Seen at Zoom: This Body Treatment Destroys a Tattoo in Seconds

August 11, 2020

Seen at Zoom

We love a great tattoo. And if you're over shaving and waxing, laser hair removal is a great option. But a recent case at Zoom made it clear that these two great things do NOT go great together. Spread the word, before someone else gets hurt.

What happened

A person came to ZOOM+Care Super Clinic with a shoulder tattoo that looked like it was gouged by a lightsaber — which wasn’t far from the truth.“This individual was getting laser hair removal, and the technician ran a laser over a tattoo,” says Mark Zeitzer, MD, Practice Lead and ER Physician. “The result was a second-degree burn.”

Why it happened

“Hair removal lasers target pigment, not hair, so tattooed skin absorbs a laser’s energy extremely fast,” says Dr. Zeitzer. “A hair removal laser should never, ever come in contact with tattooed skin.” Heads up: You don't need a tattoo to get burned. It’s up to your technician to set the laser at the correct intensity based on location of the hair, skin and hair color, and several other factors.

How not to have it happen to you

If you’re inked and planning laser treatments, find a technician who has worked around tattooed skin before — and who covers your art completely before a procedure. Ask if they’ve dealt with burns before, and what protocols they have in place.

Wait… what about your tattoo?

Whether your tattoo can be fixed depends on how your skin heals. “A scar should be at least a year old before you consider tattooing over the area, and you should have it evaluated in person by an experienced artist at a reputable shop,” says Kirsten Holliday, an artist at Wonderland Tattoo in Portland. “Beware of any artist who tells you over the phone that they can fix your tattoo without examining the location or texture of the scar,” adds Holliday.“Some scarred skin can't be covered up.”If you're burned badly by a laser (or anything else), the ER docs at Super Clinic treat non-life-threatening emergencies without the ER wait.{Photo by Annie Sprat, via Unsplash]

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