Tattoo artists will shave the region of the skin that you plan to get tattooed in order to apply the stencil carefully and tattoo without any issue. But you may be wondering if, after a bit of time, that hair will grow over your tattoo. Will the tattoo be hidden by the hair? Or will the tattoo needles destroy the hair follicles and prevent growth? We’ve got you covered in our guide on hair and tattoos.
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Tattoo Technique and Your Skin
Tattoo needles use a method that punctures the epidermis layer of your skin and deposits ink into your lower dermis layer. In this region, the ink can sit without fading or dissipating away and your epidermis can regenerate and shed layers through its lifetime without losing your design.
Hair follicles are actually located below the dermis, within the fat and muscle layer of your skin. Therefore, your artist, if they are tattooing at the correct depth, will never actually touch or damage your hair follicles. While hair does rise through the dermis and epidermis, it doesn’t distort, damage, or push any of the ink in the process. Think of it like a very thin needle going through a piece of fabric.
Hair Growth and Tattoos
That being said, sometimes the damage of the tattoo process which creates a wound in your skin may make it more challenging for your hair to push through smoothly and as quickly as it would after a general shave. In other cases, it could lead to ingrown hair which is an even more bothersome issue.
Ingrown Hair and Tattoos
The healing and scabbing process of a new tattoo could interfere with the smooth growth of your shaved hairs. A thick scab, inflamed skin, or peeling skin may cause your hair to have difficulties breaking through the epidermis. This could lead to the hair bending over and growing downwards, and this causes ingrown hair.
This ingrown hair can lead to raised bumps, pimples, or pus-filled protrusions on your skin over your new tattoo. Ingrown hairs can be extremely painful, and if they’re forming under a new tattoo, this can add to the discomfort of the healing process. On a new tattoo, you should absolutely not pick, pop, or scratch at these ingrown hairs or you can severely distort your healing tattoo or cause an infection.
Removing Hair Over a Tattoo
Depending on how naturally hairy you are in the region where you got tattooed, you may find that your hair interferes with others being able to see and admire your tattoo. This may make you want to consider ways to remove the hair. You have a few options available which won’t distort or affect your ink.
- Shaving - After your tattoo has been given at least a month to heal, you’re safe to begin shaving again. Shaving will not affect your tattoo in any way, but you do have to be aware that shaving could cause ingrown hairs. Check out our complete article on shaving with tattoos.
- Waxing - Waxing is a process that removes the hair at the follicle. Over time, with a continuous waxing process, the hair generally gets weaker and grows in thinner or not at all. You should wait until a few months after getting a new tattoo before you begin waxing your sensitive skin.
- Electrolysis - This process uses an electric current (not a laser) to blast the hair follicle and destroy its ability to grow back hair again. This is a permanent - though costly - solution to getting rid of hair over a tattoo that won’t affect your tattoo negatively. Again, you should wait many months after a new tattoo prior to getting this done.
With all hair removal processes, ensure you are moisturizing your skin before and after the process because they all tend to dry out your epidermis.
Our Final Thoughts
Hair growing through a dated tattoo is inevitable, really. In fact, you may experience the discomfort of ingrown hairs when your new tattoo is healing. The good news is that the tattoo process does not destroy your hair follicles and there are solutions available to help you get rid of your hair and show off your ink.