If you’re debating getting a tattoo in a key area (i.e. legs, arms or chest) there is a treatment you need to invest in before you commit to gorgeous body art: laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal is a very effective way to rid you body of unwanted hair. However, the laser used to remove the hair is the same technology used to remove tattoos! This presents an issue if you’re thinking of getting laser hair removal in a tattooed area. Fear not! We’ll explain all about laser hair removal and tattoos so that you (and your ink) stay safe and intact.
How does laser hair removal affect tattooed areas?
Laser hair removal uses a concentrated beam of light (laser) to remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair.
Because the laser used in laser hair removal is attracted to the pigment within your hair follicle, it penetrates deep into the layers of your skin. When laser hair removal is performed over a tattoo, the laser cannot tell the difference between your hair follicle pigmentation or the pigment in the ink. If the laser targets a tattooed area, it can cause the pigment of your tattoo to scatter or a reduction the colour.
So, can I have laser hair removal over my tattoo?
The short answer is no. Trained laser technicians will tell you it is unsafe to perform laser hair removal over a tattoo, even if you plan to removal the tattoo one day down the road. Laser hair removal machines are not designed to remove tattoos, and alongside distorting your tattoo, improper lasering over tattooed skin could lead to burns, blisters or skin damage.
The best course of action is to plan ahead. Book a full course of laser hair removal in the area where you want your tattoo. An added bonus is that your tattoo will look even more impressive on a smooth canvas!
What are my hair removal options if I already have tattoos?
If you already have tattoos and have decided you also want laser hair removal, there are still options. A tattoo on your forearm will not be a problem for armpit hair removal. However, if you have a thigh tattoo and decide you want full leg laser hair removal, this presents a problem. Depending on the size and placement of your tattoo, a template will be placed over top with an appropriate-sized buffer to protect you and your ink. We can laser around the area, but you will need to continue to use other forms of hair removal, such as shaving, over the untreated area.
What if I want my tattoo removed as well as laser hair removal?
For those who are looking into getting rid of an unwanted tattoo as well as laser hair removal, it’s best to focus on getting rid of the tattoo first. You will likely have to wait until your laser tattoo removal is complete before you can start the hair elimination process, but each case is different. It really depends on where your tattoo is located and how much overlap there is between your ink and the hair you want to be removed.
It is also very important that you visit a laser hair removal clinic that has well-trained and experienced laser technicians, like those at Celebrity Laser & Skin Care, who can safely treat around your tattoo.