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Laser Hair Removal and Tattoos


Laser hair removal is the most permanent treatment for smooth, hair-free skin on the market today. With its rising popularity comes a new concern: does laser hair removal work over tattoos? Many people choose to adorn themselves with tattoos, particularly on popular treatment areas of laser hair removal like the legs, back, and arms. Hair can alter the appearance of the tattoo by distorting the color clarity as well as the skin's texture. Read on to find out the implications that tattoos put on laser hair removal and your best options:

Laser Hair Removal Over Tattoos

No formal studies have been completed involving laser hair removal over tattoos, so the following evidence is based on patient reports. Laser hair removal over tattooed skin may result in blistering, bleeding, and infection. Thus, laser hair removal should not be performed over tattoos. It's hard to say exactly why tattoos and laser hair removal just don't mix. Tattoos involve placing pigment into the dermis, which is the second uppermost layer of the skin. This forever alters the makeup of the skin, making it unsuitable to laser hair removal.

Patients who have had laser hair removal performed over their tattoos say that there is a loud snapping or popping sound as the laser goes over the tattoo. The skin instantly forms a blister to protect itself. Soon after. the blister becomes pus-filled and oftentimes, gets infected. After the wound heals, the tattoo is left disfigured, faded, and even scarred. Further tattooing to correct the old tattoo is usually impossible because the skin is not in its original, healthy state.

The bottom line is that laser hair removal can't be performed over tattoos. On the other hand, tattoos pose no problem when they're applied over skin that has been treated by laser hair removal. So if you want both tattoos and laser hair removal in the same spot, the laser hair removal must come first.

Electrolysis and Tattoos

There is one type of permanent hair removal that works over tattoos: electrolysis. Electrolysis has been proven safe and effective over tattoos. Since it involves inserting a needle into each individual hair follicle, the skin around the follicle is not effected. Electrolysis in general is less preferred to laser hair removal because it is more painful and less effective, but it may be a worthwhile option if a patient truly wants the hair within the tattoo removed.

Laser Hair Removal Around Tattoos

Laser hair removal can certainly be performed around tattooed areas. For example, if you have a tattoo on your ankle, the laser hair removal specialist can perform the treatment on the rest of your leg and avoid the tattoo with at least a one inch precautionary border. Obviously, hair will still continue to grow as normal over the tattoo. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to continue to shave, wax, or otherwise remove the hair from just one spot of your body.

If you're interested in having laser hair removal around your tattoo, it's incredibly important that your practitioner is precise, experienced, and sensitive to your concerns. Here at Hair Removal Forum, we can schedule a private consultation with a qualified laser hair removal specialist in your area. Contact us today!

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