The appeal of a tattoo can fade sometimes, but unlike temporary tattoos, permanent ink won’t wash away after a few scrubs in the shower. If your tattoo doesn’t match who you are anymore, laser tattoo removal can be a safe, effective, and non-invasive way to get you feeling great in your skin once again.
How does laser removal work?
Pulsed laser energy targets the pigmented cells, heats the ink within the cells, causing it to break down into smaller particles. Your body then absorbs the tiny particles and flushes them out through your body’s immune system.
Since tattoos aren’t made in a single standard ink, the colors and methods used in tattooing can vary to help add to their color and clarity. This means the number of treatments required for tattoo removal will vary from not only patient to patient but also tattoo.
It is important to note that not all colors and ink types are broken down equally or fade at the same rate. Certain colors fade faster, while others may require multiple sessions to produce your desired results. During your consultation, we will discuss what results you can expect from our treatment options.
Is the treatment painful?
Laser tattoo removal can be slightly uncomfortable and painful. Though each person’s pain level differs, many describe the sensation as similar to that of a rubber band snapping on your skin. However, patient comfort is important to us, so we do offer topical and injectable numbing agents.
How many sessions will I need?
The length of your treatment will vary depending on the size, colors, and location of your tattoo.
Each session generally takes 30 minutes to an hour. It will take several sessions for your tattoo to be fully removed. Depending on the size, design, and color, it can take an average of 10-12 sessions to remove the ink.
Many patients ask why it takes multiple sessions. Tattoo ink is made of layers to create a permanent design on your skin. Lasers cannot safely break down all the layers within a single treatment as your skin needs time to heal and eliminate the ink. We recommend six weeks between each session to allow your skin to heal and the body to absorb as much of the ink as possible. With each session, your tattoo should lighten.
After each treatment session, it is important to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions as blistering, swelling, redness, and pain are common experiences of tattoo removal. We will provide you with after-care instructions after each treatment so that your results can remain consistent.
Clean the area regularly with soap and water, and apply antibiotic ointment as directed to assist in healing and prevent infection. We strongly advise patients to keep the area covered until healed and out of direct sunlight. Ice and over-the-counter medication can also ease any discomfort once the skin has healed.
If your tattoo no longer meets your expectations or lifestyle, you don’t have to live with it anymore. For more information on tattoo removal or to schedule a consultation, contact Sullivan Dermatology today.