Tattoo’s and Scarring

Throughout your life you may have racked up a few scars over the years from various things such as terrible accidents, surgical scars, or even just silly happenings. I for one have a long scar in my armpit from being overly vigorous when shaving my armpit, and one strange ‘V’ shaped scar on the top portion of my middle finger where I got it caught in a toaster!

Many people don’t think that they are able to convert their scars into a tattoo but it’s becoming increasingly popular to not just accept them as they are, but embrace them and sometimes develop them into a continuation of the story or memory that the scar left to begin with.

Credit: David Allen, Tattoo Artist @ Pioneer, USA.


There has been some fantastic work produced by tattoo artists all over the world who create beautiful or funny situations out of a terrible happening; Breast cancer survivors who have undergone a mastectomy who have chosen to get  tattoo’s over their scars to reclaim their bodies and to have a beautiful reminder that they are strong, they endured, and they survived. There’s been many clients who have had amputations and chosen to create funny artwork on their limbs, someone has even had a toe amputated and got a tattoo referencing that the little piggy went to market!

The possibilities are endless, and a good artist will want to create a special piece for you to fit your body, and incorporate your needs as a client. 


How long will it be until I can get a Tattoo?

Depending on the scarring, it can take around 12 to 18 months for a scar to fully heal. The best piece of advice is always check with your doctor/GP/surgeon before beginning the process of getting a tattoo over scarring, as it will always differ per person and per injury. To further help with healing, drinking plenty of water every day will help with hydrating the skin and the regeneration of cellular tissue. You can also try using BioOil on the scarring, as long as you have the go ahead from your Doctor.

It all depends on what the scarring was from. That being said, you should always have a consultation with your artist of choice to discuss everything regarding the scarring, so both parties are aware of the expectations of the tattoo.


Will it hurt?

All tattoo’s hurt to some degree, depending on your own pain tolerance and placement of the tattoo. Scar tissue is no exception, as it is a lot more sensitive than regular skin. 

Pain is relative, but beauty is pain, right?


How will it look?

Depending on your artist and design of tattoo and the actual scarring, it all depends. It’s always best to do your research on an artist, ask them questions about their previous work, if they’ve tattooed someone with scarring before and the outcome of that piece. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Do your homework and you’ll be much happier with the outcome instead of finding someone who is a back alley tattooist, is quick and cheap and puts you in a lot of pain to end up with something you hate in a couple of weeks time. 

Generally, if your scars are still more pink than white in colour, they required a little more healing time, and this would need to be taken into consideration with how it would affect the outcome of the design. 

Different scarring will alter the tattoo. If you have small stretch marks that are white or silver, the tattoo will look differently compared to when it’s on large bright pink or red stretch marks, so these factors need to be brought into consideration when you are having a consultation with your artist.

There are also other factors to consider such as how deep the scarring goes, if it’s from surgical or self harming wounds which will be a lot deeper than stretch marks. These will also need more time to heal from the inside out, so the longer you can let your scars heal before tattooing, the better. 

Check out Mat’s work on this lovely gentleman who came into us with some bad keloid scarring over his shoulders and back, which you can see is still pink in colour. He worked his magic and worked closely with the client to create something both of them were happy with, and from the result, you can see it worked perfectly and was a job well done! Having pinker scarring does not necessarily mean that it cannot be tattooed, but should be taken on a case by case basis.


How do you tattoo over scarring?

Tattooing over scarring can be very difficult, which is why we will stress that you should do your homework and consult your doctor and chosen artist beforehand. The ink can blur and alter the design of the tattoo if not careful by choosing the wrong type of design or artist for the job.

Finding the right artist for the job is the key to creating a design that you are proud of and having a quality tattoo to cover or embrace your scars.

As a final note, always talk in depth to your artist to make sure you can get the best outcome for you to get a great piece of art. 


If you would like to discuss getting a tattoo with one of the artists at Octopus Tattoo, check out our contact page for further details.




We are hiring! 

You heard it right folks we are taking on 2 new staff members aiming to start in early January. Both roles will have the same basic clerical duties but then will have different key duties. Both positions will be part time with a 22.5 hour working week at national minimum wage and will be Tuesday – Saturday. 

