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Bodyart – Is Tattoo deformation through training and bodybuilding possible?

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Bodyart – Is Tattoo deformation through training and bodybuilding possible?

Can tattoos be deformed by a heavily speeded up muscle growth? Some men and women who do sports on a regular basis, might have already asked themselves this question. For quite some time now, tattoos have always been in fashion throughout all layers of society. Not only as a decorative accessory but also as a statement or as some kind of bodyart.

The times when tattoos decorated the arms and shoulders of bikers, prison inmates, sailors or a rare breed of avant-garde artists, are long gone. More and more people are discovering the art of tattoos. And with tattoo removal techniques becoming easyier with modern advances in laser technology. Many of those however who modify their bodies with these coloured motives, do also through bodybuilding and subsequently muscle growth.

When the muscle tissue changes under the skin, the overlying skin also changes. To what extent this distortion happens, depends on several factors.


If the muscles and the connecting tissue between the muscles and the skin are altered, the proportions of the skin are changed as well. When the lower tissue grows very fast or grows to a greater extend in one place than a neighbouring tissue, it will result in a un-proportional shift of the skin above.

Commonly known as "stretch marks" during pregnancy (the scientific term is Striae Cutis atrophicae), these types of marks appear, like in a pregnancy, the skin is stretched very fast and to a great extend.

In general, luckily these kind of marks don't show up, when muscles grow to a moderate and normal extent.

But there is of course always an exception to the rule. These kinds of deformations can happen, when anabolics and steroids for quick muscles gain are abused. Because this illegal method is banned in most countries, it is not used by most responsible athletes who value their health, this rare exception can be neglected and deformation as a result of fast muscle growth is more or less seldom.



"If you try hard enough, you can deform everything!". Of course you are able to distort tattoos. This only becomes relevant, when an already tattooed very skinny person, decides to enter into professional bodybuilding. In this case they would have to count on an extensive muscle growth. And because muscles have a characteristic development and shape, they would impose this shape onto a tattoo and therefore change its original proportion. Furthermore, one could expect a certain amount of fading of the colour-intensity, because now the original pattern is distributed over a larger area.


Gaining and Losing

Not only gaining muscle-mass can be an issue, but also the reverse effect. For example when athletes at the height of their training and physical fitness and form, decides to get a tattoo and afterwards gives up or quits. Either because of health issues or simply can't sustain the level of performance, some kind of deformation is to be expected. The good news is, that this effect could even be a positive one. Because the stretched skin would contract and tighten, the pigments of colour move closer together and the tattoo will shine with a more dense and brilliant colour. To picture that effect, just take an inflated balloon, write something on it with a marker pen and then deflate it slightly. The effect on your skin would of course, be on a much smaller scale, unless of course the use of illegal substances were involved.

Prior Circumstances

Of course, the above-mentioned situation can also occur if someone's health condition is previously effected. For example, if a person has a weak connective tissue or a tendency towards keloid formation (Keloids are scars that form over the edge of a wound to repair and protect an injury). In this case tattoos would not be advisable in the first place, because even the tiny "wounds" inflicted by a needle of a tattoo machine, could cause such an condition.


Before one decides to decorate his or her body with such art, it is always advisable to talk to a professional first. Most of the well established tattoo studios have a lot of experience in such matters, and will be happy to give valuable advice concerning tattoos and muscle growth, before a final decision is made. Since this is a permanent or at least a very cumbersome measure to remove, make your decision wisely. If there are already other tattoos present, these should be treated well with moisturising ointments to maintain the quality of the tattoo. The most commonly used and proven product, is good old Vaseline©. It lubricates the skin well and contains no known harming substances. In the meanwhile there are many other products on the market, that are specially designed to maintain and even enhance the quality of tattoos. The skin remains supple and possible distortions caused by connective tissue can therefore be prevented.


To sum up, there isn't really much to worry about. In most cases, no real strong and unpleasant deformation is to be expected by muscle-growth through physical training. And as in many other things that affect our lives, careful and judicial handling of yourself, and your body is certainly good advice, to be aware of and pay heed to.

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