Tattoos are common. They come in all shapes and colors, on all parts of the body. They are quite common and, depending on the wearer, can mean many different things. You love your tattoos and know that laser is one way to remove them. Naturally, you are concerned about whether laser hair removal will harm your prized tattoo and whether the procedure will affect the ink.
Your tattoo’s pigment may scatter as a result of laser hair removal, so you must work around it.
Let us discuss how laser hair removal affects tattoos, how you can still undergo laser hair removal and what options you have.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. Up to 90% less hair will grow after the treatment. Many patients still experience permanent hair removal even though laser hair removal is not classified as a permanent hair removal method. A lot of factors can influence the results and length of a laser treatment.
Selected photothermolysis underlies laser hair removal. Targeted tissue can be ablate using this optical technique. The technique’s main objective is to use a laser to heat targeted tissue and destroy it while sparing nearby tissue damage.
A laser hair removal session involves the laser gun emitting light energy that specifically targets the pigments in the hair. Once the melanin has absorbed the energy, the latter travels down to the hair follicle where it turns into thermal energy. The follicle will be harmed by the heat, which will stop new hair growth.
The hair must be in the anagen stage of growth for the treatment to be effective. It is the only time, in fact, that the hair and follicle come together, allowing energy to pass from one to the other. One session can treat up to 20% of body hair because only 20% of all body hair is ever in this stage. Patients require multiple sessions spaced six weeks apart because of this.
Why is Laser Hair Removal over Tattoos Not Recommended
A laser hair removal treatment cannot be performed over tattooed skin by trained laser technicians. This has a very sound justification. As explained above, it is the pigments in the hair that attract the light energy. That energy will damage the hair follicles upon turning into thermal energy and stop hair growth.
Although light skin with dark hair is ideal for laser hair removal, it can also be used on dark skin with dark hair and light skin with fair hair. However, tanning will excite the skin, causing a change in the skin’s natural pigmentation, which could interfere with the treatment. The same problem will result from tattoos.
Tattoos do indeed remain in the skin as pigment. Due to the excessive production of heat, the laser will be drawn to the ink and may have negative effects. Not only can a laser treatment over a tattoo be painful but it can also cause burns, fading or even distortion of the tattoo.
Tattoos can suffer permanent harm from laser hair removal, and the procedure can also result in blisters that take a very long time to heal. Should you decide to undergo laser hair removal close to tattooed skin, the technician will have to be very careful and avoid any reaction with the ink. You can continue the procedure, but you will need to laser the area around the tattoo because there is no way the laser will not damage your tattoos.
Does the Treatment Work as Laser Tattoo Removal Too?
Laser hair removal can affect tattoos and inked skin. Permanent harm is indeed a possibility. Because lasers are used in both laser hair removal and laser tattoo removal, it may be easy to mix up the two procedures. However, doing so is risky.
Indeed, both treatments use different lasers with varying intensity. Both will have an effect on the ink, though lasers used for laser tattoo removal will break the ink particles and effectively remove any artificial color from the skin.
Although it may be tempting to believe otherwise, patients must remember that laser tattoo removal is a totally different procedure with a different purpose and with unique characteristics. Lasers used for hair removal are of many kinds: alexandrite, ND: YAG, diode, etc. The Q-Switch lasers used for tattoo removal are machines that deliver energy much more quickly so that the pigment is hit by the laser and broken up.
Can Tattooed Patients Still Get Laser Treatments?
Yes, patients with tattoos can still get laser hair removal. First of all, the feasibility of the treatment will depend on the location of the tattoo. For instance, your tattoo on your forearms won’t be damaged if you decide to laser your underarms despite having one. A tattoo on the thigh will not have any impact on upper lip or Brazilian laser hair removal and vice versa.
Things could get more complicated if you want to have laser hair removal on a part of your body that has tattoos. For instance, you might want to get rid of unwanted body hair from your lower legs because you have a tattoo on the back of your calf. The technician will have to maneuver around your tattoo in this case. To prevent damage or alteration, the laser must avoid your ink.
In fact, two to three centimeters should be left between the tattoo and the treated area to keep the ink safe and reduce the chance of blisters and burning. As waxing and shaving have no effect on tattoos, you might need to use other techniques to get rid of hair on the tattoo.
Can I Get a Tattoo After Laser Hair Removal?
We recommend waiting until your laser hair removal treatment is finished if you haven’t already gotten inked and want to get a tattoo. Laser hair removal can reduce hair growth by up to 90%. Each person’s laser treatment will last a different amount of time. Indeed, some people may need only six sessions while others may need up to twelve.
