Tattoos can look amazing and can be a valued symbol of a previous time in your life. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, as people get older, they find that their tattoos don’t mean as much to them.
And some even act as an unwelcome reminder of things you’d rather leave behind. If this happens to you, it’s time to learn more about laser tattoo removal. To help with that, here are the 10 most common questions from tattoo removal patients.
1. How does laser tattoo removal work?
The Picosure laser delivers specific wavelengths of light to the tattoo, using different wavelengths for different colors. This shatters the ink into small pieces. Because the light is so precise, the damage to surrounding tissue is minimized.
The ink breaks down into micro-particles, which are then removed from the body through natural processes. This takes several weeks, which is why your laser tattoo removal treatments will be spaced several weeks apart.
After each treatment, you will notice that your tattoo is lighter as the ink particles are shattered and carried out of your body. And eventually, there’s no more ink remaining in the tissues and the tattoo is gone.
2. Does it hurt?
Yes, there is some pain associated with the procedure. In fact, many people compare it to actually getting the tattoo in the first place. Obviously, the amount of pain you experience will depend on your body and on your pain tolerance.
But most people get through the process with some help from skin numbing interventions. Some of the most popular and effective include:
- Ice packs
- Local anesthetic injections
3. How long will it take?
The amount of time that your laser tattoo removal will take can vary depending on its size, colors, location, and age. You will probably need several sessions, spaced 6 weeks apart, to allow for proper healing.
If you want a more accurate estimate, it’s recommended to get an assessment of your tattoo from your tattoo removal specialist. A typical tattoo will take 6 –8 sessions, 6 weeks apart.
4. What factors can affect the laser tattoo removal process?
There are several factors that will affect the laser removal process including the following:
- The age of the tattoo
Older tattoos are generally easier to remove.
- The colors in the tattoo
Some colors are easier to remove than others. For example, black is the easiest to remove whereas red and yellow are more difficult and require specialized wavelengths.
Remember white can’t be removed at all! However, the latest Picosure laser technology means that even the most stubborn colors can eventually be removed.
- The density of the ink
If you have a tattoo but don’t know a lot about them, then you probably don’t know that the density of the tattoo ink is different for each tattoo.
Some tattoos have a very high ink density and others contain shaded areas where the density is quite low. The former takes longer and are more difficult to remove.
- The location
The further your tattoo is from your heart, the longer it will take to remove. That is, tattoos on your fingers and feet may take slower than a tattoo on your chest.
5. Will it leave a scar?
You shouldn’t be left with any scarring from the laser tattoo removal process. As long as you follow the aftercare instructions completely, the area should heal without any problems. However, often the laser removal process reveals hypopigmented areas from the tattoo removal process.
6. Are there any side effects?
You will experience some mild side effects with laser tattoo removal. Most of the time, the side effects are very similar to those you probably experienced when you got the tattoo.
The area will be red and swollen. It may also bleed or blister a bit. Make sure you take care of the site as you’re directed by your Doctor and the side effects should clear up in a couple of days.
7. How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
The cost will vary depending on the size of the tattoo, its location, the colors it contains, and how many treatments are needed to remove it.
Talk to your Doctor to learn more about the price per session with a formal quote.
8. Can part of the tattoo be removed so it can be redone?
Yes, your laser specialist can remove just part of the tattoo so you can have it redone so it’s more to your liking.
This is a very common request when people have a name tattooed under an image and want the name removed and the image changed so it looks like the name was never there.
It can also be used to clean up the image if it ended up too large or doesn’t look right on the body.
This demands a very precise and experienced hand to do properly, so make sure your laser specialist has the right amount of training and experience before they do this type of procedure.
Also, ask them for tattoo artist recommendations if you don’t have one in mind as they will probably be aware of artists who can redo your tattoo properly.
9. What happens after the procedure?
After your laser tattoo removal procedure, you will need to take care of the site for up to 8 weeks while it heals and your body breaks down the dislodged ink. Caring for the site is similar to caring for a new tattoo, so make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions.
10. Can a new tattoo be placed where the old one was removed?
Yes. Once the area has completely healed, you can get a new tattoo put over the spot. Laser tattoo removal usually eliminates about 95 percent of the tattoo, so putting a new one over it will completely eliminate any remaining signs of it.
So if you’re looking to get rid of a tattoo, talk to your laser specialist today to find out if the procedure is right for you.