answer your question, yes, skin tattoo's will definitely help to even out the color. Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank for the pictures now I am convinced that I might be able to have the burn scar on my shoulder tattooed over with something beautiful

    • profile image

      bozanap 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi stacey, I feel your pain girl!! Where are you from?? I'm 22 and I was in a fire about 6 months ago.. only 15 percent of my body but its splattered everywhere except my face, to the point that I have to cover everything up.. this is gonna be my first summer with the scars, and i honestly don't know how I am gonna do it :(.. so unfortunate, but would be nice to have somebody to talk to that understands

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Maybe if you were a better tattooist the art would've came out better!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was asked to be on la ink after my first skin graft tattoo went so well. Since then I have covered all of my grafts (60% of my body). It can be done and made to look amazing. You need a great artist and put you're trust in them. You have to work with the texture. Search YouTube- laink se02ep01

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have been a burn victim since I was a 6 month old baby. 75% of my face is scared and I have been wondering if a skin color tattoo would even out the different skin color. Now I'm 41 and would love to see myself different before I die. I have never seen a picture of myself without the scares and wonder if this is even possible.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      omg that is so like awesome tk god and goddess that he found someone willin' to help wit the healin' process of bein' burned......

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for this. I have had a skin graft on my shoulder for 45 years and have been thinking of covering it with a tattoo. This is the best example on the web I have found with photos and a real live story behind it. This has really helped me.

    • profile image

      aanarosey 5 years ago

      Looking amazing! But I have a huge wonder about the pain while putting the tattoos. I have a great desire to talk with someone of having tattoo!! I know it's sounding funny but I really feel like it. Thanks for a cool input.

      choosing the best tattoo studio

    • profile image

      aanarosey 5 years ago

      Looking amazing! But I have a huge wonder about the pain while putting the tattoos. I have a great desire to talk with someone of having tattoo!! I know it's sounding funny but I really feel like it. Thanks for a cool input.

    • profile image

      leftys-bar-9 6 years ago

      Is there an ink out there that is better for the scar to take? If so what is it , and the cost?

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 6 years ago

      What a beautiful way to "reclaim" skin that has seen trauma. Scott's tattoo is wonderful, and your friend is a very talented artist.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome! you've help me make up my mind. I'm a survivor from breast cancer, i had skin graft from back to breast, in May 2012, i was left with scars. I'm just waiting to let them heal. Thank you for this infor.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm so glad i found this, answered all my questions. i was badly burnt when i was only 1 year old and have never walked otside the house without a full length top on, even in summer i wear jumpers and long tops, and i never go swimming. hopefully i can start covering my scars soon, just a matter of finding someone who doesn't cost a fortune. im 21 and just want to be happy with my body. some people really take their bodys for granted....

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for this!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Tattoos over grafted skin is indeed something that I would not have thought of but definitely an art form that many burn victims would consider. Great information.

    • imaginemdd lm profile image

      imaginemdd lm 6 years ago

      Thank you for this, very interesting & informative about tattoos on burn scars. I was interested in tattoos over surgical scars and this is a well done article.

    • SandraGahlinger profile image

      SandraGahlinger 6 years ago

      Great service piece with all the nitty gritty questions answered. Thanks for sharing - the tattoos look amazing. I don't have burns - but scars from surgery and have been curious about what the process might be like. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      thanks so much! im a burn survivor as well, 2and a half years post injury and hoping to get some tattoos eventually and this has really helped me a lot! u guys rock!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for this, I have been want.g to have my tats done again since I list my original tats in a house fire 5 yrs ago, but up till now all artists have refused to do any art work on me. Thank you again. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @photofk3: I am a burn victum its been 6yrs now got grafs on my left leg pretty bad and my right hand fingers need a tatoes on my back and legs to cover my burns and back where my skin was peeled off my back. Is their someone out their that can help me out, the problem is I am a widow and can't afford to pay, Is their an angle out their please!!!!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Awesome tattoo story! (thanks to CCGAL for pointing this page to me).

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 7 years ago

      I had read about a lady who got a vine & flowers tattoo to disguise the surgical scar left from an abdominal surgery, but I never would have thought about tattooing grafted skin. This is the sort of thing that Squidoo is such a great platform for sharing. Even though I don't do tattoo myself, I found myself fascinated by your story and the photos. WOW.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      For YearsI have considered a tattoo to cover my burn scar on my upper arm. I have since covered my arm wearing a long sleeve shirt even in the hottest weather. I am sooo glad that this article was written. I look forward to checking out a reputable tattoo parlor so I can once again not feel so self conscious and be able to feel comfortable when I am shirtless. Thank you so much for this article!

    • photofk3 profile image

      photofk3 7 years ago

      Unususal and interesting lens. Keep it up.

    • profile image

      topseomarketinggroup 7 years ago

      Nice Work, Very beautiful tattoo designs check out some of our in house tattoo designs.West Island Tattoo

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 7 years ago

      This is an incredible story. What a great way for burn victims to reclaim their bodies!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      thank-you for the info it has helped me sooooo much.x

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Another incredible story. Thanks for posting it on facebook

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

      Congrats on your purple star!! What an interesting lens, and helpful too.

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 8 years ago

      This lens will be added to your feature a little later in the day, or tomorrow. I think you will want to visit this lens, though:

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congratulations on your Purple Star Bambi - this is a fascinating Tattoo lens.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Your Purple Star has been awarded by our Purple Star Queen of the week, luvmyludwig.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      ohh thank you very much for the information.!

      i'm planning to get a tattoo dats y on my scar that I had when I was still 4.

      Since I'm turning 18 next month it will be legal to get a tattoo just to cover my scar on my leg.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 8 years ago

      Great doco on a practical problem that many people must face. Love the question-answer approach and the lovely pics. So glad Scott has recovered from his ordeal and is feeling good about himself. He is a very brave and inspiring person. Top marks


    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      cool story. thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Nice tattoo, and nice scars too! :) Now that I've seen someone else do it, I'm wondering if I'll ever miss the scars on my legs after I tattoo over them? I've had them for almost 24 years, since I was an infant. It's all I've ever known my left leg to be. But like you said, getting the specific, special tattoo that I want will make it nice.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      i`ve had skin graphs to my arm after getting burnt. and now i no i can have it tattooed on

      its cool thanks :)

    • profile image

      jaye3000 9 years ago

      I'm glad he's okay! And happy the tattoo worked out. Very nice lens, 5 big ones :)

    • cyberpunkdreams1 profile image

      cyberpunkdreams1 9 years ago

      Excellent, very personal lens. The pictures of the tattooing itself were very interesting.

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 9 years ago

      wonderful job. I am glad that you and hubby were able to find someone so talented to do the tattoo. I am a huge tattoo fan! I am sure this lens will be a great place for people to go for information.

    • x3xsolxdierx3x lm profile image

      x3xsolxdierx3x lm 9 years ago

      this is a pretty awesome lens......well put together......and personal....thoroughly enjoyed it! :)

    • profile image

      bdkz 9 years ago

      Another stellar lens Bambi! Excellent information for people who want to get tattoo's on grafted skin!

    • MikeMoore LM profile image

      MikeMoore LM 9 years ago

      Very, very nice lens. I loved the pictures and personal feel. You and Scott did a wonderful job. 5 star lens for sure.

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 9 years ago from Minnesota

      Nice lens! I'm sure there will be a lot of people checking this one out!


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