Can I Tattoo Over My Varicose Veins?

June 16, 2021 The Vein Institute

Tattoos have become a huge part of our culture. Women and men of all ages are displaying them as a work of art to express their unique individuality. Sometimes people use tattoos to cover up an imperfection on the body – such as a birthmark, scar or even another tattoo. Since tattoos are a good way to cover things up, you may be wondering, can I tattoo over my varicose veins? Unfortunately, it is not recommended. After all, tattoos involve needles, which can cause potentially serious and painful complications to occur.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are symptoms of a vein disease called venous insufficiency. When the one-way valves in veins become damaged, they can cause blood to flow backwards, or to pool and collect in the vein. Over time, the vein can become raised, swollen, and discoloured. If left untreated, varicose veins can become quite uncomfortable and develop into other harmful conditions such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), venous ulcers or superficial thrombophlebitis.

Why you should never tattoo over varicose veins

Even if your skin is clear from varicose veins, tattoos can be a risky business. That’s because there’s always a small chance of developing an infection. When you tattoo over your varicose veins, the risks are amplified even more.

For one thing, you may not get the result you were going for. The bulging vein can distort the appearance of your tattoo in unexpected ways. Furthermore, the process of getting a tattoo involves applying pressure on the skin while deploying a needle at a high frequency. This may cause the vein to rupture, bleed into the surrounding tissue and lead to an infection.

Another reason why you should avoid tattooing over varicose veins is they may become hard to see. This may be a great way for you to disguise the vein; however, your doctor would have a hard time detecting the vein to properly diagnose and treat it. While we do use ultrasound to map out varicose vein branches, direct vision is still an important component of diagnosis and treatment.


Other options instead of tattoos

If the intended purpose of getting a tattoo is to cover up your veins, then consider purchasing skin-coloured compression stockings. They not only do a great job of hiding the veins but also improve blood circulation and alleviate symptoms such as pain and swelling. There are several other things you can do to help you manage your condition. For example, regular exercise and eating a diet rich in antioxidants and bioflavonoids are beneficial for the circulatory system. Additionally, arnica cream has been shown to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort associated with varicose veins.

Read more about relieving varicose vein symptoms: Non-Medical Options for Managing Varicose Veins.

Proper treatment is the best option

Now that you know tattoos are not recommended for hiding varicose veins you may want to look into more permanent treatment options. Surgery is one of them but there are a number of highly effective non-surgical procedures performed at your doctor’s office that don’t require general anesthesia or hospital visit.

Minimally-invasive treatments include:

  • Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLA) – using ultrasound to guide heat from a laser into the vein, causing it to clot and prevent blood flow.
  • Sclerotherapy – injecting a solution into the vein which irritates the vein walls, causing them to close.
  • VenaSeal – injecting the vein with a special glue that seals the vein off and prevents blood flow.

If you have varicose veins, we encourage you to book a consultation with a vein specialist. They will review your medical history, diagnose your symptoms and recommend the best possible treatment for you.

Diagram of veins. One vein is normal with no disease. The other has damaged vein valves causing varicose veins to appear.

Not sure if you have varicose veins?

Try our vein self-assessment tool to help identify potentially dangerous varicose veins: Vein Tool.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1800 429 470. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.

Vein Conditions and Treatments
New call-to-action
The Ultimate Guide to Assessing your Vein Condition

[wp-faq-schema title=”FAQs” accordion=1]