We all have features of our appearance we wish we could change, some of which we’ve had since birth and others which are a tad more self-inflicted. But thanks to modern technology, many of our cosmetic hang-ups can be addressed in a minimally-invasive way, like wrinkles, age spots, unwanted hair, freckles, birthmarks, and even tattoos. And while tattoo removal has come a long way since the days when surgical excision was the only option (especially in the case of the highly advanced laser technology we use for tattoo removal at Laser Lights), there are some steps you can take to make sure you get the safest and most effective results possible.
- Try not to develop expectations before your consultation. Your tattoo removal process depends on a number of factors, from your tattoo’s color(s) to its age to its location on your body. At your consultation, one of our experienced providers will be able to tailor a treatment plan to your needs, so try to avoid the thought process of, “my friend’s tattoo removal only took two sessions so that’s probably what mine will require, too.”
- Stick to your recommended schedule. Laser tattoo removal is a process. At each session, the laser breaks down more and more of the pigment into smaller particles which your body can gradually get rid of through its natural processes. At Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center, our experts will design a treatment plan that includes a recommended number of weeks between your sessions in order to give your body time to eliminate the ink as you go along. Scheduling your appointments as consistently with the recommendation as possible (and keeping your appointments) can help you maximize your results and minimize your risk for complications.
- Avoid certain medications, like pain relievers other than acetaminophen. Some medications can thin your blood and make you susceptible to bruising, so follow all your pre-treatment instructions to a T.
- Plan ahead to maximize your comfort. While laser tattoo removal treatments aren’t unbearable, there are steps we can take reduce the sensation, but it’s best to plan ahead. Numbing cream, for instance, requires a little time to take effect, so discuss your options at your consultation.
- Stay out of the sun. Like any laser treatment, laser tattoo removal can cause unintended changes to your skin color if you expose the area to the sun before or after each session. Follow your pre-treatment instructions about how and when to protect your skin, and consider planning your appointments during the fall and winter, when you tend to spend less time in the sun anyway.
- If you have a tan, wait for it to fade before seeking treatment. A tan is an indication that your skin has been exposed to and sustained some damage from sunlight (or from indoor tanning), and this can cause unhappy side effects when combined with laser treatments, so let your skin return to its natural color before you start the tattoo removal process.
- Choose your treatment provider carefully. There’s been a concerning trend emerging of professionals with little or no laser experience offering a variety of laser procedures. Before you start your tattoo removal regimen, do some research and make sure you’re visiting an experienced professional at a facility who specializes in laser treatments. These procedures depend strongly on the skill of the person administering them, so don’t leave your skin in inexperienced hands. One helpful trick is to look for their certifications and the professional organizations they participate in, such as the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, which we’re proud to be a part of.
Getting great tattoo removal results is a combined effort. The professional administering the treatment needs to be knowledgeable and experienced, and the laser needs to be up-to-date and safe, but the patient also plays a role. To get started on the road to tattoo-free skin, keep these tips in mind and schedule a consultation at Laser Lights. Or, to learn more about laser tattoo removal and the many other aesthetic services we offer, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.