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Laser Tattoo Removal: Benefits, Risk and Procedure

Posted by Ann V. On 2017 Nov 26th

Laser Tattoo Removal: Benefits, Risk and Procedure

Laser tattoo removal is the last resort to get rid of the unwanted tattoos. Being the first timer to the process, you like to know about the process and complications related to laser tattoo removal. Here we have answered such queries.

No one wants to end up with tattoo regret. Sadly, tattooing also include this risk factor, especially in case of permanent tattoo. 25% Americans admitted that they have a regret of getting a tattoo.

You may get a poor design that will surely traumatize you later. Or the tattoo of your lover’s name can become the painful reminder after your breakup. Tattoos are also problematic if your workplace is strict about body arts. Sometime, you want to change your old fashioned tattoo design. In above mentioned cases, you might be looking for something that can help you get rid of your tattoo.

And if you want to get rid of it quickly, laser tattoo removal is your answer.

Laser tattoo removal is an efficient way to get your tattoo erased. Here we have explained about the procedure, benefits, expectations and risk associated with the laser tattoo removal.

Let’s start with the process first to understand how it works.

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

Laser tattoo removal is not a magic. It is a process which involves the use of laser beams to remove the ink from the skin. Generally, an ultra-short pulse lasers or Q switch lasers is emitted at the skin, which is very intense and directed in narrow frequency. The ink particles are broken down with this speed and intensity of the laser beams.

However, this is not an overnight process as it requires you undergo multiple sessions depending on your age and ink pigmentation. Smaller tattoos will need fewer pulses while larger ones will require more to be removed. After each session, your tattoo should become significantly lighter.

What to Expect from Your Laser Treatment?

Whereas tattoos are removed by the lasers, there are some factors that decide at which rate the tattoo will be removed.

  • Fitzpatrick skin type
  • Tattoo layering (if the tattoo is a cover-up)
  • Location on the body
  • Ink colors
  • Amount of ink (vividness of tattoo, if it was professionally applied)
  • Pre-existing scarring

It Takes Multiple Sittings:

As you have read in the previous point how tattoo removal is determined by several factors. This is why a clinic may not guarantee you a complete tattoo removal. Some tattoos start fading after some sessions and may leave a cloudy impression of the tattoo. Generally, you are required to attend six to 10 treatments to see a significant removal of tattoo from your body. In some cases, that number can be higher. There will be a gap of four to six weeks between the sessions.

It May Be Painful:

Laser tattoo removal is not a breeze, especially if you have a low pain threshold. This is because of the intense laser beams that fall on the skin rapidly. Many people have reported that they felt like as if they are being scratched by cat while undergoing the treatment. On the top of that, there are multiple sessions to face.

This is why a laser practitioner will recommend you a numbing cream. A numbing cream is a topical anesthetic that dulls the pain receptors which leads to the desensitization of the skin. This way, you don’t feel the effect of laser beams on your skin. Dr.Numb® is a popular numbing cream for all laser treatments including laser tattoo removal. It contains 5% lidocaine and keeps your skin dull for couple for hours. Use the cream an hour before the process.

It is Costly:

Laser tattoo removal can be ten times expensive that the cost of tattooing. Therefore, you should shop around to get it on the reasonable rate. However, if you are getting good services, you shouldn’t mind paying more for that.

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cause Side Effects?

Laser tattoo removal is safe and efficient, as long as you get it done from a certified professional. Besides, you are required to follow the aftercare regimen after laser tattoo removal. Having blisters and scabbing on that spot is natural during the healing process. Common side effects during laser tattoo removal are swelling, blistering, scabs, hyperpigmentation, bruising and redness.

However, these are common undesirable effect and will go away.

Follow Aftercare Instructions:

Aftercare is essential to take care of your skin after the laser tattoo removal process.

  • For the first 24 hours after treatment…
  • Apply ice compresses to the area to get relief
  • Use aloe vera gel to minimise warmth, irritation and itchiness
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure. Use sunblock
  • Don’t use steam rooms or hot tubs for some time
  • Avoid swimming in pools and ocean for some time
  • Keep your treatment skin well moisturized
  • Don’t pick on the scabs. Blisters can take 1-2 weeks to be healed
  • Contact physician or your laser practitioner in case of experiencing swelling, unusual pain, fever, discharge and excessive redness.

Pre-Treatment Instructions (2 to 4 Weeks Before) are also important:

Whether you are going for the very first time or the next schedule, make sure to follow the pre-treatment precautions which are…

  • No sun exposure
  • Avoid depilatories
  • Shave off the hair from the area to be treated

Side Effects Associated with Laser Tattoo Removal:

Laser tattoo removal is safer than most of the processes like excision, dermabrasin, and salabrasion. However, there may be a few complications stemming from laser tattoo removal like…

  • Infection at the treated side.
  • Risk of scarring.
  • Hyperpigmentation—meaning that your treated skin looks paler than the surrounding skin.

Bottom Line:

Laser tattoo removal is an effective and safer method to go for. However, it is done with laser beams which break the pigments. Then, you have to set realistic expectation from the treatment. Besides, stick to the precautions suggested by the practitioner to avoid complications.