Most people assign a lot of meaning to body art, particularly when it comes to tattoos. Tattoos are often an investment in both your time and money, since these pieces of body art can require several sessions and hundreds of dollars. However, there may come a time when you no longer want certain tattoos. This is when laser tattoo removal at The Dermatology, Laser & Vein Center in Cincinnati, OH can restore the canvas of your skin.
Can Laser Tattoo Removal Erase Any Tattoo?
Laser tattoo removal is a highly customizable treatment that can be used on virtually all areas of the body to break up pigment and tattoo ink to erase tattoos from the skin. Laser treatments for tattoo removal are versatile enough to be used on both the face and the body. In addition to removing tattoos from all areas of the body, laser tattoo removal treatments can also remove tattoos of all sizes, colors, and ages.
Old tattoos are probably the easiest type of tattoo to remove with a laser treatment. This is because the pigment in older tattoos has naturally faded due to sun exposure over time, which means the pigment is less reluctant to be removed by the laser energy.
Sometimes, people get rid of old tattoos because the lettering is no longer legible or the design has changed due to alterations in skin texture, which ultimately means the tattoo doesn’t look as good as when it was new.
New tattoos can also be removed with laser treatments for tattoo removal. However, you should know that removing a tattoo that is less than 12 months old is often more difficult than removing an older tattoo. This is because the fresh pigment in your skin is more resistant to laser energy. If you want to remove a newer tattoo, you may have to live with that tattoo on your skin for up to a year.
Additionally, if you want to remove a new tattoo, your skin must be fully healed from the tattoo procedure. Removing a tattoo that is not yet fully healed can actually damage the skin or cause pigment to spread, which will make it harder to remove all pigment from the skin in the long run. Your dermatologist will be able to assess whether your skin is healed enough to have this treatment.
Laser treatments for tattoo removal can also remove larger tattoos. In general, it’s much easier to remove smaller tattoos since small tattoos take up less space on the skin and require less pigment. However, removing larger tattoos is simply a matter of adding additional treatments until the tattoo has been erased from your skin. Large tattoos are particularly common on the chest, back, and thighs.
The easiest type of pigment to remove from your skin is black or grayscale ink. This has to do with the composition of the ink itself. Many people will find that grayscale tattoos or the black line work of a tattoo will fade much more quickly than colorful tattoos.
Although removing certain pigments can be harder, it’s still possible to use a laser treatment to erase colorful tattoos. Some pigments of ink are more resistant to laser energy, even if the tattoo is older, while other pigments may be easier to remove. The specific laser system for tattoo removal can also influence how easy it is to remove colorful tattoos.
How Does This Treatment Work?
Laser treatments for tattoo removal work by using thermal energy to break up the pigment of the ink deposited into the dermal layers of your skin. Essentially, the laser energy penetrates the skin to break up ink particles into small fragments that can be gradually removed by your body’s natural immune response.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
To fully erase a tattoo, usually you will need between five and 10 treatments. The number of treatments required to completely erase your tattoo will be influenced by the type of pigment used, the color of the ink, the size and shape of the tattoo, and even the location of the tattoo. Tattoo age and your skin type may also determine how many treatments are necessary.
What Can You Expect From Treatment?
A laser treatment for tattoo removal is similar to other laser systems. For your treatment, you can usually expect your appointment to take between 30 and 60 minutes. These treatments are generally comfortable because you have the option of using over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, topical numbing creams, or other tools that will make the laser treatment more comfortable.
Most people who have laser treatments for tattoo removal compare these treatments to a snapping rubber band. Ultimately, these treatments are no more uncomfortable than the initial tattoo procedure.
What Should You Do Before Treatment?
Before any laser treatment, your top priority is taking steps that will help you avoid hyperpigmentation after your treatment. In particular, you will need to avoid tanning beds, self-tanning products, and sunbathing for two weeks before your treatment. Exposing your skin to any of these activities can potentially trigger melanin production during your laser treatment, which can then lead to hyperpigmentation.
If you are outside, be sure to wear strong SPF on any area you want to treat. Furthermore, before this treatment, you should not have any waxing or laser treatments, such as laser hair removal, on any of the areas you want to treat. You may also need to stop using certain skin care products, such as body lotion that contains retinol, three to five days before your treatment.
What Should You Do After Treatment?
After your treatment, you will need to continue to avoid activities that can trigger melanin production. This means avoiding direct exposure to the sun, and tanning beds for at least two weeks. Wearing SPF 30 to 50 on any area that has been treated is usually adequate protection for your skin. To help your skin recover more quickly after a laser tattoo removal treatment, it’s a good idea to use gentle moisturizers on the treated area.
After you get a tattoo, it’s often recommended that you use Aquaphor or CeraVe to soothe the skin. After a laser treatment for tattoo removal, you can also use these products to keep the skin hydrated so you heal more quickly.
How Fast Are Your Results?
You will notice early results several weeks after your first treatment. Although a large portion of tattoo pigment will be broken up during each of your treatment sessions, it will still take some time for your immune system to carry these fragments of ink out of your skin. You can usually expect optimal results three to six months after your final session.
When Should You Have This Treatment?
Because a tattoo is a major investment, coming to the decision to remove a tattoo can be different for everyone. In many cases, people will only consider removing a tattoo if there’s an obvious tattoo error or if an injury to the skin has damaged the tattoo beyond repair. Other reasons you may want to consider having a laser tattoo removal treatment include:
Sometimes, if you have a tattoo associated with a person or a tattoo that holds some sentimental value, your feelings about this tattoo may change. In this case, erasing the tattoo from your skin can be a good way to address your emotional needs.
Change in Occupation
Some occupations will not allow for visible tattoos. This means that if you have a tattoo on the face, head, neck, knuckles, or other visible area of your body when you are wearing your uniform, you may need to have these tattoos covered or removed.
Some people may also consider treatments for tattoo removal if they want to have a fresh slate on their skin. This is common if you want to have a new tattoo design on the same area of your body. Many tattoo artists recommend having a few laser treatments for tattoo removal to make the cover-up tattoo look better.
Remove Unwanted Tattoos With Laser Treatment
If you have an unwanted tattoo, you can restore the blank canvas of your skin. Laser tattoo removal can remove all types of unwanted tattoos, including new tattoos, large tattoos, and colorful tattoos. To learn more about laser treatments for tattoo removal, get in touch with The Dermatology, Laser & Vein Center in Cincinnati, OH today.