Can Hair Grow Over a Tattoo?

A Person with Palm Tree Tattoo Holding a Skateboard

Yes, hair can grow over a tattoo. Hair follicles are present throughout the skin, including areas with tattoos. 

The ink that forms a tattoo lies in the deeper layers of the skin, specifically the dermis. However, hair follicles are in the upper layer called the epidermis. Consequently, the tattooing process does not affect the hair follicles themselves. Hence, you’ll see hair grow over a tattoo. Read on for tips on how to care for or remove hair over a tattoo.

The Best Way to Remove Hair Over a Tattoo

There are safe ways to remove hair from a tattooed area after it heals. Here are some common approaches:


It’s perhaps the most straightforward and temporary method. Further, it’s easy, and you can do it at home. You can use a razor or an electric shaver to remove hair from the tattooed area. Ensure it’s a clean, sharp blade to prevent irritation or nicks.


Waxing is a more semi-permanent solution than shaving, as hair won’t grow back fast since it removes hair from the root. However, waxing can be painful and may cause temporary redness or irritation.

Depilatory Creams

These are hair removal creams. They dissolve hair on the skin’s surface. Follow the product’s instructions carefully, and be cautious when using these products on or near a tattoo to avoid skin irritation.

Laser Hair Removal

It’s a more permanent solution than the three discussed above. This method uses lasers to target and damage hair follicles, reducing hair growth over time. Hence, consult a licensed laser hair removal technician for this option.


Electrolysis is another permanent hair removal method that uses an electrical current to destroy individual hair follicles. Like laser hair removal, it requires multiple sessions, and a licensed professional should perform it.

Threading or Tweezing

These methods are suitable for removing a few stray hairs or shaping eyebrows. As such, they’re not practical for larger areas.

Before choosing a hair removal method, consider factors like your pain tolerance, the size of the tattooed area, and your desired level of hair removal. Always follow aftercare instructions for your tattoo to ensure the hair removal process doesn’t irritate or damage the tattooed skin.


The presence of hair on or around a tattoo does not impact the appearance or integrity of the tattoo itself. However, it’s important to note that excessive hair growth or thick, dark hair can sometimes partially obscure the visibility of a tattoo if the tattoo design is intricate or contains fine details. In such cases, trimming or removing the hair can help enhance the tattoo.

Popular Questions about Hair on Tattooed Skin

Do tattoos stop hair growth?

No, hair continues to grow as it would since tattoos and hair growth are separate processes that do not interfere. The ink is injected into the deeper layers of the skin, while hair follicles are in the upper layers.

Can I shave over a tattoo?

Yes, it’s safe to shave over a healed tattoo. Shaving over a healing or fresh tattoo can be uncomfortable and may increase the risk of infection. After the tattoo has healed, you can shave as you normally would. Be gentle and avoid applying excessive pressure to the tattooed area to prevent irritation or damage to the design.

What happens to hair with a tattoo?

Hair in the tattooed area remains unaffected by the presence of the tattoo. The tattoo ink is deposited into the deeper layers of the skin, while hair follicles are closer to the surface. 

Is hair a problem for tattoos?

Hair itself isn’t a problem for tattoos, but the presence of hair in the tattooed area can make it more challenging to apply the tattoo and may affect the visibility of the design. Tattoo artists shave the area before tattooing to ensure a clean canvas and better visibility for their work.

After the tattoo is complete, maintaining good hygiene and removing excess hair can help preserve the appearance and clarity of the tattoo.

How do I know if a healed tattoo?

First, the tattooed area should no longer be red or inflamed, meaning the skin color and texture should match the surrounding area. Second, the tattoo should no longer feel warm to the touch; it should be at or near your body temperature.

Third, the scabbing and peeling process should be complete, and the tattooed skin should appear smooth and free of any scabs or dry, flaky skin. The healing process takes around two to four weeks, but it can vary from person to person and depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo. 

Should I shave before getting a tattoo?

Yes, shave before getting the area inked. Further, shaving prevents the tattoo needle from getting caught in the hair, which can lead to uneven lines or ink dispersion. Tattoo artists are experienced in this process and will often shave the area for you as part of their preparation before tattooing.

However, if you’re concerned about it or have sensitive skin, you can discuss the shaving process with your tattoo artist during your consultation.