Lasers are the most common method of tattoo removal performed today. Tattoos consist of thousands of particles of tattoo ink suspended in the skin. The normal human immune system typically removes small foreign particles from the skin. Tattoo ink particles are too big to be removed by this system and are thus considered permanent. The use of lasers helps to break up these particles into smaller pieces that can be removed by the immune system.
Laser treatments work by targeting the ink particles in the skin with highly concentrated light waves that heat up the ink particles and cause them to fragment into smaller particles that are able to be cleared away by the body's immune system.
Complete removal of a tattoo is not accomplished in one laser treatment session. Laser tattoo removal typically requires multiple treatments to reduce the size of the ink particles and make it easier for them to be dispersed by the immune system.
Depending on the tattoo design, size and color, it may take 8-12 laser sessions (if not more) to remove the ink. Some colors of ink are harder to remove than others and may not be able to be completely removed. There should be a six-eight week time period between each laser session to allow the wounds to heal and the body to absorb as much of the ink as is possible.
Laser tattoo removal is somewhat painful. Many patients describe it as having a heavy rubber band snapped against the skin repeatedly or being continuously struck by bacon grease. Topical skin numbing medications can be used. Most of the time laser tattoo removal is tolerated very well.
After the procedure the patient will have an open wound that will need to be taken care of. Typical post procedure care of the wound includes cleaning it with soap and water daily, applying antibiotic ointment to the wound and then keeping it covered with some type of dressing until it is healed. Typically, healing is complete around five days after the procedure is done.
Other methods of tattoo removal are more invasive than laser removal and are therefore less commonly performed today. These methods include dermabrasion, chemical peels and surgical excision of the tattoo.
Follow these guidelines unless your laser technician directs otherwise.
Following the consultation, if we determine you are a good candidate, we will proceed with treatment. Your laser technician will begin by asking a few pertinent questions about your recent health history to ensure there are no contraindications for treatment. The technician will discuss your treatment desires and at that time you can specifically let us know what tattoos you would like to treat. The treatment area will be cleansed and prepared for treatment. Your technician will talk you through the treatment to ensure you won’t experience any surprises.
While receiving laser tattoo removal, you will be required to wear protective eyewear. You may still be able to see a flash of light, but your eyes will be completely covered. The laser technicians wear protective eyewear, as well. During the treatment, all areas of the body that will not be lasered will be covered with clothing. Only the areas to receive laser treatment will be exposed. We are always mindful of your comfort and your peace of mind; we will let you know ahead of time what to expect.
The treatment can be performed in as little as 15 minutes, depending on the size of your tattoo and type of ink that was used. Most patients compare the treatment discomfort as comparable to when they got the tattoo. Following treatment you may feel a little discomfort, but generally people experience redness, mild swelling and/or tenderness in treatment area that will resolve in a quick manner. The post treatment area response will vary from patient to patient depending on the extent of treatment.
Can All Tattoos Be Treated? We can treat professional and amateur tattoos. It is possible to treat cosmetic, traumatic and medical tattoos, along with genital tattoos. However, we do not feel that there is enough consistent data to prove that it’s safe. There is no one laser that can effectively treat all tattoos. At Laser You Lovely, our tattoo removal laser provides our clients with FDA approved technology that will effectively and safely treat tattoos of the entire color spectrum on patients of all skin types.
Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt? The degree of discomfort varies with each person depending on the nature and location of the tattoo on the body. Most patient’s feel that it is comparable to getting the tattoo in the first place. Patient’s report that the discomfort is well worth the results!
How Many Treatments Will I Need? The number of treatments will depend on how large the tattoo is, what inks were used, and how deep the tattoo was inked into the skin. On average, patients will need 8–12 sessions for complete removal.
How Often Can Treatments Be Performed? The frequency of your tattoo removal appointments will be based on clinical judgment. For most patients this ranges between 8-12 weeks.