June 4, 2023

Think Before You Ink: The 13 Risks of Tattooing Over Varicose Veins

Thinking of getting a tattoo over varicose veins? Discover the 13 risks associated with tattooing over varicose veins and make an informed decision.

Before getting a tattoo over varicose veins, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks involved. In this article, we will explore thirteen important considerations to keep in mind, ranging from potential complications and adverse reactions to the impact on vein health and long-term aesthetics.

By understanding these risks, you can make an informed decision and ensure the safety and desired outcome of your tattooing experience.

Can you tattoo over varicose veins?

A leg with varicose veins

While it might be tempting to cover up unsightly veins with a tattoo, it is not recommended to tattoo over them due to several risks and potential complications. 

Getting a tattoo over varicose veins is generally discouraged, as it could indicate an underlying medical issue known as chronic venous insufficiency.

Risks of tattooing over varicose veins 

Tattooing over varicose veins carries several risks that you should be aware of before deciding to proceed. The following 13 risks are important to consider:

1. Additional varicose vein pain

Leg pain

The process of tattooing involves repeatedly puncturing the skin with a needle, and if the needle comes into contact with a varicose vein, it may cause increased discomfort, pain, or further complications.

It's crucial to consult with a medical professional and a reputable tattoo artist before making any decisions.

2. Rupture

Another significant risk factor is the potential for the vein to rupture during the process. This can lead to severe bleeding and may require immediate medical attention.

3. Infection 

It's important to keep in mind that compromised veins can increase the risk of infection. This can make it more difficult for your body to heal naturally, which may pose challenges for proper treatment and recovery.

4. Swelling

Tattooing over these swollen veins can exacerbate the problem and lead to further complications. During the tattooing process, the needle punctures the skin, which may cause additional inflammation in the area and compromise blood circulation.

5. Can accelerate damage to a varicose vein

Getting a tattoo over a varicose vein can potentially accelerate damage or develop complications to the vein itself. The process of tattooing involves puncturing the skin with a needle, which can cause trauma to the already weakened veins. This may lead to increased inflammation, pain, and the potential for blood clots, making the condition worse. 

6. Blood clot

There's a potential risk of blood clots as the needle can damage vein walls, leading to clot formation, which can pose a serious physical risk.

7. Risks of Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment responsible for skin color, forms deposits in the skin. This can result in dark, discolored patches that may be more noticeable than the original varicose veins. 

Tattooing over varicose veins may cause the surrounding skin to become inflamed, leading to increased melanin production and a higher likelihood of developing hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration. Moreover, the healing process may be compromised due to the restricted blood flow in the area. 

8. Bleeding

Tattooing over varicose veins can increase the risk of bleeding due to the fragile nature of these veins. This is a crucial concern to consider before getting healthy unsightly varicose veins inked.

9. A potential indicator of underlying chronic venous insufficiency

Varicose veins can be a sign of an underlying condition called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This occurs when the blood flow in the veins is not working efficiently, leading to blood pooling in the legs.

Tattooing over varicose veins could potentially mask or worsen this condition, making it essential to consult a medical professional before proceeding with a tattoo in the affected area.

10. There is a high likelihood of more varicose and spider veins appearing in the area

Spider veins on thighs

While tattooing over varicose and spider veins may seem like an effective way to camouflage them, it is essential to recognize the possibility of new veins emerging in the same area. Addressing the underlying cause is crucial, as covering existing veins with a tattoo does not prevent the development of new ones, potentially impacting the long-term appearance of your tattoo.

11. Tattoo would make future vein treatment more difficult

Treating varicose veins can be more difficult when a tattoo is present due to the altered appearance of diseased veins. The link can mask the underlying vein structure, making it challenging for medical professionals to accurately assess and treat vein disease in the affected area. This may lead to less effective treatment outcomes or potential complications.

