Laser Hair Removal And Tattoos – Burn Risks

Laser Hair Removal & Tattoos

Laser hair removal and tattoos are a big – NO! If you are planning to undergo a laser hair removal and have tattoos over your skin, than you better read further below, and learn all the risks and side effects concerning laser hair removal and tattoos.

The size of the tattoo you have isn’t important, it can be a tiny sweet butterfly or a Yakuza body dragon tattoo, the risk for laser burns is just the same in both cases.

Laser Hair Removal And Dark Skin Pigments

Laser Hair Removal And TattoosThe  light is energy, it can transform to heat very easily. It is well known that dark matter absorbs more light than white color. If you place two plates in the sun, one white and one dark the dark plate will be warmer than the white plate.

The laser hair removal procedure works exactly on this principle. In a laser treatment the immense light energy, is turned into heat. It is the dark melanin cells in the hair which attract the light and cause the light energy to transform into heat energy.

When a person has a large amount of melanin at the skin (dark skin people) the laser will be absorbed by the skin tissue and will turn into immense heat. This is why most of the 5-6 Fitzpatrick scale skin types are not recommended to do laser hair treatments.

Laser Hair Removal And Tattoo Scarring Dangers

In most tattoos the dark pigment is inserted into the skin epidermis layer, and it colors the skin tissue. So as far as the laser energy can tell, the skin is dark or even black! All the laser energy light will be absorbed by the skin tissue, which can cause an immediate deep flesh burn!

The tattoos are like energy magnets for the laser light, and the immense energy will transform into heat in Milli-seconds. The laser zap will be very painful, and even with the numbing gel, the burn will be felt, and burned flesh smell odors may be smelled in the room..

How To Protect Your Tattoos From Laser

There are some ways professional skin laser centers protect their clients who have body tattoos. You must make sure your laser clinic is aware you have a tattoo, make sure they see the tattoo and know its location. If the tattoo is covering the place where you wish to have hair removed by laser, they need to warn you it might not be possible.

There are two main ways to protect the body with tattoos during a safe laser clinic session.

  1. Use a white masking tape to cover tattoos
  2. Using a white color pencil to cover tattoos
  3. Use a white pencil to border tattoo contour

Covering the body with white masking tape is more professional. The white masking tape covers the skin 100%, and protects skin areas from being exposed to the laser light. If the tattoo is small, a masking tape will cover it and the treatment can carry on without further worries.

Using a white pencil is another option, during the laser hair removal session a white pencil is used to cover dark skin spots (moles, freckles, skin tags, beauty spots) the same pencil can be used to cover small tattoos too. If the tattoo is of large scale, the white pencil is used to border the tattoo contour, so the laser device can be used as close to the tattoo as possible, without the risk of burns in case it over laps.

Tattoos And Laser Or IPL Hair Removal At Home

If you are planning laser hair removal at home, you must take the same precautions to protect your skin. Most leading laser systems approved for home use (Like the Tria Laser), have a skin-tone safety sensor, which detects the skin tone prior to the laser activation. In this case if the laser tip is placed over a tattoo, the system will self-lock and prevent you from self injury.

Systems which do not have this skin sensor lock, like the DM5000 laser will not be able to prevent unwanted laser side effects.

The same safety measures are relevant for IPL systems, the IPL hair removal works on the same technology as laser, turning light into heat. The IPL tattoo burns may be less sever, because the energy used in IPL is less intense compared to home lasers, or professional lasers.

Removing Hair Over Tattoos

The long lasting solutions for removing hair over tattoos is using different kind of hair removal technology to complete this task. If your body is covered with large tattoos, or if the tattoos cover the hairy parts you which to be hair free, try Electrolysis to get those places smooth.

Using Galvanic Electrolysis means no light energy is used, so the skin color or tattoo presence is not relevant to the results or safety of the treatment. You can read here on home Galvanic Electrolysis systems which you can get and treat your body, without any risk from laser burns.


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