Getting a tattoo is very different from putting on nail polish or lipstick or rubbing hair oil through your hair. The thing that sets tattoos apart is that they are permanent. So once you have decided to go in for a tattoo, you are stuck with it forever, for better or for worse. Your body, on the other hand, goes through a lot of changes as the years go by, and there is nothing permanent about it. You might gain weight as a natural corollary of growing older, or you might put on weight due to some specific health conditions.
On the other hand, you might also lose weight a few years after getting your tattoo done. This could be because you are working out more, or because some specific conditions like increased blood sugar. As your weight changes, so does the shape of your body. The skin gets stretched. And this has an impact on your tattoo. Let us look at some of the effects of changes in body weight.
Someone who is actively trying to lose weight would tell you how difficult it is to make a difference of even a kilo or an inch. Most of the weight reduction we see in people are not significant enough to alter the tattoo significantly. The only situation in which there can be a significant change in the look of the tattoo is if the lines on the tattoo are drawn really close to each other.
Weight loss might cause two adjacent lines to look like one line if they are too close together. It has generally been observed that if a person undergoes slight to moderate weight loss, then the look of the tattoo actually improves.
There is one scenario in which weight loss can negatively impact the look of the tattoo. Some people lose a great amount of weight in a very short duration due to unnatural circumstances like a prolonged illness or due to some medical procedure they undergo. When such reasons cause a lot of weight to reduce in a short time, the skin of the body hangs loose in many places. If there is a tattoo at any of these places, then the image of the tattoo can look skewed.
Weight Gain - due to pregnancy
Usually a woman who is pregnant gains weight all over her body, but some specific parts of the body gain comparatively more weight. The skin in these areas get stretched and might impact the tattoo negatively. The biggest impact is if the tattoo is in the midriff area, because that is the part which gains the most weight. Apart from the effect that will have on the existing tattoo, the additional problem is that more marks appear over and above the tattoos (these marks are called stretch marks).
Unlike normal weight gain, the weight gain during pregnancy occurs in a very short span of time and the increase in weight is not just of a few kilos but much more substantial. That is why tattoos in the midriff area are almost spoilt totally during pregnancy. If you are a woman who has future plans for pregnancy, then you should get tattoos after your delivery, or you should get them in other areas of your body.
Weight Gain - due to other reasons
People do gain weight as they grow older, but obesity is observed even in lower ages. In case you have gone in for a tattoo and are unable to control your weight gain, then you might still be able to get by without major damage to your tattoo if the gain is moderate and is spread out over a longer period. But some people gain weight drastically sometimes if they are doing specific physical activity (like lifting weights) or if they have had a surgery, or if they are taking specific medication.
The problem occurs, like we said earlier, if the weight gain is drastic, then the stretch marks as a result of that would surely play havoc with the tattoo. The more visible the stretch marks, the worse would the tattoo look.
Gain in muscle mass
The shape and size of our body is not entirely in our hands always, especially when we talk of the future. No one can say with certainty how much he or she will weigh 5 years from now. While talking of tattoos, the biggest and undeniable truth about it is that tattoos are permanent. So if you get a tattoo now and your body undergoes some drastic changes a few others down the line then the tattoo might get disfigures, as we described above. That is why it is important that if there are any planned body weight or shape changes in the next few years, then the tattoo should be created only after those planned weight changes have already taken place.
For those occasions when the weight change is unplanned, the best you can do is to ensure that the gain or reduction of weight takes place gradually and only up to a certain level, so that no stretch marks are created, and the tattoo is not greatly disfigured.