Varicose veins affect approximately 24% of adults 

12. Potential aesthetic issues

Bulging veins on legs

Aside from the health risks, tattooing over varicose veins can also result in aesthetic issues. Due to the uneven surface created by the bulging veins, the ink may not be distributed evenly, leading to a distorted or patchy appearance. Furthermore, as varicose veins can change over time, the tattoo's appearance may be altered as the veins continue to enlarge or shift. 

13. Complications during the tattooing process 

Varicose veins can pose several challenges for tattoo artists, as the affected area may be more sensitive and prone to bleeding. Due to the raised and swollen nature of the veins, the tattoo needle may puncture the vein, leading to excessive bleeding, bruising, or even an increased risk of infection. For this reason, it's crucial to find an experienced tattoo artist who has dealt with varicose veins before and is aware of the potential complications.

Can you hide varicose veins with tattooing? 

Yes, you can hide varicose veins with a tattoo, but it is important to understand the challenges and risks involved in doing so. Rather than focusing solely on covering up the veins, it is highly recommended to seek treatment for the underlying condition from a vein doctor who can diagnose and treat chronic venous insufficiency. This will help ensure that your veins don't interfere with your tattoo and that your overall health is taken into consideration. 

Tattooing over varicose veins can be challenging and risky, so it's best to address the underlying condition first with the help of a vein doctor.

While it is possible to tattoo over varicose veins, there are challenges for both the client and the tattoo artist. 

Alternatives to hiding varicose veins with tattoos

While tattoos may seem like a creative way to hide varicose veins, it's essential to consider the possible risks and complications that can arise. Instead, let's explore some safer alternatives that can help you feel more confident about your appearance without jeopardizing your health. 

Compression Stockings

Compression Stockings for varicose veins

Compression stockings offer a non-invasive, stylish, and functional solution for managing varicose veins by promoting healthy blood flow and reducing their appearance.


Sclerotherapy injections

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the veins causing them to shrink and disappear, for a safer and more effective solution. 

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins in the legs

Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a minimally invasive treatment that uses controlled heat to close off affected veins, reducing the appearance of varicose veins and relieving related symptoms. 

Laser treatment

A patient has laser treatment to treat varicose veins on her legs

Consider laser treatment as a non-invasive alternative to tattoos for reducing the appearance of varicose veins, offering a relatively painless procedure with no downtime.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should you consult a vein specialist before getting a tattoo over varicose veins?

Consulting a vein doctor who specializes in the treatment of varicose veins is crucial before deciding to get a tattoo over them. They can help identify any potential risks associated with a tattoo and your veins, as well as determine if tattooing is safe for you. Remember that varicose veins may indicate more serious health issues that need attention. 

Can laser tattoo removal be performed on a tattoo over varicose veins?

Getting a tattoo removed via laser over varicose veins may present some additional risks. For example, the laser could damage the veins, or the process might be more painful due to the veins' presence. The area's altered circulation could also impact the healing process post-removal. 

Nonetheless, the specifics depend on various factors, such as the tattoo's size and location, the veins, the individual's medical history and overall health, and the laser type and intensity. Thus, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional or a tattoo removal specialist to assess the potential risks and benefits of your unique situation.

Can you tattoo over spider veins? 

While it is possible to tattoo over spider veins, it's important to consult with a professional tattoo artist and a healthcare provider first. There may be increased risks and discomfort, as well as potential complications that could arise from tattooing over spider veins. 

What if a tattoo hits a vein? 

Professional tattoo artists are trained to avoid hitting veins during the process. However, if a needle does penetrate a vein, it could result in bleeding, bruising, and pain. If you're concerned about the possibility of a needle hitting a vein, discuss this with your tattoo artist prior to the procedure. 

How can you cover varicose veins? 

There are several ways to cover varicose veins: 

  • Using makeup specifically designed for covering imperfections.
  • Wearing compression stockings.
  • Considering medical treatments, such as sclerotherapy or laser therapy.

Is it okay to tattoo over blood veins? 

