Tattooing is an ancient art. The word comes from the Tahitian word tatu, meaning “to mark”. It is estimated that over 25% of the American population has tattoos, and nearly half of millennials have tattoos. Despite the growing popularity of tattoos in recent years, according to the American Academy of Dermatologic Surgery, the number of people seeking tattoo removal has also increased. Reasons for removal include job or lifestyle changes, or because they no longer like the tattoo. But here’s the problem: because the permanent ink particles in professional tattoos are injected just below the surface of the skin, removing the tattoo is more complicated than putting it on. It usually takes several laser treatments to get there. Read for more information
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How effective is laser tattoo removal?
The laser beam uses concentrated bursts of energy to heat the ink under the skin and break it up into smaller particles. Different colored tattoos may require the use of multiple lasers operating at different frequencies. The body’s immune system can then naturally remove these smaller ink particles.
Will laser therapy completely remove my tattoo?
Your tattoo may not be completely removed, which is relatively common. Some tattoo ink colors are resistant to laser removal, while some are too dark to reach with currently available lasers. Some colors may be easier to remove than others. Blue/black tattoos respond particularly well to laser treatment because they absorb light better. The reaction to other colors is being studied.
Does laser tattoo removal hurt?
People who had their tattoos removed reported varying degrees of discomfort. Some say it feels like a tattoo, while others compare it to the feeling of having a rubber band against your skin.
Depending on the location of the tattoo and your ability to tolerate pain, you may want to use an anesthetic such as a topical cream or a local injection.
How can I find a doctor to remove my tattoo?
If possible, get a referral from your GP to a dermatologist who specializes in tattoo removal.
What can I expect during laser tattoo removal?
Depending on the size and color of the tattoo, the number of procedures will vary. Your tattoo can be removed after three to eight visits and sometimes more. Schedule a consultation where a trained professional will assess your situation and advise you on the process. Laser therapy varies from patient to patient depending on their age and the size and type of tattoo. It is also important whether the tattoo is used by an amateur or a professional. Your skin color and the depth of the tattoo pigment in your body can also affect the removal technique.
In general, this happens when you use the latest generation of lasers for tattoo removal during an office visit:
You will wear safety glasses.
Test your skin’s reaction to the laser to determine the most effective treatment energy. The treatment itself consists of placing the phone on the surface of the skin and re-activating the laser on the surface of the tattoo. Smaller tattoos require fewer pulses, while larger tattoos require more. In both cases, tattoos require multiple treatments and multiple visits. After each treatment, the tattoo should become lighter.
Why does laser tattoo removal require more than one session?
Professional tattoo artists apply the ink in layers, so it takes more than one session to remove it. Because the laser breaks up the pigment in the ink into smaller particles, it takes time for the body to flush out the ink. Your skin also needs time to heal, as laser treatment can sometimes cause swelling, blistering and temporary skin discoloration.
What kind of aftercare should I expect if I have laser tattoo removal? Immediately after treatment, an ice pack will be used to soothe the treatment area. You will be asked to use a topical antibiotic cream or ointment.
Use a bandage or patch to protect the area.
You can shower the next day, but it’s best to avoid scrubbing the affected area. Sunscreen should also be used to cover or protect the treated area while in the sun.
This area should not be harvested as it is more likely to leave scars. risk/reward
Who can benefit from laser tattoo removal? Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine the best way to remove the tattoo. In the past, tattoos could be removed in several ways, but many of them left scars. Some people find scars less attractive than the tattoos themselves. If your tattoo has been treated by other methods, you may benefit from laser therapy. These treated tattoos may respond well to laser treatment as long as there is no extensive scarring. People who have had laser tattoo removal cite the following benefits:
The intervention can be performed on an outpatient basis without the need for an overnight stay. This reduces the risk of scarring and infection. This is generally safer than other options.