Keloid to Phoenix

Normally a phoenix is born from ashes, but on Dan Golan’s arm, with a little help from Mika Lazar, the phoenix was born from keloids that he’d had on his arm most of his life. Dan, who lives in Haifa, Israel, has always been interested in tattoos, and like many young people, as a twelve year old had acne on his arms, which ended up leaving him with large keloid scars on his arm that made him quite uncomfortable.

When Dan turned eighteen he got his first tattoo, a small lizard that healed well and he’s still happy with today. While doing his three years of regular service in the Israeli military, four more tattoos followed that first one. Nonetheless, his old keloids from childhood still bothered him quite a bit, and when his military service was finished he started going to doctors to see if they could help get rid of them. They tried some creams and other treatments, but nothing helped, so he started poking around online to see if he could use his love of tattoos to solve the problem. His whole family approved of the idea, thinking a big tattoo — “a medical tattoo!” — would be great.

For his earlier tattoos Dan had gone to lower-end mall studios (“and you know this is not the BEST idea,” he admits), but for this project he knew he’d need someone with a bit more experience and began seeking a qualified tattoo artist in the North of Israel where he lived. Most of those that he contacted were unwilling to tattoo over keloids, but after some repeated recommendations from friends he found himself talking to Mika Lazar ( Mika had never tattooed over heavy scars like Dan’s before, so she began by tattooing a small line across one of them to make sure the ink held and there was no adverse response. Since there wasn’t and the ink held perfectly, she began the process, which you can see here:


The choice to do a phoenix came about as they were sitting at the studio tossing ideas back and forth until a phoenix that Mika had drawn up earlier caught Dan’s eye. The tattooing and subsequent healing was no different than any of Dan’s earlier tattoos without keloids in the mix, and the tattoo was completed over three sessions (not including the test line) — the outline, the bird, and then the final touches and background.


Here’s how it turned out in the end. You can still see the keloids if you know they’re there, but most people won’t notice. Dan’s considering a little more tattooing to mask them entirely, and has not yet decided whether this tattoo is going to stay largely as is, or if it’s the beginning of a sleeve.


4 thoughts on “Keloid to Phoenix

  1. Those unfortunately look like acne excoriee scars, which I can sympathize with. It gives me hope to see him doing something beautiful with scars from an ugly affliction.

  2. That is a great job. I bet the guy was well pleased with that. That is one seriously talented artist.

  3. This is great work! I’ve got similar, though even more extensive scarring on my shoulders and back (and a bit on my chest) and I’m happy to see this turn out so well. It gives me hope that I might be able to do something similar a bit later down the road when I’ve done a bit more to flatten the scars and return them to something approaching my natural skin tone. (Which should, in turn, aid the artist in doing what they need to do)

    My back is all torn up between the Keloids and pock marks from other bouts with adolescent acne that a whole-back tattoo might be in order. I honestly have no idea what I want, though and I’d like it to be something meaningful.

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve heard varying things about whether or not it was even possible and I’m happy to have found this.

  4. I have had keloids all my life and have tried many different treatments with no positive outcome. A back piece and quarter sleeve have always been what I wanted but no tattoo artist wanted to attempt it. Maybe this article will help me persuade someone in dallas!

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