Nearly 30% of Americans have at least one tattoo. Nearly half of all millennials own one. However, not all are happy with their decision. 25% of tattoo-owners regret having it. There is good news for those who are in the 25% range. With minimal side effects, laser tattoo removal can dramatically reduce the appearance of unwanted tattoos.
How it works
Lasers can be used to remove tattoos. They break down the pigment colors using a high-intensity beam of light. Black pigment is the most absorbent of all laser wavelengths making it the easiest to treat. Others colors cannot be treated with lasers that are specific to the pigment color.
First, schedule a consultation with a professional to evaluate your tattoo and give you advice. The size and color of your tattoo will determine the number of treatments that you need. Removal techniques will be affected by the color of your skin and how deep the tattoo pigment is.
This is the general expectation for a laser treatment:
- A pair of protective eyes shields will be provided to you.
- To determine the best energy for treatment, the technician will examine your skin to assess its reaction to laser light.
- The laser is used to transmit pulses of intense light through your skin’s top layers, which will then be absorbed only by the tattoo pigment.
For smaller tattoos, you will only need to use fewer pulses. Larger tattoos require more. It will take multiple treatments to get rid of tattoos. Your tattoo should get lighter with each treatment.
Although laser tattoo removal can be painful, most patients don’t require anesthesia. You may need to apply a cream for topical anesthesia before you tattoo.
Use an ice pack immediately following treatment to soothe the affected area. To protect the area, apply an antibiotic cream or ointment along with a bandage. When you are outside, make sure to protect it with sunblock.
Laser treatment can often be safer than other methods of tattoo removal, like excision, Dermabrasion or salabrasion, because it selectively treats the pigment within the tattoo. There are few side effects. These factors should be considered when making a decision.
- There is a risk of infection at your tattoo removal site. There is a small chance you’ll get a permanent scar.
- It is unlikely that your tattoo can be removed completely. Some colors are more effective than others in some cases. Laser treatment is effective for black and blue tattoos.
- Hypopigmentation is a condition where the treated skin is paler than its surrounding skin. Hyperpigmentation can also occur, where the skin affected is darker than the rest.
- After treatment, cosmetic tattoos such as eyebrows, lipliner, and eyeliner may become darker. They can fade with time.