Can I have laser hair removal if I have tattoos?

Tattoos are such a personal thing. Some people have tiny discreet tattoos on ankles or shoulders, others love to decorate large areas of their bodies including the face, hands, back and neck. Just about anywhere can be tattooed these days!

As well as tattoos, many people want to have laser hair removal to give them a look that they will love. Unfortunately any area/s with tattoos cannot undergo laser hair removal or IPL.

So it’s a real challenge not just for a client, but for a clinic which wants to give the perfect results. Here’s why.

Lasers and tattoos

Put simply, laser hair removal works through light energy attacking the dark pigment in the skin. A laser cannot differentiate between the dark pigment in a hair follicle and the dark pigment in a tattoo.

At best the tattoo could become distorted and the colours fade. At worst, your skin could suffer burns and permanent scarring.

I haven’t had my tattoos yet

If you haven’t had your tattoos yet and there are areas of your body you want hair-free that you also want tattooed, it’s quite simple – make sure your skin is hair free before you have your tattoo. Then that area will continue to be smooth and hair free after the tattoo.

Parts of the body to think carefully about include your arms, especially if you intend to have a sleeve, your back, your legs, or in your groin area. After all, it’s fairly usual to want a hair free bikini line and laser hair removal is a good option to choose.

How long do I need to wait for my tattoo after laser hair removal?

Your skin will need a chance to heal so we recommend waiting for two to three weeks before having your tattoo done.

Remember that laser hair removal isn’t an instant fix. You will need to book in a series of 6 to 8 sessions with breaks between – and treatment can take between 6 and 9 months. So if you want your tattoo for a particular occasion such as a wedding or birthday, plan well ahead so that you have time to have the sessions, and then for your skin to be ready for the tattoo.

What if I already have a tattoo?
If you already have tattoos then the area of the tattoo itself cannot be treated. However, the area around the tattoo can, as the skin is unaffected by the tattoo and can be treated as normal for laser hair removal.
Don’t let a clinic persuade you otherwise. You may suffer from serious burns that can leave you with scarring for life.

Are there other options I can use?
While laser hair removal is the best method of permanent hair removal, if you have hairy skin on your tattoos you can still remove it. Electrolysis is a good option as this won’t damage the tattoo and won’t burn or scar your skin.
And there’s no reason that you can’t continue to use other hair removal methods such as epilation, waxing and shaving. The downside is frequent hair regrowth and the need to epilate, wax or shave often, depending on your hair type.
If you already have a tattoo but your main concern is excessive hair which you want permanently eradicated, you can opt to have the tattoo removed. After a period of healing you can then book in for your laser hair removal.

Getting advice
Whether you already have a tattoo or are thinking about getting one and have concerns about hair on that part of your body, you can book a free consultation with a professional clinic to discuss your options and get a quotation for your treatment.
An experienced practitioner will give you straightforward, practical advice in either situation and explain your best way forward to achieving the results you want.

Choosing the right clinic is important, particularly if you already have tattoos. Check out client testimonials on the clinic’s website and on external sites such as Google. Also research results guarantees, the experience of the clinicians, and whether the clinic uses the latest laser machines.

Brigstock Skin & Laser is a good place to start for comparisons. There is plenty of information on our website that will help. To book your FREE initial consultation call now on 020 3820 4822 or click here.

Of course some popular areas for tattoos are hair free anyway, so you can go ahead and get your beautiful artwork done without worrying about needing hair removal in the future!
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