Tattoos are popular among people in their late teens and 20s--a group also prone to acne breakouts. It is not recommended to get a tattoo over acne as this can ruin a tattoo and intensify an acne breakout.
Acne occurs when pores in the skin get blocked by an overproduction of oil that normally drains to the surface. Bacteria then grows around it resulting in whiteheads, blackheads or cysts.
It is not recommended to get a tattoo over acne. The tattoo needle can pop the acne and fill up the pore with ink, which may settle there permanently and cost a lot of money to remove.
The follicle wall around acne can rupture from picking or touching the skin. A tattoo needle can cause this rupture as well and spread bacteria, leading to redness, swelling and an increased breakout.
Wait until your acne clears up before getting a tattoo. You can still get a tattoo over a previous breakout location. After getting a tattoo, be sure to wash and take care of your skin to ensure acne doesn't return over the area.
Professional tattoo artists will not tattoo over acne. They will suggest tattooing a different part of the body or waiting until the acne clears up.