Whether you’ve already started your laser hair removal journey and now fancy a tattoo, or you got one years ago and now want to get laser hair removal treatment on the same area – This blog is for you.
Unfortunately, it’s quite a common occurrence for clients to show up for their laser hair removal appointment, proud as punch of their new tattoo – Only to find that we’re unable to treat the area. If you’ve googled this issue and found our blog before going through with it – Great! If this is a post-tattoo oops moment, then read on too.
When tattoos and laser hair removal both increase in popularity
Nowadays, tattoos are super popular. And laser hair removal as a means to permanently remove and reduce hair has also seen a huge surge in favour and demand. Unfortunately, the prevalence of both of these don’t really serve each other.
These days you can get a tattoo pretty much anywhere. Gone are the days of tattoos just being on the upper arms. The fact that tattoos are found all over the body means that there are many parts where you might like both hair removal and a tattoo. You may well want the hair removed in order to show the tattoo off!
But can you do both?
Get your laser hair removal sessions done before you get the tattoo
If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo but are also part way through a course of laser hair removal treatment or considering starting – Get the laser done first.
For the best results of hair removal and reduction in that area, make sure you follow the treatment plan and attend all of your appointments. We would usually recommend 6 to 8 sessions, 6 weeks apart. After this the hair should be permanently reduced, and the skin smooth and ready for your new tattoo.
How long do I have to wait after laser hair removal to get a tattoo?
Laser hair removal works by destroying the hair follicles, stopping the hair from re-growing. Skin can be sensitive after laser hair removal treatment, so it would be a good idea to wait a couple of weeks before you get your tattoo done.
Can I have laser hair removal over my tattoo?
Now for those of you who already have a tattoo, and now want to treat the same area with laser hair removal – We have some bad news. You cannot do laser hair removal on skin that has been tattooed.
Depending on the location and size of your tattoo, it may be possible to treat the areas of skin around it with laser hair removal, but the skin under the tattoo itself would have to be left untreated by the laser.
If you want to go ahead with laser hair removal around your tattoo then one of our experienced technicians would cover the tattoo and then treat the surrounding area, leaving a gap of about 3cm.
It’s important that the laser doesn’t go near the tattoo, so make sure you choose a trained, experienced technician. They will mark around the tattoo with a white pen to make sure they stay away from the tattooed area.
What happens if I have laser hair removal over the top of my tattoo?
If you’re thinking ‘Oh I’m sure it’ll be fine’ and intend to try to find a technician that will do it for you, we would strongly advise you not to do so. No Laser hair removal technician should agree to treat an area of tattooed skin.
Instances of laser hair removal being done on tattooed skin have reportedly ended with serious third degree burns and hospital attention. No trained, experienced technician would be prepared to do laser hair removal on tattooed skin – Anyone agreeing to do so is likely to be from an unregulated clinic.
Why can’t you have laser hair removal over tattoos?
Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin or pigment in the skin at the root of the hair using waves of light.
The hair follicle is destroyed by the light energy in the laser and prevents the hair from growing back.
The reason it’s not safe to have laser hair removal on tattooed skin is that the laser cannot tell the difference between the dark pigment in the hair follicle and the dark pigment of the tattoo.
The light of the laser is attracted to the dark colour to destroy it – Which could result in burning the tattoo and scarring the skin.
Not only that, but it wouldn’t work effectively either because the tattoo would distract the laser from the hair follicle, resulting in less than satisfactory hair removal in the area. So rather pointless, not to mention dangerous! It’s just not worth the risk.
It’s also important to note that the lasers used for hair removal are different to those used to remove tattoos, so you can’t remove them and hair simultaneously.
Got a tattoo already but wanting laser hair removal?
If you already have a tattoo and would like to know whether it would be safe to treat the surrounding area with laser hair removal, then talk to our trained and experienced laser hair removal technicians here at our Horndean clinic; our team can ascertain whether it would be possible to treat the area of skin you have in mind, whilst leaving the tattoo well alone. Give us a call, and we can chat!