Tattooing over blood veins is generally not recommended, as it can lead to complications and discomfort. It's important to consult with a professional tattoo artist and a vein specialist to determine if it's safe for you to get a tattoo over diseased blood vessels. 

Can a fake tan hide varicose veins? 

A fake tan can help to minimize the appearance of varicose veins by darkening the skin and creating an even tone. However, it might not completely hide them. Make sure to test the product beforehand to determine if it provides the desired coverage. 

How do you make your veins less visible? 

To make veins less visible, consider the following methods: 

  • Applying makeup or vein cream specifically designed for covering imperfections
  • Using self-tanning products to darken the skin and create an even tone
  • Exercising regularly to improve circulation
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Seeking medical treatment, such as sclerotherapy or laser therapy

The healing process of tattooing over varicose veins 

Tattooing over varicose veins can lead to a more complicated healing process, as the compromised blood flow in the area may cause slower recovery and an increased risk of infection in the surrounding tissue.

It is crucial to follow all aftercare instructions and consult with a professional tattoo artist to ensure a safe outcome.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the best and safest option is to not tattoo over a varicose vein to avoid very serious complications and undesirable outcomes.

Instead, it is crucial to first seek a diagnosis from a vein specialist, who can perform a leg ultrasound at a vein clinic to assess the severity of the issue.

By addressing the underlying problem and receiving appropriate care to treat varicose veins, you can ensure the health and appearance of your legs while avoiding potential risks and complications associated with tattooing over varicose leg veins alone.

Find a qualified vein doctor near you to get started on your journey towards healthier and more attractive legs.


See what patients had to say about their treatment at Vein Envy

Do you suffer from the symptoms of vein disease? Find out how these patients solved CVI with venous treatments.

"Dr. Jones is great"

patient testimonial rating

Dr. Jones and his staff are great !  I had treatment on both legs and the staff was very professional. The  procedures on my legs turned out great!


Cynthia R.

"I'm happy with my results"

patient testimonial rating

The staff and the doctor are very friendly and professional. I was happy with my results and will be going back as needed.


Julia P.

“I highly recommend him”

patient testimonial rating

I was very happy with the professional staff at the front office.  They answered my questions and were very welcoming. I am happy to be here.


Donna A.

"This is the place to be"

patient testimonial rating

Doctor and staff amazing! They are working thru 17 veins I needed done. This team makes you feel like family. This is the place to be.


Omar M.

"Group of friendly people"

patient testimonial rating

The experience of being treated at vein Envy is very professional very good group of people very friendly I would recommend this for anybody.


Janis K.

"This office is amazing"

patient testimonial rating

This office is amazing! Every person is very welcoming, pleasant,  professional and helpful. They made my experience one I’ll never forget!


Cassi O.

ToP Rated Arizona Vein Clinic

Get In Touch Today

Ready to schedule your vein screening?

patient testimonial rating

Come in for your complimentary vein screening. The screening is easy, fast, and FREE. We have 5 locations in Arizona.

phone icon
(623) 233-1050
Your message has been submitted.
I will get back to you within 24-48 hours.
Oops! Something went wrong.
Office locations

5 Vein Clinics Located In Arizona

Call any location to schedule your appointment.

arizona state flag

Litchfield Park, AZ

14044 W. Camelback Rd Ste 226
Litchfield Park, AZ 85374
(623) 233-1050(map)
arizona state flag

Surprise, AZ.

13991 W Grand Ave Ste 102
Surprise, AZ 85374
(623) 233-1050(map)
arizona state flag

Phoenix, AZ

20040 North 19th Ave. Suite D
Phoenix, AZ 85027
(623) 233 - 1050(map)
arizona state flag

Ahwatukee Foothills, AZ

4545 E. Chandler Blvd. Suite 202
Phoenix, AZ 85048
(623) 233 - 1050(map)
arizona state flag

Mesa, AZ

130 S. 63rd St. Suite 101
Mesa AZ. 85206
(623) 233 - 1050(map)