Laser hair removal and tattoos have a complicated relationship. Tattoos are an amazing means of self-expression – a literal way of turning your skin into art! We love every little way that our clients express their creativity and celebrate their bodies. But how does laser hair removal affect tattoos? 

If you already have a few tattoos and you’re thinking of trying laser hair removal, this post is for you. We’ll explain exactly what happens if a laser comes in contact with your tattoo and whether you can still get laser hair removal.  

Then, we’ll go over what we do at SEV Laser when an inked beauty wants to come in for a laser hair removal treatment. 

What Happens if Laser Touches My Tattoo? Will My Tattoo Get Ruined?

If laser hair removal comes in contact with your tattoo, then yes, you’ll be in trouble. Tattoo pigment is embedded deeply in the skin, so the laser can’t distinguish between the ink and the hair follicle. As a result, the laser will heat up your skin rather than the follicle. That can lead to irritation, burning, or blistering. 

This injury to the skin won’t remove your tattoo, since laser hair removal isn’t meant to remove pigment. It may still distort your tattoo, however, and more importantly, the experience isn’t pleasant. 
Thankfully, in the hands of an experienced technician or registered nurse like our staff at SEV Laser, the light will never come in contact with your tattoo at all.  

Can I Get Laser Hair Removal If I Have Tattoos? 

Yes! While the area where you are tattooed can’t be lasered, you can still enjoy this permanent hair reduction method on the unmarked parts of your body. 
In general, we keep the light ½ an inch away from the tattooed parts of the skin when doing a laser hair removal treatment. 

If you’re very heavily tattooed, it’s possible that there isn’t enough un-marked real estate on your body that can be lasered. If you’re not sure, you can always reach out to us to find out if you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal. 
If you’re planning to get a lot of tattoos in the future but you’d also like to get rid of hair, we recommend planning ahead. Get your laser hair removal done first, and then you’ll have a ton of smooth skin ready to be tattooed.

How to Protect Tattoo During Laser Hair Removal

You don’t need to worry about protecting your tattoo during laser hair removal – that’s your provider’s responsibility! 
At SEV Laser, one of the first things we do is mark the skin with a skin-safe white pencil. This allows the nurse or technician to keep track of which areas are being treated. It’s a quick, simple step that allows us to ensure we don’t miss any spots. It’s also how we mark areas that cannot be lasered, like tattoos, moles, or blemishes. 

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. Then, as they start zapping away, they’ll easily avoid the area. 

Bottom Line: Tattoos and Laser Hair Removal 

In most cases, laser hair removal can be done safely and effectively around your tattoo! 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. The staff at a reputable salon or spa won’t have any issues working around your body art. At SEV Laser, our team is made up of registered nurses and licensed technicians who have undergone rigorous training. 

We understand that tattoos are a precious investment. We’ll work with you to remove unwanted hair while protecting your ink. We have locations all over the US, so if you’re ready to start your journey to hair-free skin, book your appointment