Laser Tattoo Removal – The Technology
Laser Tattoo Removal is purely a cosmetic surgery. The main reason that lasers can be effective for tattoo removal is that different colors of laser light can be used to remove different pigment colors that might be embedded in the tattoo. The removal of different tattoo colors requires different colors and intensities of laser light.
The tattoo industry is standardized nowadays so that most tattoo removal practitioners understand which type and frequency of light is best suited to remove different colors from flesh. The easiest type of tattoo to remove from the skin is black ink. The most difficult color to entirely remove is green. The other colors fall somewhere in the middle range when it comes to difficulty of removal.
When the laser light hits the skin it causes the cells of tattoo pigment in the skin to shatter into smaller particles. These smaller molecules are more easily absorbed by the body and eliminated through the action of the immune system. Unfortunately, this may not be the most comfortable procedure that you have ever experienced. Many compare the sensation of getting tattoos zapped off their body to being spattered with bacon grease or being snapped repeatedly with tiny elastic bands.
Lasers that are used for tattoo removal emit short pulses of intense ultraviolet light. This serves to safely vaporize the top layers of the skin that may be pigmented with tattoo ink. Formerly microdermabrasion, a procedure that uses a gizmo that resembles a small hand sander was used to rough away the top layers of the skin and therefore layers of tattooed skin.
Laser tattoo removal is a much safer procedure that boasts a quicker rate of recovery. This is because a laser can target select areas of skin without damaging surrounding tissues.
Your doctor, aesthetician or tattooist may recommend that you take a painkiller of some kind before the procedure. However you will be advised to stick to Tylenol as aspirin and anti-inflammatory pills such as Advil can produce weeping wounds and bruising once the treatment is done.
There is no such thing as affordable laser tattoo removal. Laser tattoo removal cost is much more than a typical “salon” job. Hence, it is better to be cautious about making a permanent tattoo.
Laser Tattoo Removal Before and After- Aftercare
To relieve the physical discomfort of the sensation you may also be prescribed a topical anesthetic cream or lotion that must be rubbed in the area a few hours before the operation. This temporarily numbs the skin. Some plastic surgeons also offer an injection of local anesthetic into the area where the tattoo is to be removed however be forewarned that this type of pain management increases your chances of developing pin point bleeding during the operation.
Following the session, an antibacterial ointment and dressing is used to keep the area clean and protected. A shower or bath the day after treatment is okay, but the treatment area should not be scrubbed. Your skin might feel slightly sunburned for a couple of days and the treated area may remain red for a few weeks. The site might also form a scab, which should be handled gently. After healing, the site will gradually heal and the tattoo will start to fade.
The Real Picture
Another important thing to realize about laser tattoo removal is that the reduction of the color of the tattoo is not immediately apparent. Depending on how efficiently your immune system is it may take from a few weeks to a few months for you to see the fading of pigment or the disappearance of it altogether.
Also, it is very rare that a tattoo is entirely removed with just one treatment. The total number of times that you will have to return for repeat sessions with the tattoo removal laser depends on the type of ink that was used for the tattoo and how deeply the ink was injected into the skin. The complete elimination of a tattoo can be a very slow process as you must wait three weeks between each laser treatment. It usually takes about three weeks for the pigment cells to be replaced with fresh skin.
Laser Tattoo Removal – Risks and Side Effects
There are side effects and risks to laser tattoo removal. Due to a reaction in your skin cells the entire area may simply turn one color. You could also end up with a bleached or lighter patch of skin. Another danger is infection but if you follow your doctor’s post-operative care instructions your risk of developing an infection after laser tattoo removal is less than 5%.
As laser tattoo removal is considered to be a medical procedure, your first choice of practitioner should be a dermatologic surgeon who specializes in tattoo removal. Tattoo parlors may also offer tattoo removals. Two sources of dermatalogic surgeon referrals are the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgeons.