Can You Tattoo over a Mole?

Woman with mole on shoulder

Lisa Kimmel / Getty Images 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost every adult is born with nevi (or more commonly known as moles), and the average adult may have anywhere between 10 to 40 moles on their skin. In other words, moles are common. And while we have to be diligent about monitoring these brown spots since they have the potential to become cancerous, most are completely healthy and should not cause alarm. That's right: Moles don't always have to be scary, in fact, these beauty marks can be pretty darn, well, beautiful (for lack of a better word)—so much so that even some people choose to embrace them—in their tattoo.

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

Whether you choose to tattoo over your moles or work around them, know that the latter is the recommended option. Even before you get a tattoo, it is highly suggested that you have your dermatologist check any moles in the area where you are considering getting inked. Although moles are usually benign, there is always the possibility that a mole could serve as an indicator of skin cancer. This makes the preservation of moles important.

One of the ways a mole can indicate a problem is by changing size or color. If it has been tattooed over with any kind of pigment, it will hinder your ability to spot any suspicious changes. Not to mention that ink can mimic the spread of metastatic melanoma by seeping into underlying tissues, according to the Harvard Health Blog. For your safety, do not tattoo over a mole. While it can feasibly be done, it is not worth the risk.

Embracing Your Moles

However, a mole can safely be tattooed around. Here's a look at how some creative folks incorporated their moles into their tattoo design to serve an artistic purpose.

Article Sources
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  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Moles: overview.

  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Tattoos, moles, and melanoma. Updated August 5, 2013.

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