Can You Tan After Laser Tattoo Removal? Safe Timing

Can You Tan After Laser Tattoo Removal

With tattoo regret becoming more common, laser tattoo removal has grown in popularity over the past decade as the go-to solution for unwanted ink. But when planning your laser treatments, can you tan safely between sessions? Or does UV exposure risk healing and results?

The short answer is: You should avoid sun tanning or sun burns for 1-2 weeks after laser tattoo removal treatments. Tanning too soon risks serious skin irritation, burns, blisters and potentially permanent scarring or discoloration.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • The timing on when it’s safe to tan after laser removal sessions
  • Protecting newly lasered skin from sun damage
  • Self-tanning as a safer alternative to UV tanning beds
  • Caring for skin during the healing process
  • How many laser sessions it takes to fully remove tattoos

How Long Should You Wait to Tan After Laser Tattoo Removal?

Dermatologists typically recommend waiting at least 1-2 weeks after each laser session before tanning or extended sun exposure. This gives your skin enough time to heal without putting it at risk.

During laser treatments, a targeted laser beam passes through the outer layers of skin, focusing heat energy on the tattoo ink trapped in the dermis below. This heat breaks the ink into tiny fragments small enough for your body to absorb and flush out naturally.

Pro Tip: Multiple laser sessions are needed because it takes time for the body to fully clear all ink particle debris through the lymphatic system.

This laser process can cause redness, swelling, blisters, scabbing and an open wound where the tattoo was targeted by the laser. If exposed to UV rays too soon, you risk severe burns, infection, scarring and hyperpigmentation (skin discoloration).

Let your skin fully heal first before tanning or burns can result. The general advice is to wait at least 10 to 14 days as a safety buffer between laser session and UV exposure.

So in summary:

✔️ Wait 1-2+ weeks after each laser treatment session

✔️ Avoid pools, hot tubs, excessive sun during healing

✔️ Once healed, use SPF 30+ to tan safely

Why Sun Exposure Right After Laser Is Risky

It’s tempting to want to show off your fading tattoo as soon as possible after laser removal sessions. However, this puts newly lasered skin at great risk:

UV Exposure Risks Right After Laser:

  • Burns, blisters and scabs on treated area
  • Increased chance of infection
  • Scarring damage and hyperpigmentation
  • Prolonged healing and interrupted results

Skin needs time to recover after being superficially wounded from laser treatments. UV rays slow the healing process which is why doctors advise staying out of the sun entirely for at least 5-7 days. The cumulative damage from repeat sun burns after every laser session can also cause permanent skin texture changes and discoloration. Essentially, you jeopardize your desired removal results by not protecting your skin early on. Follow all aftercare guidance to properly heal.

Using Sunless Self-Tanners After Laser Treatments

To safely achieve a glow post-laser without UV exposure, using self-tanning lotions or spray tans is your best approach after the treated area fully heals.

Here are some tanning by air tips:

✔ Wait 1-2+ weeks until skin is fully healed

✔ Exfoliate first so self-tanner absorbs evenly

✔ Apply self-tanner sparingly on treated area

✔ Test a small patch first to check for reactions

This avoids subjecting freshly lasered skin to the dangers of UV beds. Read application directions carefully and do a small test area first.

Caring for Skin During Healing Period

Proper aftercare is critical for protecting treated skin and optimizing laser removal results over your series of sessions. Here are some top sun safety tips:

🔸 Avoid direct sun exposure on treated areas

🔸 Wear wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves outside

🔸 Apply broad spectrum SPF 30+ frequently

🔸 Stay extra hydrated, moisturize skin 2x daily

🔸 Avoid swimming pools, beaches, hot tubs

Take aftercare guidance very seriously after each session. Let your body focus energy on healing itself first before taxing it with UV exposure.

How Many Laser Sessions to Fully Remove a Tattoo?

The number of laser treatments needed varies widely for full tattoo removal based on:

⛓️ Ink color – black easiest, bright colors hardest

⛓️ Tattoo size – the larger, the more sessions

⛓️ Location on body – ink on extremities simplest

⛓️ Your skin tone – paler skin speeds up fading

⛓️ Type of laser – some remove faster

But on average, you can expect 6 to 12 sessions spaced 6 to 8 weeks apart for complete removal. You’ll notice fading gradually from each successive treatment. Any residual pigment can be zapped with additional spot treatments. Be patient through all phases of laser removal, letting your body fully recover between sessions. Avoid shortcuts that could risk complications.

Opt for self-tanners over UV exposure during your treatment journey for the best end results.

In conclusion

let your body focus on healing for 1-2+ weeks after getting laser work done before sun exposure. Avoid tanning beds entirely and use reputable self-tanners once fully healed. Be vigilant about SPF and aftercare to finish your removal journey strong.

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