Tattoos have steadily become more popular and socially acceptable in the last few decades, so it makes sense that people who want to remove tattoos are also increasingly common. But does laser tattoo removal really work? At Oceana Luxe Medspa in Corpus Christi, TX, our skin experts know that laser treatments for tattoo removal can be a highly effective option to erase an unwanted tattoo.
Can Laser Completely Remove Tattoos?
Yes, laser tattoo removal can completely remove tattoos, or at least greatly diminish their appearance to the point where your skin is visibly even-toned. Sometimes, tattoo removal is designed to be adequate enough so the old tattoo can be replaced by a new tattoo. Regardless of what your goal outcome, laser treatments for tattoo removal are powerful, affordable, and effective.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
It’s important to remember that tattoo removal is a gradual process, which means you will likely need several treatments to fully remove an unwanted tattoo. Most people require at least six to 12 treatments spaced about a month apart to diminish the appearance of a tattoo. Ultimately, the number of treatments you will need depends on the size, location, color, and even the design of your tattoo.
How Does Tattoo Removal Work?
Laser tattoo removal is a fairly straightforward process. A special laser system will be applied to your tattoo during your treatment. When the light and heat of the laser treatment hit your skin, it will start to destroy the tattoo pigment in your skin, which will then scatter the pigment into smaller parts that will be removed through normal bodily processes.
The ink used for tattoos is special than other types of ink. When the pigment of your tattoo scatters from the laser treatment, it will prompt your body’s immune system to remove the foreign pigment from the skin. Over time and with repeated treatments, there will be less pigment in your skin and the appearance of the tattoo will fade.
What Can You Expect From Treatment?
Overall, the process for tattoo removal is very easy. Before you can schedule your first appointment, you will need to attend a consultation appointment. During your consultation, we will look at your tattoo and gather specific information about it, such as when you got the tattoo and what your treatment goals are.
Your tattoo removal treatments will take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Of course, the length of time your appointment will take depends on the size of the tattoo; larger tattoos will require longer appointments because the laser technology will need to reach more areas of the skin. You will also need to follow preparation and aftercare instructions.
Laser treatments require a little more preparation than other superficial or cosmetic treatments. Because laser treatments can trigger the production of melanin in the skin, it’s important to protect your skin from any possible pigmentation changes. For the most part, this means avoiding activities that can potentially darken your skin tone, such as sunbathing, tanning beds, and self-tanning products.
It’s also important that you ensure your skin is not sensitive on the day of your appointment, which is why you should discontinue chemical exfoliants on the area you wish to treat. If you have a sunburn, skin infection, or other skin infection on the day of your treatment, you will need to reschedule your appointment.
After your treatment, your skin may be sensitive to sunlight, heat, and other potential irritants. For that reason, you should do your best to avoid unprotected sunlight and avoid activities such as outdoor sports, sunbathing, tanning beds, self-tanning products, swimming pools, saunas, and very hot showers. You should avoid these activities for several days after your treatment so your skin has a chance to recover.
Although you will be able to go back to work and resume most of your daily activities, you will still need to be mindful of your skin condition. It’s generally advised that you use gentle moisturizers, such as aloe vera, or other topical ointments we recommend to keep your skin moist and promote healing. This will ensure that your skin heals adequately between your appointments.
What Is the Best Treatment Frequency?
Your skin will require healing time between treatments, so the ideal frequency for your laser tattoo removal treatments is about four weeks apart. Those who have sensitive skin may need to wait as much as six weeks between appointments. You will notice that your tattoo is gradually fading as your skin heals between appointments.
Can the Tattoo Removal Process Be Faster?
Some clients want to know if it’s possible for the tattoo removal process to be faster. After all, needing six to 12 appointments spaced four weeks apart means it could take six months to a year to fade the appearance of a tattoo, and if you are removing a tattoo for a specific reason (such as a job), it makes sense to want to speed that process up.
There are a few things you can do to promote your body’s healing response, such as drinking plenty of water and taking vitamins that support your body’s immune system. That said, the goal of speeding up your treatment process is to promote more healing between treatments and to avoid any skin conditions that could delay your next appointment. Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and sunlight are good steps to take.
What Factors Determine How Many Treatments You Will Need?
The specific number of treatments you will need for your tattoo removal will depend on a variety of factors. Eliminating an unwanted tattoo can present multiple challenges based on these factors. For example, fresh tattoos and larger tattoos are harder to remove than other tattoos. Some factors that will determine the number of treatments you will need include:
Size and Location
The size of the tattoo is the biggest factor since smaller tattoos will require fewer treatments and larger tattoos will require more or longer laser removal sessions. The location of the tattoo will determine the amount of pigment in the tattoo, which will also affect how many treatments you need. Tattoos on denser skin hold more pigment, so they will take more treatments to remove; tattoos on thinner skin hold less pigment, so you will need fewer appointments.
There are various types of tattoo ink that are used to create tattoos. The color and type of your ink will determine how fast a tattoo fades. Dark and colorful tattoos actually fade more quickly than tattoos that have lighter colors. This is because darker ink pigments absorb laser energy more quickly, so darker tattoos are more responsive to laser treatments. Lighter tattoos can still be removed, but they may require additional treatment sessions.
Age and Quality
Many people assume that older tattoos are harder to remove, but the opposite is true. New tattoos have richer pigment, so removing a fresh tattoo or a tattoo that is less than one year old will take more treatments than removing an older tattoo. The quality of the tattoo will also affect the number of sessions you will need since professional tattoo artists use machines that insert pigment more deeply into the skin. By contrast, it can be easier to remove amateur tattoos.
As a note, if you want to remove a new tattoo, it’s recommended that you wait at least six weeks before you seek laser treatments. By waiting six weeks, you will ensure that your skin has adequately healed from the tattoo, so there should be no complication (such as pigmentation) in removing your unwanted tattoo.
Why Remove a Tattoo?
In general, people who get tattoos are fully invested in wearing their tattoos proudly. After all, tattoos are like artwork on the skin, so most people are satisfied by their appearance. But there are some times when tattoo removal may be necessary or desired, such as:
- Damage to the tattoo
- Outgrow the tattoo meaning or design
- Tattoo error
- Mistaken tattoo
- Tattoo not allowed at job
- Life changes
Remove Your Unwanted Tattoo with Laser Tattoo Removal
Whether you want to remove a tattoo because you’re tired of the design or you noticed an embarrassing spelling mistake, you should be comforted to learn that you can fully remove an unwanted tattoo. Laser tattoo removal is an effective option to fade or erase the appearance of a tattoo. While you will need multiple treatment sessions, you can still achieve optimal results. Contact us at Oceana Luxe Medspa in Corpus Christi, TX to schedule your consultation today.