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Does Laser Hair Removal Affect Tattoos?

Laser tattoo removal and laser hair removal are two of the most popular ways to use lasers on the body, aside from laser skin resurfacing. So, what’s the difference between these lasers? A lot!

Read on to learn more in Dr. Aeria Chang’s newest Beauty Blog.

Q-Switching Lasers for Tattoo Removal

laser hair removal tattooThis type of laser energy is fast and effective when it comes to tattoo ink. The laser energy is delivered in brief, powerful pulses that target the tattoo pigment in the skin without harming the skin around the tattoo. This is especially helpful because the entire area can be treated without the additional concern of damaging surrounding tissue.

Q-switched lasers are the only type of laser that is approved for removing tattoos. According to leading manufacturers of these types of lasers, the best type of pulse to remove tattoo ink is one that has a narrow width combined with a higher “peak power.” Peak power is the max amount of laser energy that can be delivered in one single pulse.

These types of Q-switched lasers come in a variety of different names, depending upon the wavelength they produce. The Nd:YAG laser is the most widely-used type of laser to remove tattoos because it is able to remove about 95% of a tattoo by using two different wavelengths.

For the rest of the tattoo ink that is buried deep within the skin or is a stubborn color (several blue-green shades), another type of laser is needed. These lasers include the Ruby laser or the Alexandrite laser. Often, practitioners purchase a quality laser device that is able to deliver both the Nd:YAG and the Ruby or Alexandrite laser wavelengths. Alternately, some practitioners purchase two separate devices to accomplish the task.

Wavelengths meant for tattoo removal are entirely different from the wavelengths used for hair removal.

What If You Want Laser Hair Removal & Tattoo Removal in the Same Area?

The key here is the order in which the treatments are done so that enough time can be taken in between treatments to allow for healing. Also, which is your priority…getting the tattoo removed or getting rid of unwanted hair?

For laser tattoo removal, this should be done using a number of sessions with a prescribed amount of time in between sessions to allow the treated area to fully heal. With laser hair removal, there is less healing time needed, but this is also done in a sequence of sessions.

It is not advised to get laser treatment for tattoo removal and hair removal at the same time for the same body area (i.e., arms, legs, back, etc.). Your doctor will advise you on which concern should be treated first and which laser type is best for you.

Effective hair removal lasers include the Nd:YAG, diode, and Alexandrite laser (most common). IPL, or intense pulsed light, can also remove hair, but is only for those with light skin tones. Approximately six sessions (using any type of laser) are usually needed to achieve desired results for permanent hair removal.

Dr. Chang carefully considers your skin tone, hair color, and hair texture before deciding on the best laser to use. This is why Beatitude Aesthetic Medicine is so popular – a medical doctor is the person treating your cosmetic concerns!

Dr. Aeria Chang is an Expert on Laser Hair Removal

Since 2008, Dr. Chang has been providing expert laser hair removal services to hundreds of clients. Beatitude Aesthetic Medicine is your go-to place for laser hair removal in San Diego. Call us today at (619) 280-1609 to schedule your consultation.


Patient Stories Dr. Chang has an eye for symmetry and aesthetics. I went in for a consultation to have fillers under my eyes. Instead I was educated on my facial anatomy. I agreed to some fillers in my forehead and cheeks instead and could not be more pleased with the outcome.
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