We all have qualities we don’t like about our skin, whether it has the dryness of the Sahara Desert or it breaks out into a mountain range of acne at the mere mention of oil-based makeup, but few skin woes are as noticeable as a tattoo you dislike. Pieces of art (be they on your body or on a more traditional canvas) are made to stand out, which is great when you want to show them off, but if your tattoo starts to clash with your changing fashion sense, it can be quite the downer. Though other removal methods have been put to the test over the years, laser tattoo removal has emerged as the gold standard for wiping out unwanted ink. If you’re considering bidding farewell to your tattoo, doing your research is the first step toward making the best decisions for your situation, and the facts below can get you started on the right track.
Fact #1: The laser doesn’t extract the ink from your skin. Tattoos are permanent because they use insoluble ink which is injected into the dense middle layer of your skin. Lasers break apart the ink particles so that they are small enough for the body’s natural healing response to absorb and discard them.
Fact #2: Some colors are more difficult to remove than others. The laser targets the pigment in the ink. Because black pigment attracts all wavelengths of light, it’s the easiest color to treat, while green is typically more difficult. That’s why we use the latest laser technology, allowing us to remove even multi-colored tattoos more thoroughly.
Fact #3: Not all tattoo removal lasers are safe for all skin types. It’s important to go to a practitioner who is highly experienced in laser tattoo removal, and who has the right types of lasers available. At Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center, our tattoo removal lasers are safe for all skin types.
Fact #4: Every patient has their own unique tattoo removal regimen. Thorough removal of a tattoo can take anywhere between three and ten sessions, allowing several weeks between treatments to allow your body to absorb and eliminate more ink. Your tattoo removal experience will depend on your score on the Kirby-Desai Tattoo Removal Scale, which considers factors like the size, color(s), location, and age of the tattoo, as well as several features of your skin.
Fact #5: You’ll see changes in your tattoo between each session. Because tattoos are layered, lasers can’t safely remove all the ink in one session, but every treatment will break down more and more ink. That’s why you’ll notice your tattoo getting lighter between each session.
Fact #6: There is a risk of complications, but there are steps you can take to minimize this risk. As with any laser treatment, tattoo removal can cause pigmentation changes (either dark spots or light spots), and there’s also a chance of blistering or bruising. But these complications are very rare if you stick with a qualified and experienced medical professional like our staff at Laser Lights, where we’ve been administering laser tattoo removal for sixteen years. Following pre- and post-treatment instructions (like protecting yourself against the sun and avoiding certain medications) will also minimize your risks.
Fact #7: Not everyone is a good candidate for laser tattoo removal. While most people can safely have their tattoos removed with laser treatments, the procedure is typically not recommended for those with weakened immune systems, or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Fact #8: Stay away from do-it-yourself tattoo removal kits and creams. As the FDA has warned, these products often use chemicals or methods that are dangerous and can lead to serious infections and unsightly scars. Plus, there’s no evidence that these at-home kits are even effective, so there’s a significant risk that you’ll find yourself with health complications, scars, AND that unwanted tattoo.
Fact #9: There are more laser tattoo removal patients than you might think. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, who annually studies a number of both cosmetic surgeries and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, over 33,000 laser tattoo removal treatments were performed in 2014 alone in the US.
Fact #10: Laser tattoo removal is a minimally-invasive procedure which requires little or no downtime. Most patients can return to their work or other daily activities right after treatment, although every patient is unique and many will experience mild discomfort for up to two days after the treatment.
At Laser Lights, we make sure to give each patient specialized care and to tailor their treatments to their specific needs, which means that laser tattoo removal looks different for every patient. So, you might ask, how do you know what to expect? The first step toward any tattoo removal process is a consultation with our experienced medical staff who can examine your tattoo, discuss your needs, and design your personal treatment plan. To get started, schedule a consultation at Laser Lights. Or, for more helpful tips and information about the many cosmetic procedures we offer, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.