Whatever your reason may be for removing a tattoo, laser procedures are the most common and effective method for erasing the ink.
Before laser tattoo removal, your skin will be evaluated as to condition and color. Also you’ll be given protective eyewear to shield your eyes from the laser light. We may recommend oral pain medication or a topical anesthetic cream before treatment.
How Laser Tattoo Removal works
The laser device fragments the ink with short pulses of intense, concentrated laser light. The method of delivery and the wavelengths used are designed to target only the tattooed pigments, without affecting the surrounding pigments and layers of skin.
Passing through the surface layers of your skin, the light is absorbed by the tattooed pigments, causing them to break into smaller particles. Your body’s immune system then removes the fragmented tattooed particles. And because your immune system works best in areas of greater blood circulation, ink can be removed faster in those areas. Thus, it’s more difficult to remove tattoos in the hands and feet, where there is less circulation.
Tattoo removal may require anywhere from one to fifteen laser treatment sessions, each treatment lasting only a few minutes, with four- to eight-week intervals between each session. Each treatment penetrates a little deeper, removing more ink and leaving the tattoo progressively lighter.
Best Candidates for Laser Tattoo Removal
The best candidates are people with a fair to medium-light complexion who have darker ink tattoos applied sparsely and close to the skin surface. The laser light seeks contrast to target the appropriate pigments, so the greater the contrast (dark ink on light skin), the more effective the removal process and the fewer sessions needed.
You should keep the treated area elevated to avoid swelling, and to avoid the sun, as your skin will be extra sensitive to sun damage. You may feel a slight sunburn sensation for a couple of days and have redness for a few weeks.
Possible Side EffectsSide effects of laser tattoo removal are rare, but may include blistering, infection, loss of skin color, or scabbing. If scabbing occurs, it usually subsides within two weeks. In most cases, skin returns back to normal. With advances in laser technology and better methods, scarring has become very rare.