If you’re tired of your ink or your tattoo has been damaged, you may want to consider laser tattoo removal treatment to clean the slate of your skin. There are several things you need to know about laser treatments for tattoo removal before you schedule your first appointment at The Dermatology, Laser & Vein Center in Cincinnati, OH.
How Many Laser Sessions Does It Take To Remove a Tattoo?
In general, it can take anywhere from six to 10 laser tattoo removal treatments to completely remove a tattoo. Your appointments are usually spaced about a month apart. During your consultation, we will be able to give you a better estimate of the number of treatments you will need to remove your unwanted tattoo. There are various factors that can determine the number of treatments you will need, such as:
The color of your tattoo ink can sometimes make it harder to remove the tattoo. Different pigments in tattoos respond differently to laser and light energy, which is why black and gray tattoos are easier to remove than very colorful tattoos, such as neon colors, pastel colors, and other light colors. If you have a tattoo that uses darker tones of color, such as dark red or dark yellow, this tattoo may be easier to remove.
Removing a very small tattoo is much faster than removing a very large tattoo. When a tattoo takes up a considerable amount of real estate on your skin, you will likely need more treatment sessions simply because there is more tattoo pigment to break up during each appointment. Large and very complex tattoos can require more than 10 laser treatment sessions, particularly for pieces that cover the entire back or leg.
Sometimes, the age of the tattoo can also make it easier or harder to remove the ink. Older tattoos are already faded and have been exposed to your body’s immune system over time, which makes it easier to break up and disperse the ink with a laser treatment. Older tattoos have also likely been exposed to UV rays without protection, which means there is already pre-existing cellular damage that will make it easier to break up the ink in the dermal layer of the skin.
The location of the tattoo can determine how many treatments you will need. Tattoos that are placed on areas of the body where there is more fatty tissue are much easier to remove than tattoos that are placed on bony areas. Likewise, tattoos in the center of the body are closer to the central circulation system, which means that the immune system is more active, which can speed up the healing time between sessions.
Your skin type and your skin tone have a massive impact on how effective a laser treatment is. Lighter skin complexions do not absorb light energy from a laser treatment as readily as dark and medium complexions, which means that the full power of the laser treatment will be directed to the unwanted tattoo pigment in the skin. People who have medium to dark complexions may require additional treatments to remove a tattoo.
It’s common for people who have tattoos to frequently have the color or lines touched up, especially those who want to maintain vibrant tattoo pigment over several years. However, when you have frequent touch-ups on your tattoo, this means that there are several layers of tattoo ink in the dermal layer of your skin. When there is more ink in your skin, you will usually need to have additional treatment sessions to effectively break up all of this pigment.
Are Professional Tattoos Harder to Remove?
You may not realize it, but the skill of your tattoo artist and the quality of the equipment used to create your tattoo can affect how easy or difficult it is to remove a tattoo. An amateur tattoo artist using low-quality equipment cannot deposit ink into the deepest layers of the skin, which means these tattoos are much easier to remove. However, when an experienced tattoo artist uses high-quality equipment, the ink can be injected into the dermis, which can make it harder to remove a tattoo in the future.
How Long Do Appointments Take?
Your laser tattoo removal appointment will usually take 30 to 60 minutes. The duration of your treatment will be determined by the size of your tattoo, your preferences, and the specific laser system being used for your treatment.
Will You Have Preparation Guidelines?
When you are preparing to use a laser system to remove an unwanted tattoo, you must follow preparation guidelines closely to avoid risks such as hyperpigmentation and skin irritation. One of the most crucial guidelines to follow before laser treatment is to avoid any activities that can trigger melanin production in the skin, such as unprotected sun exposure, tanning beds, and self-tanning products.
On the day of your appointment, you should prepare your skin by cleansing the treatment area. You should not apply any products such as lotion, sunscreen, or makeup to this area of the skin. You should also shave at least 12 to 24 hours before your appointment.
What Are Your Aftercare Guidelines?
After your laser treatment, you should follow your aftercare guidelines carefully so that your results develop as desired. You will not be able to expose the area to hot water for at least 12 to 24 hours, after which you should clean the treatment area with warm water and pat the area dry. You may be directed to keep the treatment area moist by applying antibiotic ointment or a light moisturizer two to three times a day. You may also need to cover the treated area with a nonstick bandage.
You should not expose the treated area to hot tubs, swimming pools, or unclean pools of water until the wound is completely healed, which can take two or more weeks. You will need to avoid exercise that causes sweat for at least two to seven days, and you will also need to avoid unprotected sun exposure for up to four weeks.
Can a Weak Immune System Take Longer To Remove Tattoos?
Sometimes, people who have a weakened immune system may require more time to fully remove a tattoo. Not only may a weaker immune system require additional healing time between appointments, but a weak immune system also cannot as effectively remove pigment particles from the skin. A weakened immune system can be caused by chronic diseases or poor general health.
If you want to strengthen your immune system to have better tattoo removal results, you should avoid activities that can slow down your immune response. Some of these activities can include using tobacco products, excessive alcohol consumption, and not getting adequate sleep. Regular exercise and taking vitamin supplements along with a healthy diet can improve your immune system.
What Are the Benefits of Laser Tattoo Removal?
There are several benefits to laser tattoo removal treatments, such as versatility. Laser treatments to remove unwanted tattoos can be used on virtually all tattoos, even very large or very colorful tattoos. This removal treatment is also non-invasive and can be customized to suit the needs of your skin type, which makes it suitable for most people. The results of this treatment are also permanent.
Are You an Ideal Candidate?
The best candidates for laser treatments include people who are in good health, who are not breastfeeding or pregnant, and who do not have a history of easy hyperpigmentation. You may not be a candidate if you are taking certain medications that cause sun sensitivity. You may use this treatment if you no longer want your tattoo or if your tattoo is damaged. Some people may even be motivated to remove a tattoo because it is required by their job.
Can You Partially Fade a Tattoo?
Some people may want to get a new tattoo in a place where an old one already exists. However, cover-up tattoos can look messy over time, so it can sometimes be a better plan to partially remove an unwanted tattoo to make the cover-up tattoo look better. If you want to partially fade a tattoo, we can help you create a treatment plan that will remove most of the unwanted tattoo pigment.
Remove an Unwanted Tattoo With Laser Treatments
People want to remove tattoos for all kinds of reasons. The process of removing an unwanted tattoo can require several treatment sessions, which means you may not have clear skin for six or more months. Get in touch with The Dermatology, Laser & Vein Center in Cincinnati, OH to schedule your first appointment today.