Ulcerative Colitis

The Tattoo Generation

Care Partner of Adult
February 1, 2022 in Ulcerative Colitis

"I am about to start dating again, & I’m really nervous. My body is completely cut up & I have an ileostomy." This came from an older post on our forum, and it got me thinking...

As the mother of a 23-year-old man with UC and scars from J-pouch surgery (and who has yet to get his first tattoo although his sister is covered from shoulder to toes in them), I imagine that the young adult population is so much more tolerant of scars and markings than in the past. Would it be helpful to those concerned about dating and sexuality to consider tattoos if they feel overly self-conscious?

I'm just putting this out there to get some perspective. My instinct is still to avoid tattoos and not hide the beautiful skin I'm in, but if my son were to approach me with the idea of covering his scar with something interesting, I'm thinking it could help his confidence.

What say you all?

1 - 3 of 3 Replies

  • Jackie_ZExpert

    As someone who has lots of scars and lots of tattoos, I'm all about tattoos as a version of expression and storytelling. However, when it comes to using tattoos to cover scars there is a lot of caution I'd like to toss your way. Not all scars can be covered just due to the skin itself, and I would recommend going to a VERY experienced artist who will tell you honestly if they can cover the scar or not. Experienced artists often have higher price tags and longer waiting lists, but it's worth it in this scenario.

    None of my tattoos cover my scars because I didn't want to have to try to fight the skin but also because all of my tattoos are part of my story...and so are my scars. I never looked at them as something bad or something I needed to cover. To me they are proof that I survived some serious stuff and sometimes that reminder is helpful.

    But if they are something that is bothersome or something that makes you feel bad, then definitely look into tattoos to cover. I would encourage a mindset shift to instead of covering to maybe redirecting attention away from the scar. The scar will always be there, and you will be able to see it under the tattoo because the texture of the skin is different.

    So how can you rewrite the story by adding a tattoo? Can you add a tattoo that works around the scar instead of covers it?

    February 7, 2022
  • Wendy_LExpert
    Care Partner of Adult

    I love your philosophy about rewriting the story by working the tattoo around the scar. :-)

    February 7, 2022
  • I'm all about people learning to love themselves in their skin, however best for them! I personally love tattoos and have a few myself. They aren't covering up any scars, but I've seen that on social media many times - although usually over self-harm scars.

    Tattoos can act as a form of self-expression, as well as a way for people to reclaim their bodies from things such as societal pressure, scars, assault, etc. If getting tattoos would help your son, that's awesome! And I love that you'd support him no matter what.

    February 8, 2022
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