As a natural structural protein, collagen can be found in the extracellular space in various connective tissues of the body. Collagen tissue comes in several forms depending on the degree of mineralization: Hard and rigid, yielding, or a combination of the two. This protein makes up much of the human body and can be found in bones, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, teeth, skin, and more.

When the collagen is damaged, the body automatically sends signals to begin rebuilding and repairing that damage.

Collagen plays a major role in tattooing. When tattoos are done improperly or if an infection occurs during aftercare, collagen will naturally heal the skin, causing an interruption in the tattoo. Depending on the level of damage, the scar left behind can distort the image.

Collagen can also affect tattoos after an injury. For example, if a person has had body art for years, a car accident, or even something as minor as a trip and fall, could scrape the skin enough to cause scarring. Collagen is important to the healing process, but it can leave raised, nasty marks that ruin someone’s ink.