Responsibilities for both roles:

  • Making and amending appointments
  • Telephone, email and social media correspondence; keeping artists updated as to any changes to appointments.
  • Offering advice to clients as regards choice of artist, design, cost of tattoo.
  • Cash handling
  • Record keeping / sales etc

Clerical position 09:30 – 14:00:

As the first point of contact for all customers our ideal candidates will demonstrate a friendly and welcoming attitude toward the general public, no matter what their attitude or appearance. Excellent communication skills are essential and should be reflected in a good phone manner and prompt correspondence over emails and social media.

Precise record keeping and organisational skills are invaluable in the infrastructure of any business, and Octopus Tattoo is no exception.

Tasks will include:

  • Reminder messages to clients
  • Weekly banking
  • Regular stock check, rotation and ordering
  • Daily cleaning of the studio
  • Handling bio-hazardous material
  • Fire alarm checks
  • Utility meter reading, arranging PAT testing etc. 

Media and promotions role 13:30 – 18:00:

The key objective is to ensure Octopus Tattoo will stand out in the mind of the general public. This will involve extensive interaction with social media, and the creation, organisation and promotion of studio events throughout the year with a view to maintaining public interest and awareness. 
Applicants will need to have a demonstrable ability to use various forms of social media and other media platforms.
Candidates will be required to generate visual content, ie photography and video so editing and experience with adobe products (light room, photoshop etc) is desirable. Experience with WordPress is also preferable but not essential.

Tasks will include: 

  • Website interaction – news, blog posts, portfolio updates, galleries etc
  • Regular newsletter with articles and upcoming events etc
  • Regular social media interaction over all platforms
  • Creation and management of events, ie competitions, studio events.
  • Promoting different aspects of the artists, ie outside work and interests
  • Project managing and budgeting for larger events.

Please send a cover letter and current applicable CV to and specify in your cover letter which position you would like to apply for. If you would like to be considered for both roles please state this also.

Please note that we will be unable to notify unsuccessful applicants. Those who are successful will be notified before the first week of January. 

What’s The Skinny? – The Sun

Sun, Skin and a whole lotta tattoos.

It’s finally here! The sun! And by the looks of things it’s going to be here for a little while longer *hurray*. So, over the next few weeks I think now is a great time to talk about your skin, it’s care and what effect that has on your tattoos. Whether you have tattoos or not a good skin care routine including protection from the sun is greatly important, not just for you tattoos but for you as a whole. But why?

What’s everyone’s beef with the sun?

Let’s forget about the bad sun stuff for a moment and concentrate on the benefits. Humans are made to be in the sun; it regulates our sleep patterns (circadian rhythms if you fancy reading some more about that), impacts on depression and triggers the production of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for brain function, lowering blood pressure and promoting healthy bone formation. However, like all good things it should be in moderation. I’m sure we are all familiar with the sand dwelling sun creatures that resemble the crypt keeper covered in bovril but what exactly is that doing under the surface? 

The skin already has a natural defence against the sun in the form of melanin. Prolonged exposure to the sun boosts melanin production thus your skin becomes darker. As the skin regenerates the melanocytes get closer to the surface and are shed therefore fading your tan. However, let us not forget that what you are actually getting along with your lovely summer glow is a radiation burn. Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes to unprotected skin and the effects such as redness maybe visible after as little as 30 mins; its full effects take around 2-6 hours with pain making an appearance around the 6-48hrs mark after the initial exposure. When your skin is exposed to UVB radiation it effects your skin at DNA level (there is a lot of chemistry involved so you can read all about it here if you are so inclined) triggering several defence mechanisms; peeling to clear away all the irreparable cells and an inflammation process which increases your sensitivity to heat; that is why having a shower after you have been in the sun can be unbearable….clever ey?

How does this effect tattoos?

Imagine that exposing your tattoo to the sun is a super slowed down version of laser tattoo removal. They work in very similar ways by concentrating a light onto your skin in order to break down the pigments in the dermis. Once the pigment has been broken down your body then absorbs it into the blood stream and disposes of it. This is essentially what is happening to your tattoos but over a longer period of time.

The sun will also alter the colour of your tattoo. The pigment is under 2 layers of skin which act as a transparent filter. As this filter becomes darker so will to your tattoo. Depending on how well you tan and the regularity of sun exposure this could spell a permanent discolouration of your tattoo. It’s worth noting that skin with very little melanin is always best for bright tattoos as this filtering effect is minimal if at all. It does mean that you burn easier though. 