Yes, there are a lot of variables that could affect how well your treatment works. You can pick one of them, and that area is it. You will require more sessions if it is hormonal. Thus, it would be safer to wait until your laser treatment is completely over and you have reached satisfactory results before you decide to get a tattoo.
And even after that, we advise you to wait a while before getting tattooed. Laser hair removal does, in fact, make the skin extremely sensitive to outside irritants and sun damage. Prior to getting a tattoo, you should give your skin time to recover and heal.
You can get in touch with your neighborhood tattoo artist and arrange a consultation a few weeks after your laser hair removal procedure is finished to make sure getting a tattoo is safe for you. The only time you can get inked is if they give the okay.
Wait a few weeks before attempting laser hair removal if you decide to have your tattoo removed with laser technology. Again, you should give your skin time to recover from a procedure that is quite intense and to heal and regenerate.
How to Cover Up a Tattoo for Laser Hair Removal
If you still want to do laser hair removal with a tattoo, then experienced practitioners will be able to create a cover for the tattoo and then target the surrounding area, usually keeping around 2-3cm between the tattoo and the lasered skin.
You will be okay as long as the laser does not touch the tattoo. You can ask the practitioner to mark around the tattoo with their white pen as an extra precaution. Plasters and medical tape are not required. Although be warned using this treatment may lighten the colour of the tattoo and could still damage the tattooed skin. Finding an expert practitioner you can trust is the most crucial thing you can do.
What is the Process for Removing Hair and How Does It Affect My Tattoo ?
Laser hair removal treatment works by targeting the melanin or pigment in the skin using wavelengths of light.
This light energy attacks the hair follicle and prevents it from growing back. Lasers are unable to distinguish between tattoo ink and hair follicles with dark pigment. For a laser, any dark color is just that—dark. Automatically, laser light is drawn to the dark color to obliterate it. Unfortunately, there is not yet laser hair technology that can distinguish between the two, but there may be.
The Effect of Laser Hair Removal on Tattoos.
If laser hair removal was performed over a tattoo the laser would have trouble accurately finding the pigment in the hair as there would be pigment from the tattoo surrounding, confusing the laser.
So you have the double effect of poor laser hair removal and exposing tattooed skin to the laser which could cause severe scarring or long term issues to the skin. So bad all round.
For laser hair removal and tattoo removal, various lasers are also employed. What about IPL?
Can You Use IPL on Tattoos?
Lasers do not include IPL. They are essentially full-spectrum flashlamps. Like a flash on a camera. They are effective in treating rosacea and sunspots, among other skin conditions. Laser hair removal is less effective than expected. We would not recommend IPL for laser hair removal and you encounter the same issues with your tattoos that you have with IPL.
How to Protect Tattoo During Laser Hair Removal
You don’t have to worry about keeping your tattoo safe during laser hair removal; your provider will take care of that.
A skin-safe white pencil is used to make a mark on the skin as one of the first procedures at SEV Laser. This allows the nurse or technician to keep track of which areas are being treated. We are able to make sure we don’t miss any spots thanks to this quick and easy step. Additionally, it’s how we identify things like tattoos, moles, and other imperfections that cannot be laser-marked.
So let’s say you want to do a full legs laser hair removal, but you have a tattoo on your thigh or ankle. Your nurse or laser technician will draw a border around the tattoo, in addition to marking out the areas that will be lasered. They will then quickly avoid the area as they begin to zap away.
Bottom Line: Tattoos and Laser Hair Removal
The majority of the time, laser hair removal can be done around your tattoo safely and effectively! If you’re sick of hair growth over your un-tattooed skin, laser hair removal provides permanent hair reduction. It’ll save you the hassle of waxing and shaving for the rest of your life!
Be careful when selecting a location for your laser hair removal. Your body art won’t be an issue for the staff at a reputable salon or spa. At SEV Laser, our team is made up of registered nurses and licensed technicians who have undergone rigorous training.
What Happens If the Laser Touches Your Tattoo?
You will definitely have problems if your tattoo is exposed to laser hair removal. Because tattoo pigment is deeply ingrained in the skin, the laser cannot tell the difference between the ink and the hair follicle. The laser will therefore heat up your skin rather than the hair follicle.
What is the Best Way to Remove Hair from a Tattoo?
The best method for permanently getting rid of hair from tattoos is electrolysis, which is an FDA-approved procedure. Laser therapy can be safely replaced with electrolysis. Hair follicles are destroyed by electrolysis using a very small amount of electricity.
What Happens If You Get Laser Hair Removal Too Often?
After each laser hair removal treatment, the follicles are more “stunted” or damaged. The hair that does eventually regrow in the target area may be thinner at first. In time, hair growth will slow down as more follicles are damaged with each session.