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Are you interested in laser tattoo removal, but wondering if it’s the right choice for you? Maybe you’ve been considering it for a tattoo that you really don’t like or just don’t want anymore, but are not sure about some of the specifics of the procedure? Celibre Medical Corporation offers safe, effective laser-assisted tattoo removal at both of our state-of-the-art facilities. We want you to feel comfortable, and confident even, with whomever you choose for your procedure. Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions that we receive at our practice.
Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?
The short and sweet answer is yes. However, many patients tell us that the feeling is somewhat like getting a tattoo, so it isn’t a completely foreign sensation. The reason that you feel the laser is because the light (or energy) that is absorbed by the tattoo ink breaks it up into lots of smaller pieces like a power-packed punch. If you’re worried about this, there is topical anesthetic cream that we can use on the skin prior to treatment that may help lessen the pain. But unfortunately, for now anyway, there’s no such thing as painless laser tattoo removal.
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?
Have you ever noticed how the older a tattoo gets, the more faded it becomes? That’s because even after years of being in the skin, your body tries to break down and get rid of tattoo ink. It’s a foreign substance that the body is constantly fighting to clear. Lasers capitalize on this process by making it easier for the body to do what it does naturally.
The reason tattoos stay put is because the ink particles are too large to be removed by the immune system’s scavenger cells. The laser energy breaks up the ink into smaller pieces that the body can then clear away. Think of cutting up your food before you eat it. It’s the same idea.
Because there is so much ink (often layers of it), it takes several treatment sessions (5 to 15) for the laser to break it all up. The body’s natural clearing process can take 6 to 8 weeks between these treatments. Laser tattoo removal can be a rather lengthy process!
Can All Tattoos be Treated with the Same Laser?
No, they can’t. And be very wary of any practice that tells you that they can. Unless it’s a tattoo that is completely black in color. Black ink will absorb pretty much any wavelength of light which makes them the very easiest to treat with a laser. However, colors like red and blue will require different lasers with different wavelengths of light to effectively break up the ink particles. And some colors, like green, light blue, yellow, and white, can be very hard to treat with lasers period.
Another point to make is that some lasers with different wavelengths of light energy are safer for certain skin types than others. This means that the laser that we choose for a tattoo on Hispanic or African American skin may be different than the one that we choose for a tattoo on Caucasian skin. Again, laser tattoo removal is NOT a one-size-fits-all process.
What Should I Do to Prepare for my Treatment?
While there are no hard and fast rules to prepare for laser tattoo treatment, it is generally a good idea to be at your baseline skin color before treatments. If you’re tan, this may increase your chances of unintended side effects, such as a burn, permanent scar, or color change in the skin.
It is also a good idea to avoid aspirin and aspirin-derived pain medications (NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) prior to your treatment as they can increase your risk of bruising with the laser.
What Will My Tattoo Look Like After Treatment?
The treated area will look red, almost like sunburn and there might be some minor scabbing or blistering after the laser. Likewise, it may feel like a sunburn as well. Your practitioner will put a thick layer of antibacterial ointment on the area and apply a special dressing that helps to keep it clean. It’s very important that you continue to take care of the area keeping it moist with antibacterial ointment to ensure proper healing. While you can still take showers, you’ll want to treat the area with kid gloves and avoid any harsh scrubbing. After about 2 weeks, your skin should be completely healed, but your body is still working to clear up the tattoo ink from the inside.
Please give us a call today to schedule your free consultation appointment to learn more about laser tattoo removal and how it works. We are happy to answer any further questions that you may have as well as give you a specific plan to successfully and safely remove your tattoo with one or more of our FDA-approved lasers.