What Happens To Tattoos When You Gain Muscle? Any Side Effects?

Tattoos are one of the fun and straightforward ways to change your look. It is true to say that the tattoo will become a part of your body, and it will last for a lifetime unless you apply laser removal.

On the other hand, the skin is our most flexible organ. It grows with us through pregnancy or weight gain. Hence, many people may wonder what happens to tattoos when you gain muscle.

This article will provide an insightful explanation regarding this matter. So, without further ado, let’s get into the details!

What Happens To Tattoos When You Gain Muscle?

What Happens To Tattoos When You Gain Muscle?

If you gain muscle, your skin will start to stretch a bit, and so will your tattoos. Fortunately, the stretching of the tattoo is negligible.

Overall, the tattoo is placed on the skin. Therefore, what happens to your skin will also happen to your tattoo. 

If your muscle growth is steady and controlled, the tattoo will only stretch a little bit until your skin is fully acclimated to the new muscle density; You may not even notice the change of the tattoo with the naked eye.

But if you do intense bodybuilding, you can expect tattoo changes due to muscle growth. The skin can even stretch to the point that the tattoos lose their original perfection or change color.

Don’t worry. These cases are extremely rare. As mentioned above, if your workout is steady and controlled, your tattoo should be fine.

Should You Stop Hitting The Gym When Getting A Tattoo?

Fortunately, the short answer is no. Do not worry! It is possible to hit the gym while your tattoo is healing, as long as you have the right strategy for your training.

We recommend that you stop practicing the tattooed area about a week after receiving it. Vietnamese gymnasts can contaminate new tattoos with bacteria and sweat. Moreover, wearing tight clothing like gym clothes can also irritate the tattoo.

If your workout involves the tattooed area, healing may be adversely affected. However, it is possible to exercise other body parts.

Recommended Body Parts For Tattooing

As we mentioned, tattoos are almost unaffected by muscle gain. However, it is best to tattoo on body parts that are less prone to stretch marks; These include:

The sleeve area

The sleeve area is perfect for tattooing, although it is not suitable for large and elaborate tattoos. The skin of this part also changes little, even if you gain weight or muscle.

Thighs & calves


Thighs and calves contain some of the strongest muscles; However, the skin is thicker and more elastic. Therefore, the tattoo will also be less affected than expected

Hence, if you want to get a tattoo without wanting it to be affected by changes in your body, thighs or calves are the perfect picks.

Body Parts That Need More Attention When Getting A Tattoo

Some parts are prone to muscle gain and skin stretching, which include:

The shoulder & upper back area


When hitting the gym, the muscles of the upper back and shoulders will be directly affected. The muscles in these parts are more likely to become enlarged; As a result, the skin is more prone to stretch marks. 

If you still want to tattoo on these areas, it is essential to consider the size and design of the tattoo first.

The abdomen area 

We all want to change the abdomen for the better. There’s nothing sexier than a six-pack, right? However, the abdomen area is one of the most stretchy areas, especially for women.


Therefore, if you plan to gain or lose weight, gain muscle, or start to become pregnant, tattooing on the abdomen is not recommended. It is best to avoid tattooing in this area until you reach your goal.

Will Tattoos Change If You Lose Muscle?

We have already discussed the impact of muscle gain on tattoos. So what about losing muscle?

When you lose muscle or lose weight in a short period, chances are your tattoo will be disfigured or discolored.

In that case, it is essential to do some muscle-building exercises. Otherwise, very few tattoo artists can handle your tattoos. In fact, elastic and sagging skin is too challenging to deal with unless a solid mass of muscle underneath supports it.

Losing weight can change how your tattoo looks

If you plan to lose weight, it is a good idea to get a tattoo after you reach your goal; This allows you to prevent any distortion to the tattoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do when my tattoo starts to change because of muscle gain?

Is your skin deformed due to muscle gain? Do not worry! There is still hope. With just a little professional touch-up, you can solve the problem.

If your tattoo has minor distortions, such as color fading, restoration is easy. However, if your tattoo has been significantly disfigured, it is best to cover it with another tattoo.

Of course, it must be ensured that the new tattoo will be larger than the current tattoo. Therefore, if the tattoo is placed in a tight place, you may have difficulty. Furthermore, the new tattoo must be thicker and darker.

How working out affects tattooed skin?

  • Tattooed skin stretching

As mentioned above, exercise contributes to skin stretching. Therefore, you should not do intense exercise after getting a tattoo because this will disrupt the healing process.

  • Friction

We mentioned this when we talked about wearing tight clothes while working out. Whether you wear loose or tight clothes, there is bound to be friction between the tattoo and the clothing’s material.

  • Sweating & increased temperature

You will definitely start to sweat, and your skin temperature will rise during exercise. These factors can disrupt the healing process.

How to take care of tattoos after a workout

Usually, after working out, it’s essential to take a shower to wash away the dirty sweat.

However, you should not shower with a new tattoo for at least 24 hours because water can prevent the tattoo from drying out and prolong the healing process.

Thus, it is best to wash the surrounding tattoo area with antibacterial soap and warm water.


In short, to clarify what happens to tattoos when you gain muscles, your tattoo will not be affected if you build muscle steadily and naturally (no steroids). However, gaining weight or muscle quickly is another thing. So, it is essential to invest in a high-quality tattoo healing cream and closely follow the tattoo artist’s advice.

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