When thinking about or preparing for tattoo removal, it’s important to know what to expect from start to finish. And one of the most important things to consider is the healing and recovery process. While there isn’t really any “downtime” per se, there are some steps you will need to take to help protect your skin and maximize your tattoo removal results. Specifically, you may need to briefly modify your workout habits after a laser treatment. Here’s what you need to know about exercise and tattoo laser removal.

How Your Skin Heals

Your skin is the utmost and first layer of protection from infection, injury, and environmental risks. Keeping it healthy and intact helps it to function at its best. So it may seem counterintuitive when you realize that tattoo removal, by design, creates hundreds to thousands of tiny wounds within your skin to remove unwanted tattoos. 

While different laser technologies go about this in different ways, they all involve delivering targeted, high-power energy into your skin tissue to break down the ink material. But their different approaches can create a greater risk for additional or surrounding tissue damage which could impact your recovery time. 

For example, consider the Quanta Q Plus C v Picosure Lasers. The Quanta Q Plus C delivers photothermal, or heat-based, laser energy to target different ink colors and depth levels in billionths of a second. While effective, the use of heat can increase the risk of unintended or excess tissue damage, potentially causing more inflammation or swelling. In contrast, the Picosure uses a photoacoustic, or ultrasound-based, laser energy to bust up ink into tiny particles. Using an alternative energy to heat creates less risk for additional, avoidable injury to the skin.

Regardless of your laser tattoo removal approach, some amount of skin tissue damage or breakdown can be expected. And even with controlled or planned wounds like those created by laser tattoo removal, your body has to go through its natural healing processes so that it can resume its protective functions. That’s why giving yourself adequate rest and avoiding exercise as recommended is so important for tattoo removal healing. While your specialist will go over specific recommendations, some things that generally promote healing include ice, ointments, and rest to reduce swelling, calm inflammation, and avoid excess blood flow.

Exercise and Its Impact on Skin Healing

In general, exercising is extremely beneficial to your health. Tons of research has shown that regular physical activity can boost your immune system, natural healing processes, brain health, and longevity. This is because exercise promotes blood flow and delivers nutrient-rich blood to areas to promote healing. 

However, when there is an acute injury (like skin tissue damage from laser energy), exercise can actually decrease or delay healing. After a laser removal treatment, exercise can prolong and increase swelling at the laser treatment site because of the micro-trauma that has occurred in the skin. Instead of the usual long-term benefits, the additional blood flow created by exercise can create excess swelling and inflammation which works against the healing process.

Balancing the benefits and potential risks of working out is important to maximizing your skin healing. Avoiding exercise for a short time allows your body to focus its energies on its natural recovery process to maximize your tattoo removal results. To manage or avoid excess swelling, consider avoiding exercises 24-48 hours after a treatment. This may vary based on the size and location of the tattoo removal site. Your specialist can give you more specific advice during your appointment.

Tips for Safely Exercising After Your Laser Treatment

Though the effects of laser treatment are very minor, the body’s skin healing process will continue internally for a few weeks after treatment. With that in mind, you still want to be mindful of your exercise routine and consider making some small adjustments to your routine even after that initial 24-48 hours of rest. Here are some tips for you to think about when planning your workouts while in the middle of the laser tattoo removal treatment process.

  • Gently clean the area after working out. Use warm water and a mild cleanser, apply ointments as recommended, and ask your provider about specific cleanser recommendations if you are unsure.
  • Avoid excessive friction. Modify your workout activities or ask your specialist about how to securely cover the treatment site for exercise.
  • Consider where you are exercising. Avoid direct sunlight and avoid excess heat. You may want to opt for an indoor gym, early morning workout, or a shaded area when exercising.
  • Adjust your workout schedule. Work out before your treatment session or adjust your week so that your rest/recovery day falls after your last removal appointment.
  • Regularly check your skin to monitor for signs of excessive activity. keep an eye out for blistering and any persisting or worsening redness, tenderness, or swelling.
  • Stay hydrated and eat well. While hydration and nutrition are important for physical fitness, they are also incredibly important for skin healing. Pay extra attention to drinking enough water during your recovery, especially after being physically active.

And finally, the most important tip of all is to remember that this isn’t forever. These changes are short-term, minimally invasive, and easy to accommodate into your daily routine. This short-term adjustment can make a huge difference in accelerating healing and realizing your ideal tattoo removal results.

Ask Ink-B-Gone: Your Tattoo Removal Experts

In general, laser tattoo removal will likely have little to no impact on your active lifestyle. Any changes that are recommended are very short-term and ultimately benefit your tattoo removal results. As you decide you’re ready to get rid of your unwanted ink, an experienced tattoo removal professional can help you make plans for adapting your workout plans during the recovery period.

Our Ink-B-Gone team is proud to help our clients see the results they want while still living a life they enjoy. During your initial appointment, our experts can give you specific treatment recommendations and information on what to expect for your unique post-treatment needs.

To learn more about our ink removal services and how we can support you, schedule a free consultation today. Be sure to follow our socials to stay up-to-date on our offers and services.