Do you have clients asking you about the implications of working out for their fresh tattoos?
You may have clients concerned about the scientific implications of bodybuilding on their tattoos. Let's break down how muscle growth might impact the tattoo pigments.
In this guide, we're answering your burning questions about the crossover between the tattooing and bodybuilding worlds.
- Arm tattoos generally won't stretch with muscle growth.
- Tattoos need time to heal, but this doesn't necessarily mean a complete halt to training.
- Tattoos can enhance, not obscure, a muscular physique.
How Does Bodybuilding Affect Tattoos and Tattoo Ink Pigments?
What Happens When a Tattoo is Applied?
First, it's essential to understand what happens when a tattoo is applied. During the tattooing process, a needle injects ink deep into the dermis, the second layer of skin, where the cells are more stable than the epidermis (the outer layer). This ensures the tattoo stays relatively permanent, only fading slightly over years due to the skin's natural exfoliation process.
Tattoo Pigment and Muscular Growth
Now, when a person undergoes bodybuilding and develops larger muscles, it's important to realize that the increase in muscle size is generally due to the growth of muscle fibers and not the skin itself. The skin is elastic and stretches to accommodate the increased volume, but the tattoo ink, residing in the dermis, generally stays in place.
Therefore, when it comes to the pigmentation of tattoos, bodybuilding isn't likely to have a dramatic effect. The pigments should remain stable even as the muscles underneath grow larger.
Factors That Can Impact Tattoo Appearance
While muscle growth doesn't significantly affect tattoo pigments, other factors might alter a tattoo's appearance.
Age and Skin Elasticity: Over time, skin loses its elasticity due to age and prolonged sun exposure. This can lead to tattoos becoming distorted or faded.
Weight Fluctuation: Rapid changes in weight, either loss or gain, can also affect the appearance of a tattoo. This is particularly true in areas prone to stretching, such as the stomach or arms.
Hydration: Skin hydration can also impact the look of a tattoo. Well-hydrated skin will make tattoos appear more vibrant.
Will My Client's Tattoo Stretch if They're Building Muscle?
One of the most common concerns is whether muscle growth will cause a tattoo to stretch or distort. The short answer is typically no.
When muscle growth occurs, only certain areas of the skin actually stretch. For instance, when a person's arms become larger, the skin around the armpit is usually the one showing the evidence of stretching, not the biceps or triceps. This can be evidenced by the location of stretch marks in people who have undergone rapid weight changes.
The growth of muscle is unlikely to cause substantial enlargement of a tattoo. A few inches of difference in arm circumference would dramatically change the arm's appearance but would hardly impact the tattoo's aesthetics. Just like the changes our skin undergoes naturally over the years, some alterations can occur, but they're usually minor.
Now, if a person starts to grow as an adult, that's a different story!
Do Clients Need to Stop Training After Getting a Tattoo?
While it's true that tattoos need time to heal, this doesn't necessarily equate to a total halt in workouts. Tattoos, like muscles post-workout, require a recovery period to heal properly.
The first 10-15 days after getting a tattoo are crucial to its longevity. It's important to keep the tattoo clean, moisturized, and out of direct sunlight. You should advise your clients not to train the freshly tattooed area for at least 2-3 days, but this doesn't mean they should stop exercising altogether. Instead, they can focus on different areas of the body, depending on where the new tattoo is located. Just remind your clients to take it easy and while missing workouts is bad, tattoos last a lifetime.
Remember, each person's recovery time varies, and individuals are generally the best judge of their own healing process. Encourage your clients to listen to their bodies and not to push their limits excessively during recovery.
Can a Tattoo Obscure My Client's Physique?
For fitness enthusiasts, the question of whether a tattoo will overshadow their hard-earned physique often arises. But as many real-life examples show, strong tattoos and a strong body can coexist perfectly.
Tattoos that match the client's musculature in shape, flow, and size will usually enhance their physique rather than detracting from it. However, advising your client against getting a small tattoo on a large body part would be prudent, as this may not enhance their musculature effectively.
Protecting Tattoo Pigments
To keep tattoos looking their best, it's essential to maintain good skincare habits. This includes staying hydrated, applying sunscreen when in direct sunlight, and moisturizing regularly.
Remember, the science behind tattooing is as important as the art itself. Being equipped with this knowledge will enable you to better educate your clients and address any concerns they may have about the potential effects of bodybuilding on their tattoos.
For more information on our sets, please take a look at our piece on Xtreme Inks: Artist Collections.