Can Tattoos Alter After Weight Loss and Body Changes?

Updated 05/07/19
 Igor Ustynskyy/Getty Images

Changes in your body and fluctuation in your weight over the course of a lifetime are not only normal but totally expected. If you have a tattoo, these physical changes can alter your design and placement, but the effects are less noticeable than you might think. Ahead, how weight loss and weight gain from pregnancy, working out, or otherwise could affect your body ink, but how that also should not stop you from living your best, truest life.

How Weight Loss Affects Tattoos

When it comes to weight loss, the biggest changes in the composition of your tattoo will be in the size and location on your body. For instance, if you got a tattoo on the side of your thigh, then dissipated a considerable amount of weight, the positioning of that tattoo might no longer be the same. Instead of residing on the side of your thigh, it might migrate toward the front or the back. Additionally, a tattoo that previously covered a small area of your thigh might appear to cover more area as your thigh lessens in size.

It’s important to note that smaller tattoos might also lose their detail as the skin, which was one pulled taut, shifts.

How Weight Gain Affects Tattoos

Only in cases of extreme weight loss or weight gain will you see a noticeable difference in a tattoo design. Similar to weight loss, weight gain can affect the placement and size of the tattoo design. During pregnancy, tattoos located directly in the body's midsection are susceptible to change due to the rate at which the skin is expanding. While stretch marks can alter an existing tattoo design, the effects of the marks depend on each individual’s specific design and placement. If you decide to touch up the area later on, seek out a tattoo artist who specializes in the area, as this skin texture can prove tricky to work with.


Working out and toning your muscles shouldn’t affect your tattoo at all, but if heavy weightlifting is your thing, significant muscle gain could morph the shape. The better the placement of the tattoo in relationship to the muscle, the less chance of changing.

Final Thoughts About Tattoos and Weight Changes

If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo, consider the above information, but don’t let it deter you from getting the art you want. Instead, use the above knowledge to help you choose a design that will age with you and transform beautifully and seamlessly over the years.

If you already have a tattoo and have noticed changes in your artwork due to weight loss or weight gain for whatever reason, revisit your tattoo artist for a touch-up and for their professional opinion. You might even decide on a reworked version of your original art that better represents this stage of your life. But at the end of the day, the decision to embrace your ever-transforming body art or touch it up is a decision on you can (and should) make for yourself.

Related Stories