Scar & Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage FAQs

Scar & Brazilian Stretch Marks Camouflage Frequently Asked Questions


Can I have my scar camouflaged by tattooing?

Whether you are a suitable candidate for treatment depends on the type, colour and age of the scar, your skin type, as well as if you have any skin or medical conditions.

For camouflage using skin tone tattoo ink, the scar or stretch marks need to be lighter than the surrounding skin.  If scars or stretch marks are darker or red and at least 2 years old, we can do a test to see if ink will help. You can still benefit from enlightening dry-tattooing treatment (MCA inkless needling) or derma pen microneedling using serums – this will gradually soften and lighten the scar tissue,  Red stretch marks indicate the skin hasn’t finished healing yet, so they need to left alone until they go white.  If they stay red after 2 years, then you can have dry-needling to try to lighten and heal them.  If, once the skin is smooth, there is still a colour difference, then we can look at putting some ink in.

If you have stretch marks, you may not necessarily need the use of tattoo ink. Some clients have skin tone and stretch marks that are too similar in colour for micropigmentation. The stretch marks are only visible because the scarred skin is slightly deeper than the normal skin. In this scenario we would perform MCA inkless needling (AKA dry tattooing but wiht serum) instead. This involves a similar process as the inking treatment, but without the use of any ink colours. The skin on the scars are carefully damaged just enough to induce the healing process which stimulates collagen and elastin production. The scars will soften, smooth and shrink. When fully healed, the scars will no longer be as deep as they were before, meaning they will be less noticeable.  This is also called Scar Relaxation Therapy.

Please note that stretch mark tattoo ink camouflage and MCA inkless needling are 2 different treatments which require different techniques and different needles.

Some clients will need to have MCA inkless needling done first, before progressing to tattoo ink. This is to relax the skin and scar tissue to promote healing. Usually several sessions of MCA inkless needling will be needed first. You will be advised if you should have this done first.

There are certain conditions under which we can not treat someone, such as if they are pregnant, or have a bleeding disorder, amongst several things. We would discuss this with you prior to treatment to see if you are suitable.



What is stretch mark camouflaging?

The Brazilian stretch mark camouflage tattoo procedure is a form of micropigmentation. Pigments are inserted into the deeper layers of skin to correct the colour of the stretch marks and blend with the surrounding natural skin colour. By colour matching and mixing specially formulated pigments with mixing agents, the appearance of stretch marks are reduced.

This technique is intended to create a pigment illusion, so the stretch marks are less noticeable. Please note that this treatment cannot remove stretch marks but the process of needling itself can help improve and soften them, as it stimulates collagen and elastin production and then the ink of course disguises them further.

Stretch mark tattoo camouflage has been around several years now.  Brazilian Stretch Mark / Scar camouflage was brought to the limelight by Rodolpho Torres, a tattoo artist from Brazil, who created the ink blending and application technique. We have been trained by Rodolpho himself, as the first clinic to offer this treatment and training in the UK.  We have developed this treatment MUCH further, using additional knowledge of skin healing, skin anatomy and colour theory, which the Brazilians are lacking.  There is actually nothing Brazilian about it at all – they are not using any secret techniques or different “special” inks and it has become more of a marketing tactic rather than anything else.  The Ink Illusions techniques combine knowledge from Brazil, USA and the UK to make it the best possible treatment there is.


How does the procedure work?

Skin tone ink is mixed to match the clients skin tone, together with mixing solution (which also helps prevent colour change). A small patch test is performed on the site to see how well the ink takes, and if the colour heals as expected. If this result is satisfactory, then a full session will be booked. The ink is essentially tattooed on the skin like a regular tattoo, using a shading technique. This ink is inserted in the top of the 2nd layer of the skin (The Dermis) to remain permanent.  Inserting ink only in to the top layer of the skin (The Epidermis) will mean it will shed off as the skin renews, so the correct depth has to be used.


What are the normal steps to treatment?

The diagram below shows the usual steps to treatment for the best possible results – you need to be patient!

Scar & Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage FAQs Ink Illusions

How long does the treatment take?

It can take anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on the size of the area being treated. Obviously if more than one area is being treated in the same visit, then this will be longer. Also note than large areas of ink pigmentation can’t be done on a single visit, since it will be too much ink doing in to your body in one go and you could feel unwell afterwards.  For multiple areas, you will have to book separate appointments, unless the areas are small.  On receiving photos of the area to be treated, we can let you know the treatment time. Please note that colour matching your skin tone and mixing the pigments can take up to 40 minutes before your treatment and it is so important you are patient during this very important process. Feel free to amuse yourself on your phone or read whilst this is done. We will require you to work with us on agreeing the final colour to be used.



