Remember that amazing tattoo that you decide to get to express your undying love for that college romance? Or the one you got after a night of (maybe just a little too much) partying? They might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but if you are feeling the regret of your decision to permanently ink your body, you’re not alone. Tattoo removal has become a popular way to erase some of those old mistakes, but it’s important to understand the process so you have realistic expectations going in. Here are some common questions and answers many people have about laser tattoo removal.
Will my tattoo be completely gone?
The shorter answer is: it depends. Some people are able to completely erase their old tattoos with laser removal, while others can undergo several treatments and still end up with only a partially faded tattoo. And still others might end up with a “ghost image” of the tattoo or a raised scarred area. It’s important to talk to several laser tattoo removal experts and get a few different opinions before you decide to get the procedure.
How many treatments are required?
Usually you will need more than one treatment, but the exact number will depend on how your body responds to the lasers. Most technicians wouldn’t be able to give you an exact number until they start the process and determine how well your tattoo is responding to the removal process. In addition, you will need to factor in the time between treatments, which can be anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks.
Are there any risks or side effects?
The most common side effects of laser tattoo removal are skin irritation or open wounds. Often these things can be avoided by waiting the proper amount of time between laser removal sessions, generally 4 to 6 weeks, but sometimes up to 8 weeks. Some people experience post-laser-treatment symptoms that will go away, such as blisters, swelling, scarring pinpoint bleeding, temporary darkening, and redness. There is also a light risk of infection or burns, and you may see some changes to skin texture.
Does it matter where my tattoo is?
For laser tattoo removal, the location of the tattoo does make a difference. Generally ones located further from your heart, so at the ends of your arms and legs, because they don’t get as much circulation.
Does it matter if my tattoo is one color or several?
Multi-color tattoos will often require treatment from multiple lasers, since a single wavelength will not be able to remove all colors and pigments. Also some colors in tattoos can oxidize (darken) with treatments involving titanium dioxide. This may be corrected with future treatments.
Tattoo Removal is generally safe if you work with a qualified technician, but it’s important to ask plenty of questions and make sure you fully understand the risks and the process.