Is it safe to have laser tattoo removal while pregnant? This is a common question asked by mums-to-be and worried loved ones unsure about the risks associated with laser tattoo removal during pregnancy.
So what’s the answer?
The short answer is that the risk to your baby’s health with laser tattoo removal is low, with no research to suggest there’s a risk. However, it isn’t 100% impossible for laser tattoo removal to be unsafe for you or your baby. For the risks explained below, we do not perform laser tattoo removal on pregnant women.
With laser tattoo removal, the risk of infection is extremely low. Everybody is different, and your skin may react differently to laser tattoo removal than a friend. Your skin may blister or crack, and if this happens, the risk of infection increases and any infection must be dealt with quickly with the aid of your GP. Remember though that following laser tattoo treatment the skin will immediately whiten and swell. This is perfectly normal and a sign that your body has already started the healing process.
The biggest risk with laser tattoo removal while pregnant is not the same risk that applies to having a tattoo done; dirty needles. Dirty needles are the biggest infection risk with tattooing with dirty needles being a cause of HIV and other blood-borne diseases which can be passed onto an unborn child.
The biggest risk factor to consider during pregnancy is photosensitivity. During pregnancy, the skin becomes more sensitive to light and therefore more susceptible to react to laser light. There is an increased risk of scarring and pigmentations on photosensitive skin. It is for this reason alone, we do not treat pregnant women.
Interestingly, there is little research with regard to the risk of chemicals from ink dyes affecting the growth of an unborn child. Laser tattoo removal breaks down ink particles which are then removed by the cells of the immune system. This process is quick, but without further research into the effects of laser tattoo removal and ink particles, we’re unable to give a verdict on whether this is safe during pregnancy.
What if I found out I was already pregnant after having laser tattoo removal treatments?
Don’t worry. There will be no or minimal risk because lasers only cause superficial burns to your skin and no chemical or creams are involved. Chances are that you will be in the earlier stages of pregnancy when the risks are extremely low and the ink particles are also completely dispersed from your skin within 4 to 8 weeks.
In conclusion, we advise to delay your laser tattoo removal until 3 months after pregnancy when your skin will have returned back to normal. It is safer to stay on the side of caution and after all, you and your baby’s health are more important than rushing to remove an unwanted tattoo.