Why Tattoo Cover Ups Don’t Work

Why tattoo coverups do not workIf you’re considering a tattoo cover up, beware! There is only one thing worse than a bad tattoo – a bad cover up. One of the most difficult things for a tattooist to master is cover ups. It’s not just about finding a design big enough to cover the old tattoo, it’s about experience, balance and a solid understanding of how pigments age in skin over time.

Learn what influences the success or failure of a cover up and how laser tattoo removal can give you more flexibility than you thought.



There are several factors that dramatically influence how good or bad a tattoo cover up will be.

The skill and experience of the tattoo artist

Just about any tattoo can be covered, BUT not all tattooists can successfully cover a tattoo. A strong creative design sense, years of experience and a thorough understanding of the way tattoo pigments age is required. When the new tattoo is first completed, it can seem to cover the old one, however once healed, it can show through.

Design and colour of the new tattoo In the majority of cases, without having the original tattoo faded first, the new tattoo will need to be darker than the original one. An experienced tattooist will work to balance the new tattoo with lighter areas where possible, to avoid the new tattoo looking like a mass of poorly-designed ink.

Design and colour of the old tattoo

Outdated designs such as heavy, black tattoos are making way for today’s finer, more artistic designs. The darker the old tattoo, the darker the new one needs to be, unless of course you fade it first. Laser tattoo removal of the original tattoo gives so much more flexibility in terms of design, colour and amount of ink required. When complete removal is achieved, such as when the PicoWay laser is used, you have the option of keeping your skin clear, or choosing a completely new tattoo without having to consider covering the original. So whether you fade or go for complete removal, it’s up to you.



With traditional lasers, for example Q-switched lasers, complete removal was never guaranteed (or in some cases even possible) and therefore many people opted for a cover up instead. With the latest advances in laser technology, the world’s fastest picosecond laser, the PicoWay, now offers better results with maximised comfort and only 2-4 weeks between treatments to give you the fastest removal or fade time possible.

Laser tattoo removal to remove or fade first versus a straight cover up offers the following benefits:

  • The choice of having clear skin or fading before a cover up
  • Greater flexibility with cover up design, colour and amount of ink required
  • Less dramatic contrasts required to balance the new design
  • Potential for less sessions for the new tattoo
  • Reduces the risk of show through from the old tattoo with a new tattoo

You can see the progress of tattoo removal after each session in the sequence below, with significant fading after just one session.

Eden tattoo removal sequence arm

To see our tattoo removal photo gallery, click here.



At Eden Tattoo Removal, we are Sydney’s tattoo removal specialists with highly experienced, laser certified skin therapists, leading technology and treatment guarantee.

To book your free tattoo removal analysis consultation, call 02 8020 5805 or click below to book online now.