What if my stretch marks formed recently?

This is a very popular question we get asked regarding stretch marks and tattoos is if it is ok to tattoo on recently formed stretch marks.

Raised or deeper stretch marks, or those that are red or purple, are more difficult for the artist compared to stretch marks that are older, smoother,  and more faded. We will only treat stretch marks that are at least 12-18 months old for just needling, or 2 years old for inking.  Scars take up to 2 years to heal.  Whilst scars are healing, the skin is still moving, so if we insert ink too soon, we cannot predict where the ink will end up, or may clump in areas, leading to undesirable results.

Sometimes the newer red / purple stretch marks will start to disappear on their own as the body heals itself.  MCA inkless needling with scar repair serum is recommended on newer stretch marks.  Shiny stretch marks also need to be needled first.



Is the treatment safe?

The short answer is yes but you need to consider some factors. The artist you use, and their experience is of key importance. Aside from experience, proper training and artistic ability, make sure the premises follow government guidelines regarding sanitation. Ink Illusions staff are trained in Infection Control, all equipment and furniture are sterilised after each client and fresh, sterile needles are used for each client. Inks and needles are high quality, purchased from the renowned Killer Ink supplier. Aftercare you perform once the work is finished is of utmost importance to avoid infection, which can lead to scarring and other complications. Tattooing over any scar tissue poses a greater risk to the finished work than a regular tattoo on undamaged skin.  Our pigments contain some traces of metal such as Chromium or Titanium Dioxide which are proven to be safe in the skin.  If you have any known allergies to these metals, we will not be able to carry out the treatment.  If you have to have any MRI / X Rays on the treated areas in the future, you must let the physician know about the ink in your skin.



Tell me more about Titanium Dioxide and colour changes over time?

Titanium Dioxide is an inorganic pigment used to lighten colours – it reflects light and is seen as white.  The particle sizes of Titanium Dioxide are the largest of all pigment sizes.  For this reason, this is the last colour to fade, because your body is not able to break down the particles as fast as smaller pigments.  Therefore, over the years, your stretch mark tattoo will fade and lighten and may appear whiter over time, potentially with a yellow tint if exposed to sun a lot.  This is a very small risk since the ink we use is quite diluted for a natural blend.  Any colour changes (if they do occur) can be corrected at a later stage if it is required by colour correction, or possible removal.  This Brazilian technique treatment has not been around in a more main stream capacity for more than 4-5 years, so long terms results using new techniques and newer pigments is not documented.  Inks also change every year so nobody has seen results after 10 years.  However, the newer techniques use high dilutions and permanent more stable inks, so the ink in the skin isn’t thick and saturated, so will fade more naturally.  Also note, that traditional skin camouflage techniques in a medical capacity have been around a lot longer – if any inks used to camouflage the skin are fleshy coloured, then they too contain Titanium Dioxide – the particle size of titanium dioxide CANNOT be any smaller in semi-permanent micropigmentation ink compared to permanent ink!  You may have seen see that eyebrows etc change colour very quickly after tattooing, fading to blues or oranges.  This is because the pigments in semi-permanent micropigmentation inks are smaller, built not to last as long, using less stable pigment, but the titanium dioxides and iron oxides last longer, no matter what.  Permanent inks with larger overall pigment sizes means that the colour that was inserted will stay true longer as other pigment colours will not fade as fast.  Of course, if a client wants a semi-permanent result then they can opt for semi-permanent ink, although you will find that semi-permanent inks are rarely semi-permanent and some remaining colour will be left in the skin for years after.  Anyone undertaking any type of skin tattoo treatment needs to understand this.



Do I need a patch test?

Absolutely. This is for allergy testing.  We will send you a patch test out in the post before you appointment.  You can sign a waiver form if you wish.



How long do the results last?

Stretch mark camouflage is a penetrative skin treatment using permanent tattoo ink. This means that the results last indefinitely, provided that the correct after care procedures are adhered to. As with any tattoo ink, this will fade slowly over time, but the inks we use should not change colour as long as you minimise sun exposure. With stretch mark tattoo camouflage, the dilution of the ink is increased for a natural result, meaning they do not last as long as a regular decorative tattoo.  The longevity of results varies greatly depending on many factors such as a person’s immune system, sun exposure, products used on the skin, age, metabolism, and adhering to the aftercare whilst the treatment is healing. On average the results can last anywhere from 3 years to 10 years and touch ups are available.  We cannot predict how your skin will deal with the ink and how quickly it will fade, so we can only advise on averages. People’s ink retention will vary greatly.  The pigment doesn’t last as long as a traditional tattoo due to the dilutions required for natural results.  Please also keep in mind that needling the skin even without ink can help improve the appearance of stretch marks, so even when the ink fades, they should appear better than they were initially before treatment.  If after several years your skin has changed colour, or you notice some difference in the ink colour, we can colour correct or perform removal.



