Tattoos are great and often incredible artwork. However, those wonderful art pieces we found inspiring years ago are now a source of embarrassment or, at the very least – make us irritable. We want them removed. People will tell us that tattoo removal is no big deal and go ahead and get it done. However, some myths need to be dispelled before you head to the med spa or dermatologist to get your tattoo removed.
Usual Things People Get Wrong about Laser Tattoo Removal
Myth #1: Tattoo Removal using a Laser is Quick
Tattoo removal was unsuccessful and painful, done with cutting, scarring, and maybe a surgical procedure with extended downtime. However, laser technology has advanced tattoo removal making the procedure less painful, faster, and more accessible. In addition, specific laser treatments used for tattoo removal can eliminate a wide range of tattoo pigments by breaking down tattoo ink and allowing the natural body process to remove the ink.
Laser tattoo removal has come a long way; however, it is still a process that takes time. How many sessions you will need to clear up your tattoo depends on the tattoo’s age, density and depth, location on the body, colors, and how your body reacts to the laser procedure. Removal is different for every person, and you must be patient.
Laser tattoo removal uses intense energy aimed at different ink particles to break up pigments into small pieces. Green is one of the most challenging tattoo colors to remove, with blues and yellows coming in a close second in difficulty. Black is the simplest color to remove because it absorbs infrared light directly and precisely. The ink heats up quickly and gradually disappears in about six to eight sessions.
Laser treatments work at different depths in the skin to remove different colors. Multiple sessions will be needed to get all the ink. Tattoo artists use permanent ink for their artwork, injected far below the skin’s surface. Removing a tattoo can be more complicated than actually applying the artwork. Removing the ink could take up to ten sessions of laser therapy.
Myth #2 Tattoo Removal using a Laser is Painless
This myth is almost funny. When you got your tattoo done, was it pain-free? Injecting ink into your skin with needles doesn’t sound painless, and it probably wasn’t. Laser tattoo removal is no different. The amount of pain varies depending on where the tattoo is located, how dense the ink is, and the colors in the tattoo. If you have a problem with pain, ask your laser tattoo professional about the steps you can take to ensure pain is manageable.
Older tattoo removal techniques included a celebration technique, a salt-based solution used with a wooden block covered in gauze to scrub away the tattoo. Unfortunately, this not only took away the tattoo but also removed the skin.
Subcutaneous injections use a cleaning-like liquid hydrochloric acid. Injections are placed on and around the artwork. You might not have any color of the tattoo left, but you will have a scar.
Large tattoos need surgery and a skin graft. Your physician takes a piece of skin from somewhere else on your body and fits it over the artwork area. Surgery on a tattoo means actually cutting it out of the skin.
Cryosurgery, or freezing of the skin with liquid nitrogen, has also been used, but this is a rare procedure.
Dermabrasion eventually works, but it is painful, leaving you with a scar.
Many of the painful and questionable techniques have now been eliminated, and lasers are taking over. For example, a laser can remove a tattoo with a frequency matching the ink colors. When the energy strikes the ink particles, the ink absorbs the light energy and disintegrates the color.
Myth #3 It doesn’t Matter What Laser your Professional Uses
At Bella Med Spa, we use the Q-switched ND: Yag laser for tattoo removal. We use multiple wavelengths to concentrate energy onto inks to break them up. Once a laser breaks up a tattoo color, your immune system can remove the ink naturally. Laser treatments take time, but you will have no tattoo ink left and no scarring.
Myth #4 You Don’t Need Aftercare
Post-removal care is as important as the first step when you start with a laser tattoo removal process. You must avoid direct sun exposure, stay hydrated, and keep your removal sight clean and dry. Ask your tattoo removal professional to give you tips you can do to make removal easier and less painful.