Laser hair removal advice for those with tattoos
Fair Go recently featured a story about a woman whose tattoo was accidentally laser-ed over during laser hair removal. The story can be viewed on One News. To understand why this is so concerning, we spoke with Jorgi Lee, Managing Director of Shape Studio. Here’s some advice for clients with tattoos
What happens to a tattoo if it is lasered over?
The laser emits light that is converted into heat and absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle. If you treat an area with really dark pigment, such as a tattoo, the pigment in the tattoo will be targeted, which can result in burns, skin damage, pain, and/or damage to the tattoo itself.
What measures does Shape Studio use to ensure tattoos are not accidentally lasered over?
To avoid potential complications, our laser technician will first ask the client if they have any tattoos in the treatment area, and if required, will apply white medical tape over the tattoo. Whilst the pigment in the hair absorbs the majority of the energy, the generated heat can disperse in the skin, so we ensure there is at least a 1 cm perimeter surrounding the tattoo that is untreated to avoid the tattoo ink absorbing any heat.
Have you heard of this happening before?
Yes, unfortunately. We have heard of a few incidents where some clinics do not give their staff sufficient time to complete the treatments and are therefore having to rush through them. Being under pressure is challenging for anyone in any industry, and it often leads to an overwhelmed and potentially forgetful employee.
Laser hair removal treatments are often performed quickly thanks to the advancements in technology, however, at Shape Studio we recognise the importance of extending appointment times a little to allow for things like covering tattoos, getting comfortable, having time to discuss any questions or concerns the client may have and ensuring a thorough treatment is performed.
What advice would you give people with tattoos undertaking laser hair removal?
Yes, it is true that tattoos will prohibit you from having that particular area free from hair using laser hair removal methods, but don’t let that stop you from having the surrounding area treated. In the hands of an experienced laser technician, you should have no concerns about having laser hair removal around tattoos. Tattoos should always be covered if the surrounding area is being treated.
What are your overall thoughts on the incident?
We can all appreciate how it feels to be “under the pump” in order to get something completed on time. It is unfortunate for the Laser Clinics’ client to have experienced the discomfort of having their tattoo accidentally treated. And while it can happen, there are simple and effective ways to mitigate the risk and ensure tattoo protection is foolproof throughout the entire treatment.