Tattoo Artist Covers Up 19-Year-Old’s Self-Harm Scars For Free After Other Shops Refuse To Help

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

There are a lot of quotes about scars, saying how they remind us of how far we’ve come.

We all get hurt and heal most of the time, and scars are just a reminder of how amazing the human body is at bouncing back.

However, there is something especially difficult about coming to terms with scars that you inflicted yourself.

To some people, the idea of hurting or cutting oneself is unthinkable, not to mention painful. But people who use it as a coping method for depression will tell you otherwise.

Aoife Lovett, 19, had self-harming tendencies in the past. After recovering, she made the decision to cover up her now emotionally painful scars with a tattoo to get a fresh start.

Sadly, she was turned away from a number of tattoo shops. It seemed hopeless, until Aoife found an artist who would take a chance on her.

[H/T: Independent IE]

Aoife Lovett admits to having mental health issues that led to her self-harming tendencies when she was growing up.

Now that she’s recovered, she wanted to cover up her scars with a tattoo. However, she was surprised to find that most shops wouldn’t work on her scars.

Tattooing over scars can be tricky, which deters many artists from wanting to take the risk.

The uneven skin makes for a difficult canvas, which can compromise the artwork. This deters some artists from wanting to get involved.

Courtesy of Ryan Kelly

Finally, Aoife’s mom found out about tattoo artist Ryan Sean Kelly, who had recently begun a project specializing in tattooing on scarred skin.

Ryan was more than happy to work on Aoife and her scars.

He explains:

A girl just randomly came in looking for a tattoo to cover up some scars and I got talking to her and she started telling me her story and at the end of that it didn’t really feel right to charge her. It kind of felt like it meant more to her than that.

The end result was this beautiful dagger in a rose that Aoife and Ryan were both extremely pleased with.


Aofie not only loves the design, but also how it helps her move on into a happier place in her life.

She says:

Ryan is helping people move on. It’s putting something beautiful over something ugly. It gives you a new sense of freedom and you get you confidence back because it’s very hard to go into jobs and wear T-shirts with scars because you get looks and you get questions a lot about it.

Ever since working with Aofie, Ryan has decided to make working on people with scars a regular thing.


He decided to launch his project, Scars Behind Beauty, where he donates his free time and expertise to helping people on their road to recovery.

Ryan admits that he isn’t the only tattoo artist in the world helping people who want to cover their scars.

However, it is something he enjoys and that the recipients appreciate even more.

You can find some other examples of Ryan’s work on his Instagram.

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