Does Laser Hair Removal Affect Tattoos?

Does Laser Hair Removal Affect Tattoos

Hair removal is an integral part of modern women’s daily routine. While waxing and shaving are temporary methods of removing unwanted body hair, laser hair removal gives a long-lasting solution. Today, laser hair removal is a popular technique adopted by women around the world. It provides a permanent and safe solution and, at the same time, saves a lot of time that can be utilized productively.

However, if you have tattooed your skin and are confused about whether you can get laser hair removal over a tattoo, this article will clear your doubts. Here, we will learn how the laser hair removal technique works, how effective it would be for tattooed skin, and if there will be any adverse effects.

Laser Hair Removal Functioning

Laser Hair Removal Functioning

Laser hair removal functions by targeting hair follicles pigments, the melanin (1). A concentrated beam of light is emitted on the melanin by the laser at an apt frequency. This results in heat generation at the follicles, disabling them and thus, preventing hair growth (2).

The laser light doesn’t affect the surrounding skin and selectively heats the follicles. A person with a healthy skin, light to dark complexion, and in good physical condition can undergo the procedure of laser hair removal safely and achieve the desired results.

Can Hairs Be Removed from Tattooed Areas Through Laser?

Tattoos are defined as the introduction of exogenous pigments into the dermis in order to produce a permanent design (3).

Unfortunately, laser hair removal is incompatible with tattooed skin and may show adverse reactions. Hence, in such skin, it is not possible to remove hair through lasers.

This happens because tattooed skin consists of embedded ink pigments on the skin spread over a large surface area. Once the laser is pointed over such skin, the laser’s heat energy spreads over the entire tattoo and reduces the intensity required to heat the follicles (4).

However, laser hair can be used over the surrounding area of the tattoo. It is important to take the services of a skilled technician for this so that hair can be removed adeptly from the tattoo surrounding area without affecting the tattoo.(5)

Consequences of Laser Hair Removal Over a Tattoo

Laser Hair Removal Over a Tattoo

If laser hair removal treatment is given to tattooed skin, it may lead to following:

  • Skin damage: The laser heat may cause discolouration or scarring of the skin, resulting in moderate to severe skin damage.
  • Burns: Laser heat may result in burns over the tattoo due to uneven heat distribution.
  • Pain: Laser hair removal might be painful over the tattooed area.
  • Alteration in tattoo’s appearance: Tattoo may discolour, fade or distort due to laser light because it may inadvertently target the ink particles in the tattoo. If you have dark color, especially black tattoos, it tends to absorb more laser energy and are more likely to be affected.
  • Blistering and scarring: In certain cases, blistering, scabbing and scarring are seen when a laser is done over the tattooed skin. Usually, it occurs when the concentration or frequency of laser light is too intense. If it happens, the appearance of the tattoo will alter and the need of medical treatment to address the concern may arise.
  • Incomplete hair removal: Often, people with tattoos experience ineffective results after laser hair removal even at the surrounding area. It happens because the ink in the tattoo can absorb some of the laser light, reducing the amount of energy reaching the hair follicles and potentially compromising the results of the hair removal treatment.

Measures That Can Be Taken

If you are fed up of visiting a salon for your waxing sessions or shaving the skin after every few days you may want to consider laser hair removal. However, if you have tattooed skin, you need to consider what is the priority for you- the tattoo or hair removal.

If hair removal is your priority, then consider removing the tattoo first using laser technology. Once the tattoo is completely removed, laser hair removal treatment can be used over such skin. It will give effective results and you will get rid of unwanted hair permanently.


Hair removal methods such as waxing, shaving, etc. are a time-consuming task that both men and women undergo in their routine life. Laser hair removal is an amazing procedure to remove skin hair permanently. It provides a long-lasting and effective way to save time and feel confident.

However, if you have tattooed skin, there can be several consequences of using laser hair removal over the tattoo. Hence, you should consider removing it to avoid the risk of pigment interference.

Consult with a qualified laser technician to discuss the safest way for hair removal over the tattooed skin. Also, you must consider all the available options to ensure the effectiveness of the procedure and safety of your skin.

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