Thanks to laser technology, tattoos don't have to last forever. Laser tattoo removal is one of the safest, most effective tattoo removal treatments available and is often offered as an alternative to surgical excision and dermabrasion tattoo removal treatments.
Tattoo Removal Indications
Laser tattoo removal options exist for men and women of all ages and skin types and allow patients to have one tattoo or several removed for any number of reasons, such as:
- Difficulty obtaining a job
- Feelings of regret or embarrassment
- Poor tattoo artistry or unflattering permanent makeup
- Tattoo distortion from faded ink or stretched, sagging skin
- Desire to distance oneself from the sentiments of the tattoo
Tattoo Removal Treatment
Lasers used for tattoo removal work by targeting the pigment in a tattoo and breaking it up into tiny fragments so that it eventually fades to near invisibility on the skin. Several laser treatments are required to completely remove any tattoo, and the exact number of treatments depends on factors including the size, location, age, depth and colors of your tattoo.
Tattoos that are either fresh or faded are typically easiest to remove, as are tattoos obtained from amateur tattoo artists that do not penetrate as deeply into the skin as tattoos obtained at a professional tattoo parlor. Additionally, tattoos with multiple pigments or ink colors are more difficult to remove and typically require different laser treatments to address each color.
For black and dark blue ink, which is easiest to remove, q-switched Alexandrite or Nd:Yag lasers may be used. Other ink pigments, such as red, orange, pink, yellow and particularly green are more difficult to remove and may require many more treatments with a q-switched Ruby or Nd: Yag lasers. CO2 lasers may also be used for tattoo removal.
Although it is rare, patients with dark or ethnic skin tones are more likely to experience hypopigmentation or scarring as a tattoo removal side effect. To avoid this, a small test area may be treated to determine how your skin will react to the procedure.
Tattoo Removal Recovery
After tattoo removal, the skin will be pink for several days. Pinpoint bleeding is not uncommon, and with the Nd:Yag laser, some blistering or scabbing may occur. Although much depends on the aggressiveness of the treatment and the location and size of your tattoo, downtime is typically unnecessary after tattoo removal and normal activities may be resumed immediately.
Your skin will be sensitive in the treated area for a few days, and if skin flakes or peels at any time during the healing process, do not pick or scratch at it. Follow your physician's aftercare instructions after each treatment and protect the treated area from the sun to reduce the risk of long-term skin discoloration.
Would you like to learn more about Tattoo Removal? Call 212-772-7242 to schedule a consultation at Sadick Dermatology.