If you’ve ever had a tattoo, you know you need to shave the area where the tattoo will be placed (if the area has hair, of course). It is a common requirement before tattooing so that the tattoo artist can do his work without any hindrance. Hair can prevent the stencil from applying properly and can mess things up with the needle and ink.
But what happens once the tattoo is finished? Does the hair grow back or will it stay hairless forever?
In the following paragraphs we will see what happens with the skin after the tattoo and whether the hairs grow back or not. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Shave before getting a tattoo – Why?
To understand the problem here, one must understand why it is necessary to shave the designated tattoo area in the first place.
First of all, if you come to an unshaven tattoo parlor, don’t worry. Your tattoo artist will provide you with a razor to shave the designated area yourself, or they will if the area is out of your reach.
The designated tattoo area should be smooth and clean for many reasons. For instance;
- A smooth, clean area will result in better stencil application
- Hairless skin is easier to work with
- Hairless skin also allows tattoo artists to work easily
- Smooth skin does not interfere with the needle
- There will be no white spots in the tattoo when the area is shaved
As you can see, hair can cause a lot of problems for the tattoo artist. If you didn’t shave first, the hairs would interrupt the needle as it pierced the skin. It will also cause the needle to miss some spots on the skin, and as a result, there will be empty spots in the tattoo. Not to mention that it is 10 times more difficult to apply the stencil for the tattoo design on hairy skin than on smooth, shaved skin.
If you want your tattoo to look perfect, you’ll have to shave, no doubt!
To note: When shaving, you have to be very careful not to get cut by the razor. In the event of a cut or razor burn, your tattoo artist might not be able to tattoo properly. The needle cannot work on the cut, as it is considered an “open wound”. You may need to wait for the cut to heal completely before getting a tattoo.
So, will the hair grow back?
The aftermath of a tattoo
First, let’s take a moment to understand what your skin experiences after getting a tattoo.
In the early days, your tattoo will act like an open wound. The skin has been punctured thousands of times, continuously, so it’s only natural to treat it like a fresh wound. And the wound must heal.
At this point you will leave your tattoo to stay wrapped for the next day. It will ooze and leak, but that’s normal. The body gets rid of extra plasma and ink so the area can dry out and heal.
As the tattoo heals, the skin dries out and you will notice a new layer of skin forming. It is important not to pick or touch it, even if it itches and causes discomfort.
Once the tattoo has healed, you will notice that the skin returns to its usual appearance. It will become soft again and you will notice hair growth.
Now, depending on the area of the body, hair grows or does not grow.
If the area had no hair before the tattoo, it will not have any after the tattoo, as one might assume. Some people believe that healing tattoos promotes hair growth, but this is not true in cases where there was no hair in the first place.
But what about the areas where there was hair and you had to shave it? Well, a simple answer is; yes, the hair will grow back, regardless of the tattoo!
Hair may not grow as quickly as it usually would after a razor shave. The skin is damaged after the tattooing process, so the body first focuses on wound healing. Therefore, the hair growth cycle may be delayed for a few days in certain areas of the body. What we mean by this is the following;
If the tattooed area is very hairy, the hair may take some time to regain the hairiness and thickness of the hair it had before. On the other hand, if the tattooed area didn’t really have a lot of hair, you might notice an even greater delay in hair growth.
What about ingrown hairs?
Many people worry about a specific tattoo issue; ingrown hairs.
After shaving and getting a tattoo, is it possible to experience hair growth issues, as far as ingrown hairs are concerned? Well, the answer is yes and no.
Now, it is essential to understand that the tattoo ink is placed in the skin below the area of the hair follicles. This means that the tattoo itself will not be affected even if there was a problem with the ingrown hair.
However, we all know how annoying ingrown hairs can be. It usually causes some kind of local inflammation, becomes very irritating and uncomfortable. If this is the case, especially on a fresh tattoo, it is essential to refrain from touching and scratching the area.
This will only cause further problems with the skin and may affect the healing process of the tattoo itself. However, if your tattoo is completely healed and you are having an ingrown hair problem, feel free to treat the area, but avoid puncturing the skin to remove the hair.
If you are removing ingrown hairs, keep in mind that this can damage the tattoo, especially if you squeeze and scratch the area. There may even be permanent scarring and infection of the area.
So how can you prevent these issues from happening?
First of all, we recommend that you get your tattoo in a place with the least or no hair. Or, you get a tattoo where the skin is a bit thicker and has more muscle support.
The reason we recommend this is because thinner skin is more prone to ingrown hair issues. Where the skin is thinner, so is the hair in most cases. Thin hair has a harder time growing, so it gets stuck in the follicles and causes all sorts of problems.
The problem can also occur during the shave itself. If the razor shaves the skin against the direction of its growth, you are more likely to end up with ingrown hairs. Thus, it is essential to shave the hairs in the same direction in which they grow.
Also, the majority of tattoo artists tend to dry shave the designated area. This method of shaving can lead to razor cuts, razor burns, and ingrown hairs once the skin begins to heal. Ask your tattoo artist to shave the skin well (using a foaming shaving gel for example), or make sure to shave or wax before the tattoo session.
Will hair grow back after tattoo removal?
Another common problem with tattoos is hair growth after tattoo removal.
Now, since the majority of tattoo removal is done with lasers, we are going to focus on laser tattoo removal for this problem.
There is currently no indication that your hair will not grow back after laser tattoo removal is complete.. There are cases where the hair does not grow back as thick as before. And, some people have experienced hair loss in the treated area. Temporary hair loss has been reported, but it was rather a delay in hair growth; the hair grew back, it just took longer as the skin healed and recovered from the treatment.
However, since the laser is designed to target only the skin ink, it generally does not affect the surrounding area, tissues and hair follicles. So, even if there was possible damage to the hair follicles, it would be minimal, because the laser works quickly and the hair removal sessions are not long.
So, regardless of the circumstances, your hair will grow back after a tattoo, if the area was also hairy before the tattoo. If the area was hairless before the tattoo, it will remain so even after the tattoo. The body has its ways of functioning normally even after the skin has been damaged by the tattooing process. If your hair doesn’t grow back immediately, don’t worry. The treated skin needs some time to heal and as it heals the hair growth cycle will return to its normal biological rhythm.
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