People get tattooed for various reasons. Many get them because they're fashionable. Others get them as a reminder or something or somebody special. But some get them for the opposite reason, to cover up something they'd rather forget.


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Check out this list of tattoo cover-up stories compiled by Bored Panda to read about the events that inspired people to get inked. Some had surgery scars and dog bites they wanted to hide, while others decided to get tattoos to cover injuries inflicted by abusive partners or the painful results of bets gone wrong. They'll make you think twice the next time you see somebody with a tattoo. (h/t: 22words, buzzfeed)

#1 A Bluebird Covering Scars From Multiple Surgeries

My sophomore year of high school I fell during a trampoline routine at gymnastics practice and shattered my left arm. After eight months of surgeries… I was left with an arm that not only hurt constantly and didn’t work, but also didn’t look like my own. Surgeries to remove dead muscle and scar tissue had distorted my forearm, and the scars scattered across my arm and hand felt unsightly and ugly.... Read More

My sophomore year of high school I fell during a trampoline routine at gymnastics practice and shattered my left arm. After eight months of surgeries… I was left with an arm that not only hurt constantly and didn’t work, but also didn’t look like my own. Surgeries to remove dead muscle and scar tissue had distorted my forearm, and the scars scattered across my arm and hand felt unsightly and ugly. This tattoo, my first, was a present to myself when I turned 18 as a way to reclaim my body after it had been irreparably damaged, and to turn my scars into something beautiful. I didn’t want to cover up the surgical scars because they were, and are, such an important part of who I am now, but I wanted to transform them into something I was proud of. The bird is an eastern bluebird.

A Bluebird Covering Scars From Multiple Surgeries

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Melody Lanzatella 2 months ago

I believe that this is the most beautiful way I have ever seen a scar memorialized.

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#2 Blooming Peony Tattoo Covering Scars From Self-Harming

My grandpa sexually abused me since I was a small child. For a long time, I felt like my body didn’t belong to me. I could feel his eyes burned into my skin, or the ghost of his hands brushing against my thighs. As retaliation, I began self-harming. I carved up my ribs, my breasts, my thighs. They were all the things he loved too much, and I wanted to... Read More

My grandpa sexually abused me since I was a small child. For a long time, I felt like my body didn’t belong to me. I could feel his eyes burned into my skin, or the ghost of his hands brushing against my thighs. As retaliation, I began self-harming. I carved up my ribs, my breasts, my thighs. They were all the things he loved too much, and I wanted to destroy them. The worst of the scars were on my ribs. After recovery, my mom bought me scar cream and they faded. Even still, I felt a disconnect from my body. I started letting boys toss me around and abuse me. I saw myself as nothing but a sex object. Earlier this year, I relapsed. I was so angry and embarrassed at how weak I still was… So after some thought and saving, I went into a tattoo parlor and got a blooming peony on my sternum and ribs. I wanted to plant something beautiful where something ugly used to be. It’s still not finished, and needs coloring when I can afford it, but for now, it’s a great comfort to see in the mirror. I’m taking my body back, one flower at a time.

Blooming Peony Tattoo Covering Scars From Self-Harming

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Chelsea Brauker 2 months ago

Proud of you💜

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#3 One Word Next To A Spinal Surgery Scar

Instead of hiding my scar, I decided to show it off. Last July I had scoliosis spinal reconstruction surgery, placing two titanium rods on either sides of my spine and fusing two-thirds of my spinal vertebrae into one large bone. This left me with a noticeable two-and-a-half-foot scar down the center of my back. I got the word ‘strength’ tattooed next to my scar. The ‘S’ is a tracing of... Read More

Instead of hiding my scar, I decided to show it off. Last July I had scoliosis spinal reconstruction surgery, placing two titanium rods on either sides of my spine and fusing two-thirds of my spinal vertebrae into one large bone. This left me with a noticeable two-and-a-half-foot scar down the center of my back. I got the word ‘strength’ tattooed next to my scar. The ‘S’ is a tracing of my actual spine from an X-ray before my surgery. It took a lot of strength to recover from such a hard surgery and I want a constant reminder of that.

One Word Next To A Spinal Surgery Scar

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Paula Saito 2 months ago

I did the same surgery years ago, and many people ask me why I didn't want to cover it. I completely agree with you, it takes a lot of strength to recover from this king of surgery, we must be proud of it, not ashamed!

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#4 Watercolor Pheonix Tattoo Covering Forearm Scars

These forearm scars are (pretty obviously) from self-harm and they're from almost 14 years ago. Been wanting to cover it with a tattoo for half my life, but I guess just recently developed the metaphorical balls to finally do it. So happy!

Watercolor Pheonix Tattoo Covering Forearm Scars

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Melody Lanzatella 2 months ago

What a beautiful and apt choice!

