Laser Tattoo Removal – is it for me?

By 7 June 2017 Articles & Media

How does it work?

We use Q-switched Laser technology to remove tattoos by breaking up the pigment particles with a high-intensity laser beam. Black tattoo pigment absorbs all laser wavelengths, making it the easiest colour to remove and other colours can only be treated by selected lasers based upon the pigment colour.

The number of treatments needed will depend on several factors including the age of the tattoo, size, and pigment colours used, depth of the pigments and your individual skin colour.

Laser tattoo removal is uncomfortable, but most patients apply a topical anaesthetic prior to their appointment.

Immediately following the treatment, use an ice pack to soothe the treated area. And apply an antibiotic cream or ointment and bandage to protect it. You should also be sure it’s covered with sunblock when you’re outside.

How do I prepare for a Laser Tattoo Removal?

Set your expectations

At Dermology we offer complimentary laser tattoo removal consultations whereby we will run through all the information you will require to make an informed decision. It is important to dedicate to your removal sessions and realize that it may be slow process. You need to understand that not all tattoos may be completely removed due to the above mentioned factors.

Downtime

The “downtime” between treatments is a key factor. Doing another laser tattoo treatment too soon can increase the risk of complications. Our recommended treatment intervals are strictly six weeks.

Location of your tattoo

The location of your tattoo may affect the healing and fading responses. Tattoos on the lower extremities generally heal and fade slower as they are further away from the heart.  The closer the tattoo is to the heart, the better circulation and therefore better results.

Professional vs. amateur tattoos

The success of tattoo removal depends largely on the tattoo itself. The colours used and how deep the ink is embedded are two major considerations. The pigment of professional tattoos is placed deeper into the skin at uniform levels, which can make it easier to treat but they are also more saturated with ink, which is a significant challenge as larger molecules of pigments may be more difficult to break down. Amateur tattoos are often done with an uneven hand, which can make the removal challenging as pigments are placed at different levels within the skin, but overall they are easier to remove due to poorer ink qualities.

Be prepared for potential side effects

Laser treatment is often safer than many other tattoo removal methods, such as excision, dermabrasion, or sal-abrasion because the laser energy is specifically absorbed by the pigment in the tattoo. Some side effects include:

  • Initial swelling, redness and sensitivity of the tattoo. This may last up to 72 hours.
  • Your tattoo site may be at risk for infection if proper aftercare is neglected and there may be a slight chance that you will have a scar, depending on your genetics.
  • A blister may form over the tattoo site. It is very important to not pop the blister and protect the skin as much as possible. Usually blisters do not leave any permanent skin damage if undisturbed.
  • There have been cases where the tattoo has not been completely removed. In many cases, certain colours may be more effectively removed than others. Dark blue and black tattoos respond the best to laser removal treatment and yellows and greens have a poor response to the removal process.
  • Hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation is always a risk. Hypopigmentation is a lightening of the skin that has been treated and hyperpigmentation leaves the affected skin darker than the untreated areas due to oxidization. The skin may be restored over time or with other treatment intervention but will be discussed should you cross that bridge.
  • Permanent make-up tattoos such as lip liner, eyeliner, and eyebrows may actually get darker after tattoo removal treatment.

Call us today to schedule your appointment