Laser tattoo removal – While some people get a cool tattoo on their skin to show off, the others are just tame followers of trends. Sooner or later, they would considering the tattoos for some reasons. Laser is the most popular mean to help the removal process, sadly many aren’t familiar with the details which is not something to miss.
What to Expect Before The Procedure
No matter how advanced the medical technology is, there are always room for improvement. The success rate of laser tattoo removal actually depends on the individual. Therefore, there are several things to consider before the users actually decide to undergo the light treatment.
- Moderate Expectation
Believe it or not, half of the tattoo users that step into dermatologists office hope that they would get their old skin back. Well, although this case might happen on several case, it doesn’t mean that perfect removal applies for all. It might help to ask this question: “would I be ready to have fading tattoo?” If the answer is yes, then the individual could proceed with his plan. He is mentally prepared for the worst scenario.
For those who are still walking back and forth, don’t forget that the other option for covering tattoo. It could be either using make up or wearing long sleeves. Keep in mind that the price for each laser treatment is not cheap. If covering could give perfect result, why bother choosing laser?
- Multiple Treatment
One mistake many tattoo owners do is thinking that the removal process wouldn’t take longer than the attachment process. This is where everything starts to go in the wrong direction. First of all, one time treatment won’t be enough to remove the whole tattoo. The initial meeting with dermatologists is meant to check the tattoos thoroughly. The doctor then could give the estimation number.
Don’t be so sure yet. This estimation number doesn’t count like one, two and three. In between each meeting, there will be break time, which varied for each person. It depends on the body capacity to heal and flush away the broken particles from the tattoos. Rushing the process won’t be suggested, as it might give unwanted destruction to the patients. Think of it as giving pressure on the bruise spot which not yet healing.
The average number for the whole treatment range between six to ten visits. Again, it goes back to the individual condition. The visits might be less or more. As for the healing period, it varies between six to eight weeks. Unless the tattoo owners have time and patience, laser treatment might not be the best choice.
- Tattoo Location
When the tattoo owners first get their skin painted, they might notice different prices for the service. It is usually classified from the size and location. Similar things apply for tattoo removal. Depending on the location, the success rate is varied. The worst place for tattoo removal procedure is ankle, since it has the poorest blood circulation. Why? Because ankle is the furthest body part from heart.
Those who get tattoo on their chest or back has higher chance to fade away their tattoos. With high blood circulation, the healing process is faster and the laser result will be at its best.
- Tattoo Application
It might not be surprising, but who and how the tattoo applied to the skin matters for the removal procedure. The professional tattoo is done systemically, injecting the ink to similar skin layer, deep under the surface. This would be a plus point, since the dermatologist could adjust the laser to emit set strength. Then, this laser setting could be used in the whole process.
The turn down of professionally done tattoo is the ink used. No experienced tattoo artists use the cheap ink. What they got in the display is saturated ink. This is the real challenge in removal process. In the other side, any tattoos applied by the amateur hands will be easier to remove in general. The ink is the second grade one and the penetrated in uneven depth, thus removing it would take less energy.
- Different Type of Lasers
The name of the treatment might only say “laser treatment”, but the machine that could perform the procedure are divided into several types. The first generation laser machine could only wipe several colors. That is why there are rumors about green and blue tattoo. It says that these two colors are the most stubborn ones. Thanks to the advanced technology, newer laser machine is developed.
It could be set to different wavelength, unlike the previous model. Therefore, it is more effective while dealing with multicolored tattoos. The discussion about how many laser machine combinations will be used in the treatment process should be mentioned in the first meeting. Those who come with colorful and complex pattern tattoo might need more than three combination of machines.
- After Treatment Effect
Now that the tattoo owners have passed the hours of warm light dancing on the tattoos, what possibly happens to the skin? Those who innocently think that there will be nothing shocking must prepare themselves well. The laser treatment uses different wave length to break down ink particle in the skin layer.
Therefore, on the place where the tattoo was, there will be blisters, swelling skin and even some pinpoint bleeding. This is why the tattoo owners need weeks of rest before continuing the removal process.
- Real Side Effects
Among the whole things about laser tattoo removal, one important thing that often avoided by the tattoo owners are the side effects. They are the least anyone want, but the most realistic thing that will come after the treatment. In tattoo removal case, the immediate side effect are burning sensation, different skin texture, and pain. Furthermore, the treatment might cause scars.
If the procedure is done using unsterilized needle, then the infection risk is higher. Also, the treated area might get lighter (hypo pigmentation) or darker (hyper pigmentation). This condition happens because the laser breaks not only the tattoo ink, but also the skin pigment. Either of them is going to fade after six to twelve months from the last treatment.
