Laser & Tattoos – Why can’t I have laser hair removal?


Diode laser is a permanent hair removal service that is becoming more & more demanded every day. Why? Diode laser has become the foremost technology in long-term hair removal, with other options such as IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) becoming obsolete. IPL requires frequent treatments for longer periods of time to work, while diode lasers are more effective from session 1 with less discomfort (with integrated cooling) and is suitable for all skin and hair types.

However, even the latest technology available in the market can’t be used on tattooed skin.

To understand why, we need to take a look at how laser machines work:

Laser hair removal sends a focused ray of light into your skin, targeting the hair follicles. The laser is attracted to pigment (depending on the wavelength used it could be the pigment in the skin, the hair, the root or the blood), which absorbs the light, transforming it into heat, damaging the follicle at the root, preventing any regrowth.

How does this affect tattoos?

Since the laser wavelenghts target pigment/melanin, if laser hair removal treatments are performed on tattooed skin, the laser would target the ink on the skin, heating it up and causing skin damage and possibly scarring. There are laser tattoo removal treatments available, but it is a different technology from the Laser hair removal machines, so the equipment can’t do both. 

What if I have tattoos and want laser hair removal?

This depends on where the tattoos are. If the distance between the areas you want lasered and the tattoos is big enough, there should be no problem, i.e. you have a tattoo on your lower back and want to remove the hair on your legs.

If your tattoo is on the same area that you want laser hair removal, we can work around it, ensuring there is at least 2-3 cm margin around it. Our technicians will create a white template from your tattoo and cover it up, ensuring no damage to the tattooed skin. This area would not get laser hair removal and you would still have to use other methods like waxing or shaving, provided your tattoo is properly healed.

Can you get a tattoo after laser hair removal?

This is the best way to proceed if you are planning on getting laser hair removal and tattoos. Once your skin has healed from the laser treatment (after all, the laser does damage the hair follicles in the skin), you can get a tattoo on the same area. 

You would have to wait several weeks after the laser hair removal appointment before you are able to get your tattoo, but you won’t get any hair over the tattooed area anymore. 

Keep in mind you won’t be able to have top-up laser session over that area, but minimal hair growth is nowhere near as noticeable, especially over a dark or coloured tattoo.

It is also very important that you visit a laser hair removal clinic with highly trained and experienced laser technicians, like us at The Laser Club

If you have any more questions or you are interested in getting hair removal with tattoos, we always recommend booking in for a FREE consultation in our clinic in Manchester and our expert technicians will advise you on the best course of action.

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