Getting your body hair shaved is a non-negotiable part of the tattooing process. But what happens when the tattoo session is over? Does hair grow over a tattoo?
In this article, we’ll look into whether or not hair grows back after you get a tattoo. We’ll also spend some time diving into all your other hair and tattoo-related questions, so make sure you keep on scrolling.
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Does Hair Grow Over a Tattoo?
Hair does grow over a tattoo. Although, when you get a tattoo, the tattoo artist will always prepare for the session by shaving the area to remove any existing hair. That helps clean the area and creates a smooth base for the tattoo.
Although tattoo ink penetrates the dermis layer of your skin, your hair follicles are slightly deeper than the pigments. That means tattoos don’t affect your follicles or your hair growth cycle.
Your skin will be smooth and hair-free only as long as it takes to grow back.
Typically, for a week or two afterward, your hair will eventually start to grow back. Normally, this will take around two weeks. There’s also a common misconception that your hair will grow back thicker and coarser when you shave.
However, this isn’t actually the case.
Shaving only makes it look like your hair grows back thicker due to the blunt ends the razor creates. Once your hair grows out more, it’ll return to its usual appearance and texture (i.e., the same thickness).
How Do You Remove Hair From a Tattoo?
Body hair can obscure your body art, making it difficult to see. Depending on how thick and dark your hair is, it might even cover it completely! So below, we’ll examine some of the best tattoo-safe ways to remove hair from a tattoo.
Electrolysis is the only way to remove body hair and ensure that it doesn’t come back in the future. When you get electrolysis, your electrologist will use small beams of electricity to stun and deactivate your hair follicle.
The procedure doesn’t usually cause much discomfort, aside from a slight tingling. Want to hear the best part? Electrolysis won’t damage your tattoo! It’s the only permanent hair removal method that leaves tattoos completely intact.
If your tattoo is small and on an easily visible area like your face, neck, or hands, you can use tweezers to remove excess body hair. Tweezing only removes one or two hairs at a time, making it one of the slowest hair removal techniques. It’s also painful since you’re yanking the hair out from the root.
Shaving is fast, easy, and inexpensive. Although shaving is relatively painless, it can lead to painful cuts, razor burns, and ingrown hairs. Your hair will also grow back quickly, typically after only 3 or 4 days.
Although waxing is one of the most painful hair removal techniques, it can provide some of the best results. Like shaving, waxing is quick, easy, and exfoliates your skin.
It also gives you much longer-lasting hair loss, as your hair will take an average of three to six weeks to grow back. There are a variety of waxing techniques available, which we’ll list below.
- Soft wax
- Hard wax
- Sugar wax
- Hot wax
- Cold wax
In terms of hair removal, it doesn’t get any easier than depilatory creams. Simply smooth the product onto your skin and wait for a few minutes.
Then, wipe away the cream and your dissolved strands! Depilatory creams are safe, fast, and incredibly easy to use. However, they can be a little too harsh for people with sensitive skin.
Can I Laser Hair With Tattoos?
Unfortunately, laser hair removal is not recommended for people with tattoos. To help you understand why we’ll briefly explain how laser hair removal works.
When you get laser hair removal, your skin is bombarded with powerful lasers that are attracted to the pigments in your hair. Your hair follicles absorb the energy from the lasers, which impedes their ability to generate new hair.
Do you know what also contains pigments? Tattoo ink. Tattoos can draw in the laser’s energy, which can cause your skin to undergo a severe reaction. You’d likely develop painful blisters that distort your tattoo once they heal.
To be clear, people with tattoos can get laser hair removal in other areas, far away from their body art. However, they cannot use laser removal anywhere near the tattoos themselves.
Should You Shave the Hair on Your Tattoo?
Shaving is just one of the many hair removal options you have at your disposal. While shaving over a tattoo isn’t necessary, it can be beneficial. In addition to removing hair, shaving is exfoliating, which means it helps eliminate the outermost layer of dead skin.
That can leave your tattoo looking brighter and even better defined.
Once your tattoo has finished healing, you can shave it like any other patch of body hair. But you should still take measures to protect your skin and tattoo.
That includes providing plenty of lubrication, using high-quality razors, and hydrating your skin after shaving. Only use clean, sharp razors and shave against the direction that your hair grows. The more you take care of your skin, the healthier and better-looking your tattoo will remain.
How Do You Know When Your Tattoo Is Fully Healed?
Experts everywhere recommend waiting for your tattoo to heal before attempting hair removal techniques. But how do you know when your tattoo has recovered? Below, we’ll look at signs that your new tattoo has fully healed.
- All of the dry skin has sloughed off – In the weeks after your tattoo session, your skin has to go through the various levels of the healing process. That includes flaking and peeling. Shedding is your body’s way of getting rid of the damaged skin. It also helps trap the tattoo pigments under your epidermis. If you still see peeling or scabbing, your tattoo is still recovering.
- It’s been longer than six weeks – Tattoos take an average of four to six weeks to heal. While your skin may look healed as quickly as one or two weeks after your tattoo, it’s only on the surface. The deeper, less visible layers of skin still need time to recover. But once six weeks have passed, your skin has regained the majority of its integrity.
- The skin surrounding your tattoo is smooth and shiny – The most obvious sign that your tattoo has healed is smooth, healthy skin. You won’t see any more scabs or signs of irritation, and your skin will pretty much return to normal. Additionally, your tattoo should be clear and vibrant, with no more oozing or cloudiness.
- You no longer feel itching, pain, or burning – During the healing process, your tattoo may feel tender, itchy, or otherwise irritated. Once these symptoms resolve, there’s a good chance that your tattoo has finished healing. Keep in mind that these symptoms usually resolve in the first two to four weeks. Pain, itching, redness, or burning after that point may be a sign of infection.
So there you have it! Hair can and will grow back after you get a tattoo. But if you want to remove it, there are a variety of different hair removal techniques at your disposal.
Just make sure you’re giving your skin enough time to heal, or you’ll end up damaging your gorgeous new artwork. As always, we hope this article helped provide some clarity and answered all of your questions.
Kenneth Byrd, with a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has over 15 years of experience and is a recognized authority in hair care. Co-founder of Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box, Kenneth has dedicated himself to promoting ethical and scientifically-backed hair care practices. Rigorous editorial guidelines, industry recognitions, and features in numerous media outlets evidence his expertise. Kenneth’s commitment to transparency, quality, and empowerment has positioned him as a trusted voice in the field, empowering readers to confidently embrace their natural beauty.