Covering Tattoos for Work: Tips You Should Know

Man in Suit with Neck Tattoo
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Visible tattoos have become increasingly more common in the workplace, but there are still some companies that do not allow their employees to show off their ink. If you decided to get a tattoo when having a tattoo was a non-issue, but are considering switching to a company where it is an issue, you need to find ways to cover your tattoos up.

Sometimes, whether or not you can have a visible tattoo will depend on your role within the company. For example, a school system might not want a teacher to have a visible tattoo of a skull on their arm because of the fact the teacher spends their days with students. However, the same school system might be okay with an overnight custodian having the same tattoo, because the custodian isn’t directly interacting with students.

If you have questions about your employer’s policies, check with the HR department. While an employer cannot prevent you from having a tattoo, they can ask you to cover it up— there should be a clear written policy about what is and isn’t acceptable. If you are asked to cover up, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Man in Professional Business Look with Hand Tattoo
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Check the length of clothing

Tattoos on the upper arm or your torso are easy to cover up with clothing. For tattoos on the upper arm, make sure that the sleeves of your shirts will cover up the tattoo. If your shirt sleeve doesn’t fully cover your tattoo, you can wear a blazer or a jacket while at work.

If your tattoo is on your lower back, make sure that your shirt doesn’t rise while you’re sitting. Your pants and your shirt should fully conceal the tattoo. Pants can also cover up tattoos on your legs and ankles.

Cover with makeup

If your tattoo is in a hard to conceal location, such as your fingers or wrist, you might need to use makeup to help cover it. While covering up a tattoo with makeup takes time and patience, sometimes it is the only way to hide a tattoo.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t cover new ink with makeup. This can cause an infection. If you’ve only recently gotten a tattoo, make until your skin is fully healed before trying to conceal it with makeup.

Man in Suit with Neck Tattoo Closeup
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Hiding neck tattoos

If your tattoo is on your neck, there are a few different ways you can try concealing it. In addition to makeup, you can try growing your hair to a length where it can easily cover the tattoo. If your tattoo is on the back of your neck, longer hair can easily hide the tattoo while you’re at work.

Another way is to use a scarf. Silk scarves look fashionable and are lightweight enough to wear indoors. If you don’t want to wear a scarf, you can instead try wearing a turtleneck.

Hiding ankle tattoos

Some ankle tattoos can easily be covered up with pants. However, if your pants ride up and your tattoo is exposed, you’ll have to find another way to keep it covered. Most people with ankle tattoos simply wear longer socks. While this prevents you from wearing sandals, it does cover your tattoo.

Another way is to wear footwear with high-top footwear. However, wearing sneakers in a professional setting might be frowned upon. There are some dress shoes for men that go past the ankle, while women might want to invest in a good pair of ankle boots.

Using cover-up sleeves

If you have a tattoo sleeve, but don’t want to wear long sleeves all the time, you might want to invest in cover-up tattoo sleeves. Cover-up tattoo sleeves come in a variety of colors (including most skin tones), are made of a lightweight fabric, and come without logos.

Most cover-up sleeves are made of nylon/spandex so that the sleeve will stay on, even if you’re moving around. Keep in mind, however, is that cover-up sleeves might not look as professional as wearing a blazer or a cardigan.

Final thoughts

There is no reason that you can’t express yourself with a tattoo while also remaining a professional! If you love tattoos, you can also express yourself artistically with tattoo inspired clothing.

Many work environments are becoming more accepting of visible tattoos. However, if yours has a policy in place, use the above tips to keep your tattoos concealed. And if you’re going on an interview and you’re not sure what the policy is, always cover your tattoos before the interview.