Can laser hair removal be performed over a tattoo?

Is it safe to perform laser hair removal over a tattoo, you may ask?

Have you just got your new tattoo and the stump around it has started to grow back? The area may still be healing and you may be wondering how to safely get rid of the hair? The short answer is that you may have to wait a little longer to get rid of the unwanted hair.

Laser tattoo

You may also wonder if laser hair removal is safe for your tattoos. If so, you're not alone! Getting a tattoo can be a painful but amazing experience, and of course you want your new work of art to last forever.

Tattoos are trendy. These ink masterpieces can end up anywhere on the body, and this can lead to some problems in places you want to be hair-free.

So here's the bad news... unfortunately, laser hair removal cannot be done over a tattoo. Laser hair removal is supposed to remove your unwanted hair, and lasers and tattoos unfortunately don't go together, as laser technology actually removes tattoos too. This can be a tricky situation, but have no fear, there are several alternative solutions. So let's dive in and learn more about laser hair removal and tattoos.

How does laser hair removal work?

If you're looking to get laser hair removal for the first time or perhaps in a new area, welcome to the club! You may be thinking, how does laser hair removal actually work?

Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses a highly concentrated beam of light (the laser) to remove unwanted body hair. Laser hair removal works when the concentrated light hits the hair follicles.

The laser is attracted to the pigment, which can either come from the root of the hair or from the pigment in the blood supply to the hair follicle. Light and heat then damage the hair follicle enough to prevent or delay future hair growth.

Generally, the number and frequency of laser hair removal procedures is once every four to six weeks depending on the individual's hair growth. However, it is always recommended to consult with an experienced skin therapist or dermatologist to determine the best plan for you and your body.

Are there any side effects of laser hair removal?

Let's be honest for a second; pretty much all types of traditional hair removal techniques have their drawbacks. Whether it's nursing a razor burn, slipping and sliding in the shower or feeling the pain of waxing, we've all been there at some point. Being hair-free isn't always easy.

On the other hand, those who have experienced laser hair removal know that it can feel like finding a gold nugget. Here at Vivre, we offer high quality hair removal products and will help you walk through the process of laser hair removal.

However, there are some rare but possible side effects of laser hair removal. Some common side effects of laser hair removal may include the following:

  • Redness and sensitivity
  • Blisters
  • Scarring

So if you're new to the world of laser hair removal, you'll probably love the newfound smoothness of your skin after this process. If you just got a new tattoo, laser hair removal can work on other areas of the body, it should not be done over the tattoo itself.

Can you get laser hair removal over tattoos?

Laser tattoo

Unfortunately, it's not a good idea to get laser hair removal over tattoos. Laser hair removal is a medical procedure designed to remove hair, and if this type of laser comes into contact with your tattoos it can cause serious damage.

If you still want laser hair removal and you have a tattoo, some experienced practitioners can make a safe, thick, customised cover for your tattoo and then target the surrounding skin areas. But in general, it's not safe to get laser hair removal over tattoos.

Let's review why laser hair removal is not safe over tattoos and find some safe alternatives.

Laser hair removal for people with tattoos

As we just learned, laser hair removal over your tattoos can lead to serious damage, including discoloration of your tattoo. Because laser hair removal targets the pigment, it can also reduce the colour of your tattoo, or worse, cause the pigment to spread.

There have been many horror stories of people getting third-degree burns from doing this, so it's never a safe idea to have laser hair removal over a tattoo.

On the other hand, there are some alternative solutions to get rid of this unwanted hair!

Are there any alternatives to laser hair removal?

Okay, if laser hair removal over tattoos is not a good idea, what can you do instead? Fortunately, there are several other safe options for removing the unwanted hair over your tattoos.

Shaving

If you've just got a new tattoo on your leg or on a part of your body where you normally shave, it can be tempting to shave the area when it starts to grow a stubble. However, it's very important to wait until your tattoo has peeled off and healed completely before taking a razor to this area.

Generally, this can take between five and ten days, but it can also take up to a few months for some people. A good test to try is to close your eyes and gently run your fingertips over the tattoo and the area around it.

If you don't feel any lumps and if the tattoo feels the same as the skin around it, it should be safe to shave. If you use a razor with a blade, be very careful because the last thing you want to do is reopen the wound or get an infection.

Waxing

Waxing is usually a fairly safe way to remove hair over tattooed skin. In waxing, the wax is applied only to the outer layer of skin, so it does not touch or affect the tattoo pigment under the skin. Just be sure to wait about four to six weeks after getting a tattoo done before waxing the area over a new tattoo.

Hair removal cream

If you've tried shaving and waxing, but are tired of the little bumps on your skin, it might be time to try a hair removal cream. If you've just got a tattoo, you'll want to wait about two weeks, or until the tattoo has completely healed, before applying any hair removal cream to the skin over the tattoo.

Laser tattoo

If your tattoo has healed, it's always best to test the hair removal cream on a small area of skin first to make sure your skin doesn't react negatively. If for any reason you feel any burning sensation, immediately rinse off the cream with water and wipe off the product. However, if your skin feels fine, you can follow the instructions on the packaging and safely remove hair over your tattoos with a hair removal cream.

Consider all the factors above before choosing which hair removal process works best for you and your new tattoo!

Should I get laser treatment before getting a tattoo?

Yes! If you're thinking about getting laser hair removal done, you definitely want to get it done before you get any tattoos. This will actually help keep the skin above the tattoo hair-free and smooth, long after the tattoo is in place.

Otherwise, you'll just have to live with the little stubs of hair that start to grow back. We all know what that's like, so it's definitely recommended to remove the hair first, either by laser hair removal, IPL or another option.

Which one hurts the most?

Finally, you may just be curious and want to know what hurts the most. For most people, getting a tattoo is far more painful than getting laser hair removal. But with both, it also depends on the area of your body where you're having the procedure done.

Many people say that getting a tattoo feels like a stinging sensation or like being stung by a bee. On the other hand, laser hair removal feels more like a hair band being snapped onto your skin, which if you grew up with a sibling, chances are you've felt this before and know that the feeling goes away pretty quickly.

In summary

All in all, although laser hair removal works great on most areas of the body, you shouldn't get laser hair removal over tattoos. This can lead to painful blisters and can really ruin your tattoo.

Save the laser hair removal or IPL to other parts of the body without tattoos. To be on the safe side, and for the sake of your tattoo, stick to waxing, shaving or other hair removal methods. That way your skin will feel safe and your tattoo will look beautiful!