That’t not all folks; The sun also effects the healing process. The tattooing process creates a open wound so the normal protective barrier is now compromised. If the wound is then exposed to direct sunlight it will not only be incredibly sensitive but there is a potential risk that area will get burned. Therefore starting the inflammation process. if the skin blisters, cracks or peels this might take the new pigment with it (painful).

Post holiday tattoos.

The sensible option and one that is highly recommended is to wait until you have been on holiday and get your tattoo when you come back. However,  you still have to be vigilant and look after yourself. If you are crispy and peeling when you arrive for your appointment be prepared to potentially be turned away. As part of the tattoo process your skin will have to be cleansed and wiped numerous times so, if sheets of skin are coming off with each wipe that will take the stencil with it making the tattoo impossible. Not to mention that it will be sore as hell! Tattoo machines create a small amount of heat so if you are already sensitive to temperature that will be exaggerated.

Moral of the story. 

I don’t want this article to sound like I’m slating the sun. I’m really not. I just want to ensure you make an informed decision when getting tattooed why looking after your skin when sitting on the beach or in the beer garden is important. Tattoos cost a lot of money and time to ensure you get something perfect. Don’t let all that hard work from you and your artist be in vain. 


20th – 21st April Guest Spot.

Leigh Boardman visits Octopus Tattoo

Octopus Tattoo is very please to announce we will be hosting a guest spot with Leigh Boardman on the 20th and 21st of April. Leigh is currently working at Lewis Point Tattoo Studio in Daventry but is looking to expand his horizons further afield. Leigh enjoys working with bold lines and black and grey realism an has a variety of pre-drawn designs available which can be viewed on his website and his Instagram page. If you would like to get tattooed by Leigh then please contact him directly on 

Jewellery-New arrivals.

Lost & Found.

Unique handmade jewellery by Angel Simpson.

Octopus Tattoo is very pleased to announce that it now stocks some fantastic new jewellery pieces made by Angel Simpson at Lost and Found. Angel works in a variety of different styles and mediums.

This selection comprises of steampunk-inspired jewellery made with vintage and antique pocket watches, wrist watches and clock parts. Hand-painted re-purposed keys, whimsical charms, Swarovski crystals and more. Angel occasionally takes commissions too please contact her directly for further information. 

Gift Vouchers.

Don’t Forget The Gift Vouchers! 

December is already upon us so you know what that means?! Its nearly Christmas. So, what better way to say ‘I love you’ than by making a permanent mark on your nearest and dearest? These little tickets of joy are available via the Merchandise tab on the Octopus Tattoo website, our Big Cartel page or direct from the studio. All gift vouchers can be any amount (minimum of £20), come with a complimentary gift card and can be posted for a small fee. 

Merry Christmas from Octopus Tattoo! 

Andy Wharton moves to Sheffield.

The big move.

Photo by Dave Hughes Photography.Some of you may or may not be aware that Andy will be leaving the studio at the start of November. This is both sad and exciting news, sad for Octopus Tattoo, exciting for Andy. He will now be tattooing from The Workhouse Tattoo co, Kelhem Island, Sheffield. Bookings are still being taken for the remainder of his time here with existing customers as a priority and his diary is open for Sheffield bookings. Please head over to Andy’s website for all tattoo related enquires and further information about the move. If you would like to see his recent work, please head over to his gallery page on the Octopus Tattoo website or follow the Instagram link below. Examples of The Workhouse Tattoo co’s work can be found here.  

All the artists at Octopus would like to wish Andy the best of luck on his new adventure, he will be greatly missed. 

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Guest Artist Announcement.

Guest artist Jason Vaughn 16th-18th March.

We are very pleased and excited to announce that this coming March we will be playing host to the wonderful Jason Vaughn from Dark Horse Tattoo, Los Angeles, California while he is on his UK tour. He has kindly sent a portfolio to the studio so please drop by and take a look. Or, if you would like to see more of our guest’s work online you can find his portfolios on his WEBSITE and INSTAGRAM profiles. All bookings are to be directly through Jason so please don’t hesitate to contact him via his EMAIL.