If you got a tattoo years ago that no longer looks pleasing or you regret your decision to get some ink, the good news is that laser tattoo removal can help you get rid of your tattoo. Here are seven things you should know about this treatment.
Black may be the darkest, but it is the easiest tattoo pigment color to erase. Lasers work by breaking up pigment colors using an intense light beam. Black pigment absorbs all wavelengths of the laser. All other colors need to be treated by certain lasers.
The technician will test your skin’s reaction to the laser to determine the exact treatment you need. The laser passes pulses of intense light through the top layers of your skin. The pulses will be absorbed only by the tattoo pigment.
Treatment is uncomfortable but manageable. A topical numbing cream may be applied to the skin depending on the location of the tattoo. You’ll be advised to place an ice pack on the treated area for relief. You’ll also have an antibiotic cream and bandage to protect the treated area.
Take care of the treated area in the sun. Make sure you cover the skin with sunblock whenever you’re outside. Also avoid sunbathing and tanning before and after treatment.
What are the side effects? The treated area is at risk of infection, blistering and scabbing. There is a slight change there will be a permanent scar or that you will end up with hypopigmentation, where the treated area is lighter than the skin surrounding it. Hyperpigmentation is another risk, as cosmetic tattoos such as lipliner and eyebrows can get darker after treatment.
Will the tattoo be completely erased? Black and blue tattoo ink respond the best to laser treatment and fade the most, but some colors may not be completely removed. Professional tattoos usually require 6-10 treatments for maximum results.
You may need several treatments to remove a tattoo. The depth of penetration of ink, color, density, your immune system and ability to heal, skin type and tattoo location all impact how many treatments you’ll need. The color of your skin also affects how well the treatment works. Your tattoo should become lighter after each treatment.