How to Deal With The Side Effects
It is true that the laser removal procedure is declared as “safe” by many medical experts. Still, it leaves side effects after each visit to the clinics. Knowing that the risk is there is definitely not enough. Wouldn’t it be better when the tattoo owners also know how to treat the painful side effects?
The popping skin should have been the most expected side effect after the treatment. It appears immediately after the process done. Swelling happens because the ink breaking attempt is detected as an attack by immune system. Why? It is simply because the process involves the use of equipment that will hurt the skin layer in one or the other way. Therefore, the internal protection system goes active, resulting in swelling skin.
Before taking action, make sure with the doctor that the popping up skin is not the allergic reaction. If it is caused by allergy, ask your doctor for the prescription. When the bulge is originally triggered by the laser treatment, then using ice pack will help. It is safe to put the ice pack right after the procedure done. Don’t forget to repeat the similar process several times in a day.
The term here doesn’t refer to a condition when someone is exposed to cold weather for a long period. However, the appearance does look similar. It happens because the chemical reaction that takes place under the skin. Laser heats up the ink, creates chemical reaction and releases gas. This gas goes up under the outer skin layer and turns into carbon dioxide. As the result, icy look similar to cake frosting is formed.
Normally, frosting lingers for 30 minutes after treatment. Instead of being frightened, the tattoo owners must be happy, since it is a good sign of successful removal. What to do to make it disappear? Let it be. Frosting will go by itself after an hour or less and rarely occur on the second treatment onwards.
The closest way to describe blistering pain is the one someone get after sunbathing for too long without any lotion. In the process of breaking the ink, the laser will always break blood vessels. The effect of it would be the wide blistering area with painful kick to the nerve. If the tattoo owners dare to look closer at the blisters, they will see the mixture of water and ink under the popping skin.
As the first rule, make sure to keep the popping skin that way. Any attempt to break the blister might lead to another serious effect. Also, keeping the skin untouched will guarantee complete healing without any scars trace. In general, there are two kinds of blistering: intact and open. For intact blister, let it be. Just don’t forget to apply antibacterial ointment on the area with cotton help.
The open blisters require more delicate treatment. Make sure to put a loose bandage, hanging a few millimeters above the scar. Also apply the antibacterial ointment. Since open blister could be easily infected, try to limit the physical activities that will make a lot of sweats. Keep an eye for any signs of infections: fever, blisters with pus, and enlarged lymph nodes.
While doing the procedure, the pain is unbearable. However, it often comes together with itchiness. This is the sign that body immune system is doing its job to repair the broken vessels on the tattooed areas. Aside from the natural reaction, the itchiness might be caused by dry skin. The area near the laser-treated one is to blame.
Even though the temptation is strong, the tattoo owners should resist the urge to scratch the itchy part. This action will hurt the sensitive skin and might start tons of infections ahead. To combat it, try to apply non-perfume moisturizer or cream after shower. This product helps to hydrate the skin, decreasing the chance of feeling itchy. Don’t forget to consult the dermatologist about the safe brand to use.
Also, avoid bathing in hot shower. While showering, it might seem fine, but the hot water takes away the moisture on the skin, thus making the skin dryer. As the result, the itchiness might go crazy.
This condition is actually the clear mark of healing. Someone could expect scabbing to occur after blisters. Along with the drying skin, there might be itchy feeling, something the tattoo owners should fight against. Again, no scratching is allowed in the post laser care. Believe it or not, the scabbing skin is still protecting the half-formed skin layer under it. Removing it is equal to exposing skin layer to dirt and bacteria.
The best thing to do is keeping hands away from the scabbing skin. Let the new skin does the removing job. The process usually takes around fourteen days. It could be longer if the person accidentally removes the scabbing, as it will bleed and need more time to heal.
- Hyper/Hypo pigmentation
When the whole process is done, hypo or hyper pigmentation might occur on the area where the tattoo was. It is noticeable with bare eyes. Thus, many people worried about this condition, since the pattern is not pleasing to look at. As mentioned previously, hyper and hypo pigmentation takes place as the result of broken melanin caused by different wavelength from the laser.
There is one thing the tattoo owners should know: this pigmentation will do nothing to the overall health. It purely does the unappealing effect to the skin layer. Moreover, the condition will heal on its own after months or years. Even when the pigmentation doesn’t heal fully, most patients claim that it is better than the real tattoo.
Tattoo removal is not an easy choice, and should never be compared to applying tattoo. The tattoo users must be fully aware of the preparation. Also, expecting some side effects and understanding that the removal might not be successful. Otherwise, the whole things about laser tattoo removal would be a big white elephant.