People don’t usually tend to get tattoos with the expectation that they will regret them further down the line, however these days tattoos are a lot more mainstream than they once were, and with more and more people opting to get inked, there are always a few who won’t end up loving their tattoos quite as much in a few years’ time.
Whatever the reason for you falling out of love with your ink, if it isn’t making you happy you will no doubt be considering your options. While a great tattoo artist should be able to design a really nice cover up in many instances, not every tattoo is coverable, or you may simply not want anything at all in the location you chose to get tattooed in the past.
That’s where laser tattoo removal comes into play. The technology behind laser tattoo removal has come a long way in recent years, and tattoo removal is becoming more and more popular. Read on to learn more about what’s involved.
How it works
There are different lasers that are used for the removal of tattoos, and these operate on different wavelengths. Different colours of ink require different wavelengths, so if you have a very colourful tattoo you will need to make sure that you are able to have it treated with a combination of lasers to remove it effectively.
The laser essentially breaks down the ink in your skin into smaller pieces which your body can then remove itself.
You will initially need to have a consultation before you start treatment, and it may be worth going for a number of consultations before you decide where to have your laser removal done. These days many of the reputable tattoo studios also offer laser tattoo removal, as do skin clinics and beauticians.
It is not possible to predict how many sessions you will need to completely remove your tattoo, so do be wary of anywhere that promises you success after a certain number of sessions. You should ask to see examples of before and after pictures of people with a similar skin tone to you which should help you to manage your expectations.
Complete removal isn’t guaranteed, and yellow, green or purple ink are the hardest to remove and will require the most sessions. There is also a chance that your skin may temporarily become lighter or darker where the tattoo is, but this should resolve with time.
The most serious risk you need to be aware of is that there is a small chance of being left with a permanent scar, with 1 in 3 patients developing scarring. For more information of things to bear in mind, check out this article from Real Self.
Once the time comes to begin treatment, you will want to shave the area where the skin is to be treated before your appointment. You may be offered a local anaesthetic cream for the area that is going to be treated.
Your practitioner will press a hand-held laser device to your skin, which will feel similar to an elastic band snapping against your skin. The sessions usually take around 10 minutes to half an hour depending on the size of the tattoo you are treating.
Afterwards, you should apply aloe vera gel to help soothe the skin, and avoid soap and perfumed products for 48 hours. Wait at least 6 weeks between sessions, and take care in the sun as the skin will be more sensitive.