Ask Laser Lights: Does Home Tattoo Removal Work?
Tattoos are meant to be permanent, and for some, that’s the appeal – the idea that a piece of artwork will be with them forever. But the unfortunate aspect of this is that it isn’t uncommon to find yourself unhappy with your tattoo years down the line, and when this happens, that permanence makes them rather difficult to get rid of. Laser treatments have emerged as the most effective and minimally invasive option available, but especially for patients with large or colorful tattoos, the idea of several treatments spread out over the course of months can send them searching for a quick fix instead. There are kits and instructional videos available for at-home tattoo removal, but are they really a good idea in the long run?
One of the most important facts you need to know about home tattoo removal kits is that they are not regulated by the FDA. This essentially means that they have not been proven to be reasonably safe, and the claims they make have not been evaluated for accuracy. Most of these methods involve strong acids, which can burn and damage your skin, or creating an open wound, which leaves you vulnerable to infection. Laser tattoo removal, on the other hand, is FDA-cleared (although it is only safe when performed by an experienced medical professional).
Just as the FDA has not approved the safety of any at-home tattoo removal kits, they have also not witnessed any clinical evidence that these methods are effective. In many cases, if your tattoo does disappear, it is replaced by a scar caused by the damage that was done to your skin throughout the process, and this can be just as noticeable and unsightly as the tattoo you were trying to remove in the first place.
While do-it-yourself methods, kits, and creams aren’t the best way to get rid of an unwanted tattoo, it’s important to note that not all laser tattoo removal treatments are created equal, either. Here are a few tips to helping your tattoo removal process go as smoothly as possible:
- Ask for the qualifications of the medical professional administering your treatment. Skill does make a difference in your results so make sure you’re working with someone who’s experienced in this specific procedure and who is licensed to work with medical lasers.
- Look for a facility that specializes in cosmetic laser treatments. Lasers are powerful medical tools, so make sure you stick with a dedicated and reputable facility, particularly one that is involved in the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).
- Ask about the equipment which will be used. Tattoo removal lasers have come a long way, and the newest lasers can remove tattoos more thoroughly and in fewer treatments than their older counterparts, so make sure the facility isn’t using outdated equipment.
- Start with a consultation. Every tattoo is different, and your removal process will be affected by your tattoo’s size, age, location, and coloration, as well as your own unique skin. Before you make assumptions about the process ahead of you, schedule a consultation at Laser Lights to discuss what you should expect.
- Follow all your provider’s instructions before and after each laser treatment. Lasers and sun exposure are not a good combination, for example, so follow your instructions closely regarding skincare, medications, and other actions that could affect your results.
Like many other cosmetic treatments, proper tattoo removal takes time. While a “quick fix” can sound appealing, it also comes with a significant risk to your health and your appearance, and the simple fact is that if there truly was a convenient, safe, and effective method, laser treatments would not be the generally accepted standard for tattoo removal. To begin discussing what your laser tattoo removal process would look like, schedule a consultation with us. Or, to stay up-to-date on our latest announcements and special offers on tattoo removal and other cosmetic treatments, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.