After getting a tattoo on one of your body parts, such as your chest, that requires you to remove thick hair to make the tattoo visible, you may consider using a hair removal cream. Also called depilatories, these creams are safe to use on your tattoos, if you follow the manufacturer's instructions. The chemicals in a hair removal cream dissolve the hair on the epidermis, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A healed tattoo resides below your epidermis--in the dermis. Therefore, it's not affected by a depilatory.
Wait to remove your hair until your tattoo is completely healed, which typically takes approximately two weeks. A healed tattoo will be rid of scabs, redness, swelling, and shiny, pink skin. If you're not sure, ask your tattoo artist if your tattoo is healed.
Perform a patch test with your depilatory. Squeeze a dime size amount of the cream onto a cotton swab. Apply the cream to an edge of your tattoo outline. Choose a spot that is hidden if possible, such as the inside of your arm, if you have a sleeve tattoo.
Leave the cream on your skin for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer. Rinse the cream off with cold water. Examine the skin and your tattoo where the cream removed the hair, looking for blisters or burnt skin. Wait 24 hours to ensure that an allergic reaction to the cream does not occur.
Apply the removal cream to the hair covering your tattoo in sections with a cotton swab. Start on the left side of the tattoo and move toward the right. Cover the hair on and around your tattoo completely with the hair removal cream.
Wash your hands immediately after applying the cream. Set a timer for the recommended amount of time, making sure not to touch the cream while you wait.
Dampen a tissue with cool water after the timer goes off. Apply the tissue to your skin, removing the hair removal cream by pushing against the pattern of your hair growth. Wipe the cream off your tattoo until the cream is no longer visible.
Rinse your skin with cool water. Moisturize your skin with a fragrance-free lotion to avoid irritation.
Trim down long hair with clippers or scissors before using the hair removal cream.
Wear a pair of latex gloves to protect your hands while using the hair removal cream.
Never use hair removal creams near or in your eyes, nose, mouth or genitals.
Never apply hair removal cream more than twice to the same area within 48 hours.