What can I expect after the 1st session?

Stretch mark tattoo camouflage requires at least 2 full sessions of treatment to try to achieve the best result we can.  A 3rd may be required depending on a clients ink retention.  Straight after the 1st session, you will be a little sore, swollen and red which is normal.  You will not be able to see the ink colour through the redness of the skin.  This will settle down over the next 7-14 days and then the stretch marks will appear darker.  As the skin heals, the stretch marks may still appear dark for some time (especially on darker skin types) before eventually revealing the final healed colour, usually after 60 days unless hyperpigmentation is involved.  Results after the 1st session vary – some will see a significant improvement whereas others may not be able to see much difference – this is totally normal.  On lighter skin types, the ink dilution has to be higher in order to avoid unnatural results.  On close inspection of the skin, our practitioner will be able to see what ink retention there is, and then make any adjustments to increase retention on your second session if necessary.  Please note, session 1 is always more conservative – this is to avoid over-dilution in the skin.  This allows the practitioner on the second session to see if any colour adjustments are required and build the ink up further, with less dilution.  There is no point in having just x1 session – this is a multi-session treatment and you have to be patient.  As explained at the consultation, we can’t control how well your body retains the ink.  Ink retention is down to your body’s immune system and following the aftercare advise.  At Ink Illusions we do colour tests first anyway on a small area, so we know what to expect before you have your first full session.


What does the healing process look like?

Stretch marks will look much darker wihlst they are healing and this is normal – usually theyare darker for 4-6 weeks.  On darker skin tones this will be a purple tone.  In lighter skin this may be more red / brown.  It can take a lot longer to settle, especially if a client is prone to hyperpigmentation.  It is best not to book any holidays or events involving exposing the treated area for a couple of months following treatment. 


Scar & Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage FAQs Ink Illusions

Does it hurt?

The needles penetrate the skin so you will feel a scratching feeling and some discomfort. We recommend taking some paracetamol before your treatment if you have a low pain threshold. Please do NOT take aspirin as this will affect blood clotting at the treatment site. We do not use numbing cream as this interferes with the skin texture and ink insertion during treatment and can affect the results.  You need to avoid alcohol and caffeine for 24 hours beforehand, and make sure you have eaten well before your appointment.  All these things will help make you more comfortable during your treatment.



What do I need to do to prepare?

We recommend you have a good scrub of the area that will be treated to remove dead skin cells. Also please avoid alcohol and caffeine for 24 hours before and at least 24 hours after treatment. In the run up to treatment, please moisturise or oil your skin so it is in good condition. Dry, flaky skin will not take the ink well and the results will not be as good. On the day of the treatment, do not use any lotions or oils on the area you want treated as this can interfere with the ink placement. Make sure you eat before your appointment as this will help with pain thresholds and feeling well for treatment. Buy a cold compress ready for your aftercare when you get home (you can use a bag of peas from the freezer too!). You will be given some aftercare to take home, but you can also buy raw, organic Coconut Oil in preparation to use also.



How will it look immediately after treatment?

There will be redness and swelling in the area which is normal. You need to use a cold compress to take the swelling down. This will subside over the coming days and weeks and will dry out / scab over whilst healing.  You will be advised to use aftercare to keep the area moisterised.

An example of how it might look is below:




Scar & Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage FAQs Ink Illusions
Scar & Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage FAQs Ink Illusions
Scar & Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage FAQs Ink Illusions

Is there any downtime?

You will be swollen and red so may feel a little discomfort after the procedure. You need to wear loose clothing for at least 2 weeks.  You can go back to work, however.  Do not do any strenuous exercise causing sweating or rubbing on the area for 2 weeks.  You can’t swim or have a bath for 2 weeks and no shower for 24 hours.

What aftercare do I need to do?

You need to avoid sunbeds (preferably indefinitely), saunas for a week, exercise for 1 week, no swimming for 2 weeks, and if going out the in the sun, use an SPF of 40+. You will need to avoid showering on the area treated for 24 hours. The area will scab as it starts to heal – do not scratch it if it itches! You will be given aftercare to avoid scabbing as much as possible.  It is SO important to follow the aftercare advise given at your consultation. If you disturn the area whilst it is healing, not only can you lose some pigment (if you are having ink) but you may cause further scarring. Only use the aftercare recommended.