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#5 A Feather Covering Scars Resulting From An Abusive Relationship

I got this tattoo to cover a scar from an abusive boyfriend. He broke my arm and I had a metal plate put in it. I still went back to him many times. That scar reminded me of how weak I was and I wanted something beautiful instead. My cousin whom I was really close to committed suicide a couple months ago and I wanted to honor him. He called... Read More

I got this tattoo to cover a scar from an abusive boyfriend. He broke my arm and I had a metal plate put in it. I still went back to him many times. That scar reminded me of how weak I was and I wanted something beautiful instead. My cousin whom I was really close to committed suicide a couple months ago and I wanted to honor him. He called me unicorn.

A Feather Covering Scars Resulting From An Abusive Relationship

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Christie Curtis 2 months ago

I'm so sorry for your loss. So good that you're are away from the abuse.

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#6 Flowers Covering Self-Harm Scars

She was so embarrassed, she told me how much pain it brought her when people would question her about them or make comments, which is completely understandable. As I’ve said in the past no one should ever have to feel like a public museum for people to ridicule. The things these people have fought through is admirable and they deserve to know that. People will immediately label self-harm as an... Read More

She was so embarrassed, she told me how much pain it brought her when people would question her about them or make comments, which is completely understandable. As I’ve said in the past no one should ever have to feel like a public museum for people to ridicule. The things these people have fought through is admirable and they deserve to know that. People will immediately label self-harm as an act of weakness. I think to crawl out of that abyss and still be here, in this life that honestly is already so brief, and to have changed your life around into a positive is commendable.

Flowers Covering Self-Harm Scars

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Amanda Panda 2 months ago

This is about how bad my left arm is, I've thought about covering it all too, but wasn't sure how well it hides... now I see that tattoo does a good job!

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#7 A Straight Spine In Celebration Of Overcoming Scoliosis

So let me start by saying my real spine has never looked and will never look like this. When I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis — a 65-degree curve in my spine in the shape of an S. It was beyond correction with a brace and I was told that I would need surgery in order to live into adulthood. The surgery was incredibly invasive and... Read More

So let me start by saying my real spine has never looked and will never look like this. When I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis — a 65-degree curve in my spine in the shape of an S. It was beyond correction with a brace and I was told that I would need surgery in order to live into adulthood. The surgery was incredibly invasive and involved straightening my spine and surgically planting two titanium rods on either side of my spine attached by 15 screws which were screwed directly into my vertebrae. The tattoo is from a medical textbook and spans 17” up my back, over my scar, which you can barely see. It is a symbol of my recovery and strength. My spine has never looked like that, nor will it ever look like that, it is simply the spine that I should’ve had.

A Straight Spine In Celebration Of Overcoming Scoliosis

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Florina Dragomir 2 months ago

I had the same surgery 6 years ago. It took an year to recover myself but Im fine now.

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#8 Colorful Lion Covering Scars From Self-Harm

When I was a kid, I was picked on multiple reasons; to me the worst of which was for simply being the big girl. I was 2 feet taller than everyone in my class and easily outweighed most kids my age. By the time I was a teenager I was neck deep in depression and taking it out on myself seemed like the only relief. Now that I’m older and... Read More

When I was a kid, I was picked on multiple reasons; to me the worst of which was for simply being the big girl. I was 2 feet taller than everyone in my class and easily outweighed most kids my age. By the time I was a teenager I was neck deep in depression and taking it out on myself seemed like the only relief. Now that I’m older and much better equipped to deal with my mental health, I decided to cover up my years of self-harm scars. A lion was the first thing I thought of when I wanted something representing strength, plus we put in lotus and azalea blossoms in the mane for their symbolism of overcoming struggle. Instead of seeing a painful reminder of where I was, I get to look at this badass symbol of where I am :)

Colorful Lion Covering Scars From Self-Harm

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Amanda Panda 2 months ago

The big ones look like they were probably keloid scars (I have a few of those), I didnt' think you could cover those with ink, because they can continue to grow. This looks really good!

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#9 A Ribbon Covering A Tumor Removal Scar

I had a bone tumor in my knee removed when I was 10. This is my ribbon that looks like it’s lacing me up.

A Ribbon Covering A Tumor Removal Scar

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Mary Lang 2 months ago

Cool

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#10 Black Feather Tattoo Covering Scars From Self-Harm

I got this one to cover up scars from self harm. I had a really bad one that stuck out and I felt like everyone could see it and was judging me. I got it on a Wednesday night after another friend died from an intentional overdose. I wanted to remember my friend and it goes with another tattoo of blackbirds I have from the Beatles song “Blackbird”. “Take these... Read More

I got this one to cover up scars from self harm. I had a really bad one that stuck out and I felt like everyone could see it and was judging me. I got it on a Wednesday night after another friend died from an intentional overdose. I wanted to remember my friend and it goes with another tattoo of blackbirds I have from the Beatles song “Blackbird”. “Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” Today I am 3 years free of self harm!

Black Feather Tattoo Covering Scars From Self-Harm

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Melody Lanzatella 2 months ago

SO PROUD OF YOU!!!

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