Laser tattoo removal is your solution for something you think is already permanent in your skin, but in fact, it can be undone. Having a tattoo that you don’t want to have any more can be taken care of with this laser procedure. Doctors and healthcare providers would suggest this tattoo removal method for those who wish urgent results. This method is safe but may also have side effects. Let’s discuss some of you need to know about laser tattoo removal.
Tattoos and Tattoo Removal
Considered an ancient art, tattooing is the practice of putting a “tattoo” on one’s body. This word is derived from “tattau,” a Tahitian word meaning “to mark.” Nowadays, nearly half the millennials, or those born between the years 1981 to 1996, have at least one tattoo.
While in recent years, tattoos have become quite popular, a similar number of people seeking their removal has also risen, according to the American Society for Dermatological Surgery. Tattoo removal reasons range from job or lifestyle changes or simply because they no longer like their tattoo.
But here’s the catch: removing a tattoo is far more complicated than applying one. Because tattooing uses permanent ink granules that are injected and applied below the skin’s surface, this laser therapy will usually take a couple of sessions of laser tattoo removal to do the trick.
Procedure and How It Works
Laser tattoo removal is a bit of a trend nowadays. The Spectrum laser used for this procedure offers two (2) different wavelengths:
- The 1064nm – reduces or removes most dark-colored tattoo inks.
- The 532nm – reduces or removes the most vibrant colored tattoo inks.
Other bits of information about the Spectrum Laser are as follows:
- Targets those tattoo pigments present in the epidermis and the dermis
- The Spectrum Laser “fractures” the tattoo pigments into particles that are small enough to be removed by macrophages from the treatment site towards lymph nodes Q-Switched Nd: YAG Mechanism
- The Spectrum gets attracted then interacts with the particles of the tattoo ink.
- The Spectrum Laser uses high-intensity photo-acoustic shock waves that shatter the tattoo ink and turn it into tiny fragments.
How It Works
Laser tattoo removal uses laser beams that are concentrated bursts of energy and heat the ink beneath the skin. It then breaks this ink into smaller particles. Take note that tattoos with different colors might require the use of multiple lasers operating simultaneously at different frequencies. However, those ink particles that are pretty smaller can then be naturally eliminated by the body’s immune system.
Laser Tattoo Removal: FAQs
“Is it painful?”
Laser tattoo removal on people who have reported different discomfort levels. Some felt the same, like getting a tattoo. Some have likened it to the sensation felt when a rubber band gets snapped against your skin.
“What can I expect?”
The frequency of laser tattoo removal treatments depends on the size and color of your tattoo; hence, it will vary from others. Doctors may remove tattoos in only three (3) to eight (8) visits, but sometimes more. For this instance, scheduling a consultation with a trained professional will evaluate your situation and inform you of the process afterward.
“Why does it need more than one session?”
The application of tattoo ink is made in layers, so it would take more than one session to remove them. Laser tattoo removal breaks the ink pigment into smaller particles, then takes some time between your sessions for the body to naturally flush out the ink. In addition, your skin also needs a fair amount of time to heal since laser treatments potentially cause swelling, blistering, and or even temporarily alter your skin’s color.
“What aftercare do I need?”
Right after your treatment, soothe the treated area with an ice pack. Your doctor will tell you also to apply topical antibiotic creams or ointments. Using a bandage or a patch is a must in protecting the treated site. Shower the following day, but remember to avoid scrubbing the affected area. This treated area should also have cover or protection from the sun, like sunscreen. Avoid scarring by not picking at the area affected.
“What are its benefits?”
Here are some of the benefits people cite about laser tattoo removal:
- Outpatient basis of procedure, without the need to stay overnight.
- Reduction of scarring and infection risks.
- Generally safer compared to other options.
“What are the possible side effects?”
Laser tattoo removal done by a reputable professional or by your doctor will have at least minimal side effects. However, consider the following factors that can help you in your decision:
- Infection can happen in the tattoo removal site.
- Permanent scarring is a possibility even in the slightest of chances. In instances, permanent scarring has been known to happen within the next three (3) to six (6) months after the procedure.
- Skin discoloration is possible to some degree. The skin treated may become paler than the surrounding skin (hypopigmentation). Or it can also be the other way around – darker than the surrounding skin (hyperpigmentation).
- Cosmetic tattoos like lip liners, eyeliners, and eyebrows tend to get darker after the first few laser treatments. Additional treatment may be necessary for achieving that desired fading.
In addition, never attempt and try removing your tattoo yourself or use any home remedies for your tattoo removal. Chances are, at best, it will be ineffective. But worst, it could become a danger to your health.
Tattoo removals are done at tattoo parlors or spas, although perhaps safer compared to home remedies, still possess some risks. Consult only a trained dermatologist that better considers your health in general and responsibly guides you more towards the safest treatment plan for you.
“Is it safe?”
Thanks to today’s technology, the treatment of tattoos like laser tattoo removal using laser systems have become much more efficient and effective. Assuming you have a reputable provider, scarring can be a minimal risk. Laser treatments are usually the safer route than many methods used before, like excision or dermabrasion. Laser treatments work on the pigments. However, excision cuts out tattoos using a scalpel or surgical knife, while dermabrasion involves sanding off the tattoo areas with tools applied on the upper layers of skin.
Remember that everything listed today about laser tattoo removal is a piece of general advice and should never replace the guidance your doctor gives you. Details about your specific case involve a talk between you and your doctor. So, if need be, give them a call right away. Laser tattoo removal is the revolution towards a safer and much effective way of removing unwanted tattoos.