Getting a tattoo is serious business and should be treated as such but sometimes that is not the case. We have all been guilty of taking a hasty decision once or twice in life and like almost all hasty decisions, we regret it later on. An unwanted tattoo is also one of them.
There can be a lot of reasons for an unwanted and bothersome tattoo- a failed relationship, an unfaithful partner, changed lifestyle, changed circumstances and sometimes that reason can be as inane as getting a tattoo while drunk; which we all agree is not the best time to make serious decisions or to make any decision for that matter.
15 Things You Should Know Before Laser Tattoo Removal
Whatever may be your reason for no longer wanting that tattoo, laser tattoo removal is widely considered as the most effective and safe technique for removing it. But there are still so many people out there who are not at all satisfied with their attempts to remove tattoos using laser technique.
The reason for this is, not knowing what exactly a laser tattoo removal technique involves. So if you are also thinking of going through a laser tattoo removal, you should know the following 15 things.
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Works?
Laser tattoo removal is based on a technique known as selective photothermolysis. In this technique laser beams of a certain wavelength are targeted on the ink particles. The wavelength of the laser beams must fall inside the absorption spectrum of that particular tattoo pigment. The tattoo pigments, in turn, absorb the laser light which causes its temperature to increase.
This increase in temperature does not cause any harm to the tissues due to the fact that it is transformed into a shockwave which causes the pigment particles to disintegrate which are then removed through the natural elimination process of the body and that is how laser tattoo removal works.
How Successful Is Laser Tattoo Removal In Removing Tattoos?
Before you proceed with laser tattoo removal process, you must understand that there are no guarantees in it. Your tattoo may get completely removed using laser tattoo removal or it may not fade completely and leave a ghost image behind. There can be raised scarring as well.
So it is actually a good idea to decide beforehand whether you are okay with your tattoo not fading completely or would you rather do a cover up.
Are There Different Kinds Of Laser Treatments For Tattoo Removal?
For effective laser tattoo removal, different wavelength laser light should be used to break different colored ink pigments. To that end, it is better if you opt for a laser that offers different wavelength light.
An alternative method is to use a combination of laser treatments to effectively remove the tattoos. Even though modern laser techniques for tattoo removal have greatly improved, it will still take multiple sittings to effectively remove your tattoo.
Is Laser Tattoo Removal Process Painful?
Even though laser tattoo removal process is painful, the intensity of pain depends both on the laser power as well as pain threshold of the person undergoing the treatment. Some people describe it as extremely painful while the others call it bearable.
Whatever may be your pain threshold, the intensity of the pain will definitely increase as the laser is turned up. Topical pain relief creams and injections can definitely help in decreasing the pain of laser tattoo removal to some degree.
How Many Sessions Are Required For Tattoo Removal Using Laser Technology?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question. Number of sessions for laser tattoo removal cannot be predetermined and totally depend on the size, depth, color and location of your tattoo as well as the type and color of your skin.
You should talk to your technician before going through the process. They usually tell you that it can take anywhere from 6 to 10 treatments but you should be aware that the number of sessions can be much higher than 10 for effective laser tattoo removal.
How Long Is The Waiting Time Between Two Laser Tattoo Removal Sessions?
Usually the waiting period between two sessions of laser tattoo removal is at least 4 weeks. But it differs in people having sensitive skin or any other problem related to skin. In those cases the time period can be 6 to 8 weeks.
If the person going through laser tattoo removal is experiencing some problems like redness, swelling, irritation and open wounds, this waiting period can get even longer. This waiting between sessions is a must due to the fact that skin needs some downtime for recuperation and effectively removing the pigments from the body using the body’s natural elimination process.
Does Location Of The Tattoo Matters For Successful Laser Tattoo Removal?
This answer may sound surprising to you but yes, the location of the tattoo does matter for successful laser tattoo removal. The closer the tattoo is to the heart, the easier it is to remove.
This is because of the circulation of the blood. The blood circulation slows down as you move farther from the heart, thus making effective laser tattoo removal harder. Therefore it is harder to remove hand and ankle tattoos then it is to remove chest and shoulder tattoos.
Which Tattoos Are Easier To Remove Using Laser Tattoo Removal- Professional or Amateur?
Well, to answer this question- both of these have their pros and their cons as far as laser tattoo removal is concerned. Amateur tattoos are generally easier to remove as they are not as saturated with ink and the ink quality is also not that good but they are also not evenly applied, which can make them particularly challenging to remove using laser technology.
On the other hand, professional tattoos have deeply embedded high quality ink which makes them difficult to remove using laser but they are also evenly applied which can make them somewhat easier to treat.
Does The Color Of The Tattoo Matter For Its Successful Removal Using Laser Technology?
Yes, the color of the tattoo matters for its successful laser removal. As surprising as it may sound, the darker pigments are actually easier to remove than lighter hues. Also fluorescent and pastel pigments which contain titanium dioxide are especially difficult to remove.
Do Side-Effects Of Laser Tattoo Removal Differ In Different Complexions?
Yes, dark complexion may prove to be a problem during laser tattoo removal. This is because people with darker complexions tend to experience a side-effect of laser tattoo removal known as Hypo-pigmentation.
The reason for this is that lasers tend to remove pigments from darker skin along with the removal of ink pigments leading to hypo-pigmentation. Though this risk can somewhat be minimized by taking proper precautions.
Can Tattoos Get Darker After Undergoing Laser Tattoo Removal Process?
Tattoos which are made with inks containing iron or titanium dioxide tend to get darker after the initial laser tattoo removal sessions. However, this effect is usually temporary and starts fading after some sessions and treatments.
But you should prepare yourself for having an even darker version of your tattoo in the meantime.
What Are The After Effects Of Laser Tattoo Removal?
You may experience some problems immediately after laser tattoo removal which can include formation of blisters around the tattoo, redness and skin inflammation, temporary darkening of tattoos, irritation around the area of tattoo and sometimes pinpoint bleeding. The skin where the tattoo is placed may get raised as well.
These symptoms all resolve themselves in a couple of weeks but you should consult your doctor if these problems persist past a few weeks.
What Are The Side-Effects Of Laser Tattoo Removal?
One of the more permanent side-effect of laser tattoo removal is scarring especially keloids. Other side-effects include burns and infections which can be cured with proper treatments.
One other problem that people find particularly bothersome is hyper-pigmentation and hypo-pigmentation of the skin which refers to skin darkening and skin lightening respectively. These side-effects usually resolve themselves with time mostly within a year.
How Expensive Is The Laser Tattoo Removal Process?
The cost of the laser tattoo removal process depends on the size of the tattoo and number of laser sittings required. Usually the price is determined per square inch of tattoo per sitting.
The rate can also depend on the expertise of the technician or doctor that is performing the laser tattoo removal process as well as the cost and quality of the laser machine that is being used.
What Can You Do Before Going Through Laser Tattoo Removal?
Before you go through laser tattoo removal process, you should consult your doctor as well as talk to the technician or doctor that you are planning on hiring for tattoo removal. Do not hesitate to ask them anything that may be weighing on your mind. You should also talk to them about their previous clients that underwent laser tattoo removal process and their success rate. Getting a look at their before and after photos may also be a good idea.
Now for the last piece of advice, when going through laser tattoo removal; it is actually BEST to choose the BEST!