Hurts So Good? The Strange World of Laser Tattoos

guy getting laser tattoo

Image from Imgur

When you think of lasers and tattoos, you probably think about tattoo removal. For most people, the lasers are a way to remove an old tattoo (which is a more expensive alternative to simply having the original tattoo altered).

However, a few brave souls have tried using a laser to give themselves a tattoo. So, is this a new trend that will be sweeping the world? Or just a terrible idea that no one should try?

Keep reading to discover the answer!

How Does It Work?

laser engraver machine

Image from Instructables

Before we dive further into the guide, it’s important to understand how a laser tattoo actually works. It turns out that this process is really straightforward.

To start, a person would need access to a laser engraver. These are the same kinds of machines used to engrave logos on corporate products.

This means you can load tattoos of various sizes and complexity into the computer and then have the machine laser everything onto your flesh. There is no ink involved in this process: it’s all lasers, all the time.

Sound crazy? There are actually some interesting benefits to this approach.

What Are the Benefits?

laser robot tattoo

Image from Instructables

One of the big benefits to some people is this is a complete DIY project. Assuming that you have access to a laser cutter, then you don’t need to hire a tattoo artist: a computer upload and some lasers can help to etch almost any image on your body.

The process is also very quick. If you dread the idea of sitting for a long time and getting a tattoo, it’s easy to see why this would be so attractive.

Finally, there’s a certain novelty factor to the whole process. The best tattoos have great stories behind them, and this makes for a hell of a story!

What Are the Drawbacks?

laser tattoo scar

Image from Instructables

As you might imagine, there are some drawbacks to a laser tattoo. The first is the pain factor: while not everyone can handle tattoo needles, a laser is literally burning your flesh into patterns. This is more painful than the traditional approach, especially if you want solid images.

The smell is also pretty bad. Before the tattoo is complete, you will know what burning human flesh smells like. That alone can be a real deal breaker!

Depending on your skin and engraver settings, your flesh might end up peeling right off. This kind of defeats the purpose of getting a tattoo in the first place.

Finally—and maybe this goes without saying—this is very dangerous. Small mistakes in the settings of the laser cutter can lead to terrible pain and scars.

Laser Tattoo: Our Verdict

laser skull tattoo

Image from Instructables

So, what’s our verdict on the idea of a laser tattoo? It’s complicated.

On one hand, we love the intersection of technology and tattoos. Things like Soundwave tattoos and motion tattoos show how we are still learning to push boundaries when it comes to getting inked.

On the other hand, this is more like mutilation than a tattoo. You go through a lot of pain and danger to end up with a simple tattoo that has no real art or inspiration behind it.

Think of it this way: corporations use these engravers to mark their products. And the last thing you want to do is feel like another corporate cog!

Final Thoughts

Now you’ve learned a bit more about the weird world of laser tattoos. If you want to stay on top of the latest (and sometimes weirdest) tattoo news, be sure to bookmark Tattooing 101 today!

Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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