What do I do to prepare for laser tattoo removal?
Avoid tanning the skin before laser tattoo removal. Also, avoid applying makeup or cover up to the area before treatment. We recommend avoiding the use of aspirin before laser tattoo removal, instead choosing non-aspirin products, like Tylenol or ibuprofen for minor aches and pains prior to the procedure. Notify your physician if you are prone to keloid scarring to determine if you’re still a candidate for laser tattoo removal.
Does laser tattoo removal hurt?
Advanced tattoo removal lasers are much faster and less traumatic to the skin than previous technologies, making the treatment much more comfortable. The impact of the energy from the laser’s powerful pulse of light has been described as similar to getting snapped by a thin hot, rubber band. With each subsequent treatment, the discomfort fades.
What will I look and feel like after the treatment?
The treatment will leave the skin mildly red and may result in pinpoint bleeding or blistering. You may begin to notice a temporary whitening of the tattoo and swelling of the skin in the region. Over the next few weeks, the body’s scavenger cells remove pigment residues. One begins to notice lightening of the tattoo approximately two weeks post treatment and this will continue for two to three months.
Following treatment, the tattoo removal specialist will apply an antibacterial ointment and dressing to the area. The skin should be kept clean with continued application of ointment as directed. 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. If the skin forms a blister or scab, this should be handled gently. After healing, the tattoo color will gradually and continually fade.
How many sessions will I need?
Several laser tattoo removal treatments are normally needed to reach an endpoint — the number of sessions depends on the amount and type of ink used and how deeply it was injected, but can vary anywhere from four to ten, or even more. Six to eight week intervals between sessions are required to allow pigment residue to be absorbed by the body.
We don’t generally know which of the over 500 tattoo inks available today were used to create the tattoo and sometimes the pigments undergo chemical changes after the tattoo is placed. Even two identically colored tattoos may be derived from very different colors and types of inks.
The easiest tattoos to remove are ones with containing black ink. In contrast, the hardest are the multi-colored tattoos, especially containing floral and pastel colors.
Can I lighten my tattoo in order to cover it with another tattoo?
Yes. Tattoo artists refer us many patients who request lightening their tattoos before cover up work is performed. This often allows for greater choice in new tattoo design and improves the final result.
How much will removing my tattoo cost?
Tattoo removal is affordable. However, without an assessment of your tattoo and the number of treatments required, we cannot accurately provide you with a true picture of your investment. Price quotes and phone estimates are good marketing tools, not good medicine. We work with patients of all income levels.