Tattoos are a popular form of self-expression. However, as people grow and change, they may find old tattoos don’t express their current selves. There was a time when those unhappy with their tattoos either had to live with them or turn to dangerous and painful methods of removal. Laser tattoo removal, which can be provided by the caring professionals at Paradise Med Spas in Lubbock, Texas, means undesirable tattoos are no longer a permanent problem.
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?
Before understanding how laser tattoo removal works, it is helpful to understand the nature of a tattoo. A tattoo is applied to the skin using an electric tattoo machine containing needles that rapidly and repeatedly puncture the skin and insert pigment into the dermal layer. The dermal layer of your skin is below the top layer, known as the epidermis. As a result, tattoos are not easy to remove—at least they never used to be.
Further adding to the permanency of tattoos are the metallic compounds found in tattoo inks. These metallic compounds include:
So now that you know exactly what happens when you get a tattoo, let’s talk about what happens when you regret a tattoo!
Before laser tattoo removal was easily accessible, other methods were available, including dermabrasion, cryosurgery, and excision. However, these methods are often painful and risky, making laser tattoo removal the preferred method, as it is bloodless, low risk, and has minimal side effects.
Laser tattoo removal is a series of simple cosmetic treatments that rely on lasers to fragment and break up the ink particles that make the tattoo. The heat and speed of the laser are key in the process of laser tattoo removal.
For ink particles to crack, they must expand through the application of heat. However, the laser must do this quickly, heating some ink particles while others remain cool, as it is actually the contrast in temperature that ultimately leads to the fragmentation of the particles.
The ink particles are broken into pieces small enough for your white blood cells to carry them off to the liver, where the particles are expelled. So, while the job of removing a tattoo begins with a laser, it is the highly intelligent human body that finishes the job.
How Many Sessions Will I Need?
The number of sessions required to remove a tattoo is highly variable and therefore can never be guaranteed.
One factor that influences the number of laser treatments you’ll need is your health. Because your body is responsible for carrying away the ink particles and expelling them, a healthy body will do this more efficiently than an unhealthy body.
Age of Tattoo
The age of the tattoo is another influencing factor. Older tattoos will often require fewer laser treatments because the body has had more time to expel the ink it has perceived as a foreign substance over the years. This is why older tattoos often appear faded.
Ink and Pigment
Perhaps the largest factor in the number of sessions required to remove a tattoo is the ink used. There are so many different inks and pigments used for tattoos, all of which are made through the combination of different chemical substances.
Some inks and pigments prove to be much more stubborn than others. Beyond the kind of ink used, the amount of ink used along with the depth of the ink’s placement will influence how easy or difficult the tattoo will be to remove.
Due to all these variables, it is hard to say how many laser sessions you will need, but a laser tattoo removal consultation can usually provide you with an estimate. Generally, amateur or homemade tattoo may be removed within 3 to 7 sessions, while professional tattoos done with harder inks can require anywhere from 8 to 20 treatments. It is possible for some tattoos to require more than 20 laser treatments.
What to Expect
The first step in laser tattoo removal is making an appointment for a consultation. At your consultation, your skin and tattoo will be assessed. This is also your opportunity to express any thoughts or concerns and ask questions you may have about the process.
The time each session takes is just as variable as the number of sessions you will need. Variables that impact the length of each session include the size of the tattoo, the colors used, and the location of the tattoo on your body. A session can range from 10 to 30 minutes.
After the Session
Once your session is complete, there is no downtime to worry about, but you will want to avoid activity that can cause you to sweat for about 24 hours. Additionally, avoid excessively hot water, high-pressure showers, and lakes for one to two weeks following treatment.
Avoid shaving the treated area until it is completely healed. Complete healing can take four to six weeks, but this varies. Treatments are typically scheduled four to eight weeks apart, depending on how long it takes to heal from the previous treatment.
The lightening of your tattoo will be most noticeable after the first treatment. Each subsequent treatment will further lighten the tattoo, but the result will not be as drastic as it was after the initial session. However, there is no need to despair; your before and after pictures will make the overall difference evident.
Get Rid of What You Don’t Love
If you have a tattoo on your body that you are no longer in love with, you’re not alone. Contact the caring staff at Paradise Med Spas in Lubbock, Texas to set up your initial consultation.