woman with tattoos

Can I have laser hair removal if I have tattoos?

Laser hair removal and tattoos can be an ambiguous combination when carrying out any desired laser treatment plans as the location of both your tattoos, and unwanted hair, can heavily influence your eligibility.

Although laser hair removal and laser tattoo removal are essentially different treatments, they both follow a similar school of practice. Both employ laser technology to destroy pigment which is why laser hair removal cannot be used over a tattoo, as it cannot detect the difference between the tattoo ink and the hair follicle’s pigment.

Can you get a tattoo after laser hair removal?

Yes, and if anything, laser hair removal will be beneficial and enhance any tattoo situated on the treated area, as it will be smooth and hair free.

We recommend a course of typically 6 – 8 treatments to target the hair when it’s most receptive to the laser technology. The repeated sessions ensure that the hairs are targeted in the Anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. During this period, the hair follicles are actively growing and will be most responsive to the laser and effective in achieving up to 90% unwanted hair reduction.

As a usual treatment plan takes place in intervals, it is best to schedule your upcoming tattoo well in advance after course completion. Sometimes, during laser hair removal, damage to the outer skin’s layer can occur, so it is best to allow extra time for your skin to heal completely. If you are thinking of undergoing LHR as a way of prepping your skin for a tattoo, ask your practitioner for further advice.

Will laser hair removal damage a tattoo?

Laser hair removal can damage a tattoo and cannot be performed directly onto tattooed skin.

As laser hair removal and laser tattoo removal fall under the same treatment umbrella, having LHR can have very damaging consequences, which can result in the distortion and fading of body art and, in severe cases, skin burns and blistering. If you want to treat the surrounding areas near your tattoo, or an untattooed area, you may be suitable for treatment – with confirmation from your practitioner.

In some rarer instances, electrolysis can be a possible option if you are adamant about hair removal. Electrolysis differs from laser hair removal and endorses an alternative, individualised approach. The treatment works by emitting an ultra-fine electrical current through a probe.

The current targets the individual hair and works by destroying the hair follicles, where electrolysis is usually used as a way to treat fine hair that cannot be detected by laser treatments. Eligibility will be confirmed during your free consultation.

How to cover a tattoo for laser hair removal

If you have tattoos and want to treat unwanted hair near the tattooed skin, you can still be suitable for laser hair removal treatment. Trained and experienced practitioners can create a physical cover to protect your tattoo and target the hair on the surrounding areas. This ensures your tattoo will remain unaffected by any laser treatment you undergo.

The best way to prepare your skin for laser hair removal is to avoid any manual hair removal methods – like waxing and shaving – this will ensure your hair is in its most natural, visible state. If there is no hair visible, the laser will be ineffective at destroying the follicle as they will become undetectable.

Before your session, also avoid using any perfumed products, lotions or any acid-based products (anything with a Retinol/Glycolic/Salicylic content) as this can cause reactions and irritations during the treatment.

Your free consultation is an opportunity for you to explain your treatment expectations and initiate a direct communication line with your practitioner. During the meeting, they will explain the procedure, expected outcomes and side effects. The practitioner will also answer any questions you may have regarding laser hair removal and your tattoo.

Key things to remember 

  • Laser hair removal does not work directly on tattooed skin
  • It can still be used to treat unwanted hair on the areas surrounding your tattoo
  • Laser hair removal can be beneficial for new tattoos

For more information on Laser Hair Removal, click here.

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