How long before I see the final result?

The results are not immediate, but you may notice a difference depending on your original skin tone / stretch mark contrast. Expect to leave red and swollen. The final result will show after the skin has completely healed which is normally 60 days. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, you are looking at a longer heal time 90 days or more.  If you do have darker skin, or you are a slow healer, be prepared for the healing time to take many months. Taking care of the treated area will help produce better results with a faster healing time. 

How many sessions will I need?

The number of treatments depends on the condition of the skin and the area that needs to be covered. It also depends on following the aftercare advice. For stretch marks the average is usually 2 sessions. For other scar types the average is 2-4 sessions. It is very difficult to know how many treatments will be needed, as you cannot tell how deep the stretch mark is in the skin, or how well your skin will retain the ink. There are no guarantees that this treatment will work on everyone, although it is very rare for it not to work. Following the aftercare is extremely important for the best chance of a successful result.  Body healing response plays a big part in the final result, which is out of our control.  If you are having MCA inkless needling, the number of sessions is dependent on the severity and size of the scarring or stretch marks.  Some clients will have a great improvement after 1 session, but it is normal to have at least a few sessions.

Can I have the treatment if I have used a sunbed or have a tan?

If you are having ink then absoutely not. We need to match the ink to only your natural skin tone and require that our clients postpone their treatment until their tan has faded. This ensures that we are able to custom blend an ink pigment colour that will look most natural whether you are tanned or not tanned.  If you are having MCA inkless needling then it is fine if you have a tan, although you may need to avoid the sun after treatment, depending on your skin type.

Is the inking treatment ok for all skin types?

Inking isn’t for everyone.  On darker skin types prone to hyperpigmentation, there is a risk the treated areas will be darker than the surrounding skin for a long time after treatment.  Adding in pigmentation along with the clients’ own natural melanin production can mean that the healed result is too dark.  Generally speaking, darker skin types can get a great response using the inkless method.  A colour match test can determine whether full treatment is suitable.  Very pale skin types also may not be suitable for 3 reasons – (1) pale skin is very translucent meaning that the ink may be too obvious in the skin.  If it looks ok initially, there is still a chance if the ink changes colour slightly over time, this is going to be more noticeable, (2) to avoid unnatural results we would dilute the ink a lot more which means it may just completely fade leaving no trace of ink, (3) the lighter the ink mix, the more white content.  White is Titanium DIoxide which is the largest particle size.  This can (but not necessarily) push the skin outwards making the stretch marks look 3D.  Paler skin types can also benefit from MCA inkless needling.  We always do colour tests first to see what happens before proceeding to full inking.


What is the cost of stretch marks or scar camouflage?

The cost varies depending on the size of the area being treated, the location of the clinic and the experience of the technician. We request a photo is sent to for a price to be given together with treatment advice. As a rough guide, to treat stretch marks on the thighs starts from around $450.00 per session depending on the severity and size of the area. Normally 2-3 sessions are required, spaced out with 6-12 weeks in between treatments.

What tattoo inks do you use?

We use a range of quality assured inks from the USA, Brazil and the UK which have proven results on scars and stretch marks. Inks contain some metals which would be explained to you during your consultation. These are completely safe. Please note that 100% Organic inks (which are often used with semi-permanent makeup) are not used for this procedure, as they are prone to change colour over time and the coverage and intensity is not as good as inorganic (permanent) inks.


Can I have treatment if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

As the treatment penetrates the skin, we are unable to treat women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. We look forward to treating you once you have given birth and stopped breast feeding!

What happens if I get a suntan?

We advise that you do not sun bathe for at least 90 days after the treatment. For best long term results we recommend that you apply a high protection SPF to the area treated prior to any sun exposure. The treated area will remain the same tone as the pigments that were applied. Therefore if your natural skin darkens with a tan, you would see a slight variance between your natural skin and treated area. However as we blend multiple tones of pigment using our unique blending technique, the variance is minimal and much less noticeable than the colour of the stretch marks before the treatment was done.  The sun may fade the ink or affect its stability, which is why we recommend using a high SPF.

How can I train to be a scar & stretch marks tattoo camouflage / skin tone tattoo camouflage artist?

Ink Illusions offers group training as well as one-to-one training, either at your premises, or at one of our locations in London or Hertfordshire. 

We offer a course which teaches the inkless method only (collagen induction therapy)

Or we have a full scar & stretch mark camouflage training course which teaches both the inked and inkless methods:

If you are already trained in stretch mark and scar tattoo camouflage but struggle colour matching, we also provide a Colour / Color Theory training course:

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