Tattoo Stretching

It’s no secret that as you go through life your body changes. We might gain or lose muscle. We might gain or lose weight. We might grow taller or gain scars or stretch marks. For those that have ink or are considering getting it a big concern is how well will a tattoo hold up against all these bodily changes? As a top Toronto tattoo shop we’ve set out to answer that burning question people keep asking, do tattoos stretch?

Do Tattoos Stretch?

The quick and simple answer to this question is, yes and it depends. Tattoos are inked onto your skin so as your skin stretches so do the ink. This can cause the image to look distorted and different from when it was first done. The good news is that subtle body changes, or ones that happen over a length of time, will cause less damage to a tattoo.

The location and size also impact how much a tattoo will stretch. On larger tattoos, such as a sleeve, the changes will be much less noticeable than a smaller design. Certain locations will also be less prone to stretching than others. Tattoos on wrists, hands, feet, ankles, and back of the neck are less likely to be affected by a bodily change, therefore, less likely to stretch. Men find that tattoos on their arms and stomach are more prone to stretching and bodily changes while women see it in tattoos on their hips, thighs, stomachs, and breast.

Causes of Stretching

If you’re worried about stretching you might be wondering what you can do to prevent it. Sometimes nothing can be done. The body naturally changes as you progress through life. But here are a few of the most common causes of stretching to consider.

Muscle Building

If you love working out and are trying to build muscle mass think about your tattoo as you do it. Building muscle slowly likely won’t affect it but quickly putting it on can lead to it stretching. Similarly, quickly dropping muscle will also cause a tattoo to stretch.


When you gain weight your skin stretches out to accommodate for that. What this means is that your tattoo gets stretched out too. Losing the weight, suddenly or not, will also affect a tattoo, as the skin might now be saggy. Gaining or losing some weight won’t usually affect the design, especially if it’s done slowly, but rapid or extreme weight loss or gain can lead to stretching.


Growing a human inside of you is a serious accomplishment. During pregnancy not only do women put on weight but also their stomach grows as the baby does. This can lead to stomach tattoos getting distorted or stretched. Usually, in this instance, the tattoo will return to normal. However, stretch marks are a common lasting side effect of pregnancy. Stretch marks can impact a tattoo but some artists are able to go in later and alter the design to hide these.


As you grow older your skin will naturally become less taunt. This causes it to wrinkle and sag. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this. The good news is that for many people this doesn’t affect their tattoos too badly.

How To Prevent Stretching

In many instances, there isn’t anything that can be done to prevent stretching, especially if it is caused by pregnancy or age. To prevent tattoos stretching from muscles or weight try to gain and lose it slowly or gradually.

If you have any concerns or questions about tattoo stretching contact us or visit our downtown Toronto tattoo shop. One of our qualified and experienced tattoo artists would be happy to talk to you.

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