Removing Tattoos? Here's What To Expect
Got a tattoo years ago and regret it now? Thanks to technology these days, unwanted tattoos can be removed – but keep in mind that some tattoos can be harder to remove than others, as a number of factors come into play.
So if you’re looking to remove an unwanted tattoo or even if you’re thinking of getting one, it’s good to keep following issues in mind.
Laser treatments are the most effective tattoo removal method.
There are multiple ways to remove a tattoo: laser treatments, surgery or dermabrasion (in which the tattooed skin is shaved down, allowing the tattoo ink to leach out of the skin). Laser treatments generally tend to require the least downtime and have more predictable results.
What happens during a laser tattoo removal session? A topical numbing cream is first applied to the tattoo to ensure that your treatment will be as comfortable as possible. Our patients generally report that the laser treatment itself feels like a warm prickly sensation – and very tolerable.
First, how is there a commitment requirement for laser tattoo removal? It is because of the time it takes for the body to fade the ink and the amount of effort that must be put in in order to assist the body in that removal process. First, keep in mind that tattoos fade over time, regardless of any laser treatment. A newly applied tattoo or even one that is just a few years old does not look like ink that was applied two or several decades ago. This fading has to do with the body’s response to ink being in the skin, in general. Tattoo pigment or ink is a foreign property in the “eyes” of the immune system. So, as the immune system is made to do, it will try its best to remove that foreign substance or object.
How do laser treatments remove tattoos? A tattoo is made up from ink pigments being injected just beneath the top layer of your skin. Essentially, what happens is that the energy pulse from the laser shatters the tattoo pigment into smaller fragments, just like how a sugar cube disintegrates into smaller grains. Your body then naturally flushes away these smaller ink fragments, causing the tattoo to fade slowly over time.
Why does this take so long? Well, the laser’s job is very quick. Literally seconds or a minutes – a fraction of the time it took to get the tattoo in the first place. It’s the body’s work – the flushing away or removal of the ink particles – that takes the time. It will not take centuries, but the body takes its time to get rid of ink. If your tattoo removal treatments are spaced one to two months apart, the body will remove the ink during that wait and for many months beyond.
*Depending on the size and colour of the tattoo, multiple laser sessions are recommended.
Some colours can be removed more easily than others.
Take note: green and yellow tattoo inks are the hardest to remove, while black tends to be the easiest!
This all boils down to how much light energy a colour can absorb. The light energy from the laser will be directed into the skin at a certain wavelength – the better the colour is able to absorb the energy, the more it will shatter into smaller fragments, making it easier for your body to dispose of.
The location of your tattoo also matters!
It has been debated that the closer the tattoo is to your heart, the better the circulation, and the easier it is for your body to remove disintegrated ink fragments once your tattoo has been treated by the laser, hence the faster the tattoo tends to fade.
That said, it’s no surprise that ankle tattoos tend to be one of the hardest to remove.
There might be some temporary side effects.
Some of the potential side effects include swelling and redness, which should subside within 1 – 2 weeks for most patients. Other side effects, but less common, include either the darkening or lightening of the skin, but this usually corrects itself within 6 – 12 months.
Don’t worry about scarring – scarring from a tattoo removal laser is quite unlikely, as the laser does not penetrate the skin deeply enough to cause a scar, and the laser energy pulses delivered into the skin precisely target the tattoo ink pigments while leaving surrounding tissue intact.
However, if you have a history of keloid scarring, it is something worth bringing up to your esthetician. But more often than not, any scarring that occurs is due to pre-existing scarring – scarring that occurred when the tattoo was originally applied by the tattoo artist.
For more information on our laser tattoo removal treatments, call us on 087 959 4799, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at 6 Arundel Square, Waterford City.
We provide honest advice, quality care and affordable prices.