How Long to Wait by Stacie Rae Weir

Now that you’ve had a mastectomy, WHEN can you get your new tattoos??

The question everyone asks!  For some crazy reason there are different answers to this question out there but to me it’s really quite simple.

*Your body will tell you.  There are red-flags that a very experienced tattooer can recognize.  We only get to the point of being able to recognize these warning signs after years of taking chances and seeing the results.  So we develop an eye for it.  A feel for it.  It’s very important to go to an artist that fully understands this.  Your body has everything it needs to heal except for your patience.  So, just slow things down, enjoy the journey right where you’re at, and when the time is right, we will proceed and it will be perfect.

*Your pro tattooer will tell you.  If it’s me, this is how I do it – I need to see and feel the tissue in person.  There are different types of scar tissue and many different types of skin.  Age, weight, sun damage and skin tone come into play.  I will assess the colour, tone and texture of the scar tissue.  I will assess blood flow and I will assess the surrounding tissue and its attachment to the scar.  I will tell you what I’m seeing and together we will come up with a plan to approach the tattoo.  That might involve waiting 3 more months or proceeding immediately!  I want YOU to be happy in the long run.  I don’t need your money that day, but I do need to know that I am doing everything I can to do the best work, in integrity, so that when I see you in 5 years at a mall, you’re still ecstatic and your husband can’t even tell that they’re not real!  So you forgot they were even taken away! (well, almost)

*Your surgeon/physician will tell you.  BUT!!  In my experience so far, they usually advise wrong!  Yup, I said it – surgeons are wrong.  I hear them say 6 weeks to 3 months.  In the majority of clients, that’s simply not long enough for the scar tissue to mature to the point of growth of granulation tissue and replaced by collagen.   There are one or two that heal that fast, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Now, here’s where it gets scary, folks!  IF that tissue is tattooed before it is ready or by underskilled hands, it will tear.  It will look like ‘hamburger’.  It will possibly scar much worse and it may NEVER BE TATTOOABLE AGAIN.  This is important, as almost ALL medical tattoo practitioners don’t even take basic training in tattooing.  This is where I get riled up, when my lovely clients come in that have been tattooed at their surgeons office or by a cosmetic tattooer, and they want it ‘touched up’ but its damaged beyond repair, and there’s not a thing even I can do for them.  This is also why I train and certify only excellent tattooers, so our family of practitioners can be trusted to have this knowledge and respect these issues fully.
So, be careful out there, friends!
As always, find a great tattooer, do what it takes to make it happen, and be proud of yourself for doing the right thing.  When you still look at your tattoo with joy in 10, 15, 20+ years, you’ll be glad you did!  Our tattoo family is ever growing, so keep an eye on the ‘ARTISTS’ page of this site to find someone great in your area!
The below picture shows the varying degrees at which this scar is maturing. We can see redness, pink tones, purple tones, and white, mature scarring as well.   This is a great example, showing one scar in a few different maturing phases at once