If you have tattoos already, you will notice that occasionally (depending on the location), the tattoo artist will shave the area beforehand. Regulars will not even blink at this step, but if you’re new to the tattoo world, then you’re probably wondering if this hair will ever grow back?
Hair can grow through tattoos. Tattoo pigment is deposited in the dermis layer of the skin, which is the same location as the hair follicles. However, hair follicles are somewhat deeper than where the tattoo pigment suspends, so this will not affect hair growth.
If you’re concerned about your tattoos affecting your hair growth and are trying to find answers, then look no further! Read on to find out all you need to know about tattoos and hair growth!
Can Hair Grow Through Tattoos?
Yes, hair can and will grow through tattoos. If you have just had an area shaved and tattooed, then do not worry because the hair does grow back normally. You’re probably confused about how tattoos do not affect hair growth, so let me explain.
Firstly, it’s essential to know that the skin is made up of various layers. Using a diagram of the skin, you will b see that the epidermis layer is the top layer of skin and beneath it is a layer known as the dermis layer. The dermis layer houses various things, but the hair follicle is one of them.
When you receive a tattoo, the pigment is injected under the epidermis layer and into the dermis layer. As you’ve just learnt, this is the exact location of the hair follicle. So how does the ink not affect hair growth?
The hair follicle is in the same area of the skin, but it is located much deeper in the dermis layer when compared to the location of the tattoo pigment.
A tattoo artist uses a needle to puncture the skin and push the tattoo pigment into the dermis below the epidermis. Looking at this diagram, you can see that the pigment suspends towards the top half of the dermis layer, unlike the hair follicle, which is in the lower half of the dermis layer.
Therefore, neither the needle puncturing the dermis layer nor the ink itself will disrupt the natural hair growth.
It’s important to know that the healing of a new tattoo may disrupt hair growth while the body focuses on healing the wound. However, after healing is complete, all hair growth will return to normal functioning.
Hair Growing Through Tattoos: Ingrown Hairs
If you have recently received a tattoo, you may have noticed an ingrown hair or two sprouting in the tattoo area. Ingrown hairs are relatively uncommon but can happen, although this is not due to the tattoo itself.
If you place your tattoo in a particularly hairy area, the tattoo artist will likely ask you to shave beforehand or shave the area for you when you arrive.
Shaving is the most likely cause of ingrown hairs, and this is most likely the cause of the ingrown hair on your tattoo. It is highly unlikely that the tattooing process caused this ingrown hair as the needle itself does not reach the hair follicle.
Please note that if you do have an ingrown hair that has sprouted over a new tattoo, it is best to leave it for now while the tattoo heals. Scratching it, picking at it or generally irritating the area could lead to you damaging your tattoo. Fading or distortion of the tattoo may happen.
If your tattoo has healed and you still have ingrown hairs, you may go ahead and treat them, but it is best to leave them alone initially to prevent any damage to the tattoo.
Removing Hair Over A Tattoo
A common concern with tattoo lovers is that their hair will grow back and ruin the aesthetic of their new tattoo. Depending on you as an individual, you may be hairier or less hairy. Those on the hairier side tend to want to remove hair covering a tattoo to improve the tattoo’s look.
You can remove hair covering a tattoo, but this needs to be done carefully and not while the tattoo is still healing. For all the below hair removal suggestions, please ensure that your tattoo has completely healed beforehand.
Removing Hair On A Tattoo: Shaving And Waxing
Shaving is a great start to removing hair that is covering your tattoo. It’s quick and straightforward, so you can see a change immediately. It’s also a great idea if you are unsure whether the hair makes a difference to the tattoo appearance. It allows you to quickly shave and immediately see if you want to seek a more permanent option.
Shaving is safe to do when you have a tattoo and will not affect the tattoo itself whatsoever.
Waxing is great for removing hair on a tattoo as it lasts longer than shaving but can be pretty painful to do, depending on the area you are waxing. Waxing usually needs to be done once a month; however, this can vary depending on individual hair growth.
Removing Hair On A Tattoo: Electrolysis
Electrolysis is the way to go if you want a more permanent solution. Again, this will not affect the appearance of your tattoo in the slightest.
Electrolysis is a procedure that destroys the hair root and therefore prevents the hair from growing back. The only issue with this procedure is that it can become quite costly as you will most likely have to go for a few sessions before the hair root is completely killed.
If the hair really bothers you, then saving some money and going forward with electrolysis is a great long-term solution to hair growth over a tattoo compared to shaving or waxing.
In conclusion, hair can grow through tattoos. The tattooing process will not interfere with the hair follicles in the dermal layer, and therefore hair will grow naturally through the skin. There could be a delay in hair growth while a tattoo is still healing, but hair growth will return to normal afterwards.
Furthermore, ingrown hairs are caused by shaving the hair before getting a tattoo and less commonly due to the tattooing process. However, if you are someone who wants to permanently remove their hair growing on a tattoo, then electrolysis is the way to go!
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):