Tattoos are puncture wounds made into the skin in design or pattern with special ink. The ink is injected into the dermis or second layer of skin in a penetrating pattern with a sterilized mechanized needle to make the design permanent. This process damages the skin to retain the pigment particles and form a design or pattern in differently colored inks. Since these pigment particles are too big to be quickly consumed by the white blood cells in our body, the colored pigment stays and becomes a permanent mark on the skin.
Tattoos can become problematic with age, weight gain, and weight loss. Since tattoos are on the skin, there could be fading, distortion, and stretching of the tattoo due to numerous reasons. Many times people also regret tattoos because of reasons like allergic reactions, names of old spouses, obtaining new employment opportunities, and so on. Regret is a predominant emotion associated with tattoo removal. At such times, laser tattoo removal seems a good option. Permanent tattoos can be removed with the help of a dermatological surgeon who specializes in effective tattoo removal through laser treatment.
Before you consider tattoo removal there are a few things to remember:
- Find an experienced doctor that can explain the entire process in detail. Mention any prevalent medical conditions like blood pressure, diabetes, or any medications you might currently be on.
- Make a detailed list of any questions/ queries you might have regarding the entire procedure.
- Enquire about the cost of treatment and frequency of sittings required according to the size, color, and age of your tattoo.
- Discuss your reasons for tattoo removal candidly and why you think getting it removed is the right thing to do.
- Be very vigilant in the aftercare of your tattoo removal and follow all procedures very carefully.
Let us see how laser tattoo removal works and how you can benefit from the procedure.
Unwanted tattoo removal is predominantly done through laser technology. Experienced laser tattoo removal physicians will be able to remove your unwanted tattoo with skill and efficiency through a safe and sanitary procedure.
The laser emits light energy that passes through several layers of skin and is absorbed by the ink already present in your skin. This light energy further heats up to break the ink into tiny fragments which are directly absorbed into your system. Your inherent immune system does the rest of the work to heal the affected part.
Laser tattoo removal treatment is able to target only specific areas of your skin and does not damage the skin surrounding the tattoo. Different intensities of laser light are used depending on the colors of the inks used. There is a laser used only for red, blue, and yellow tattoos, while another laser is used for green and black ink tattoos. Black tattoo pigments are usually broken down the easiest and can be removed faster than color pigments.
Usually, multiple sessions of 3 – 10 times are required to remove the ink in the tattoo successfully. The sessions usually depend upon the size, age, and colors used on the tattoo. Another aspect that determines the success of tattoo removal is the color of your skin and how deep the tattoo ink has penetrated. These treatment sessions are usually spaced 3 weeks to a month at a time and have stringent aftercare processes to allow healthy healing.
During a tattoo removal procedure, the physician will ideally do the following:
- Give you a pair of protective eye shields to cover your eyes from the rays of the laser light.
- Test the reaction of the laser treatment on your skin during a minor patch test to determine the best laser intensity to suit your skin type and condition.
- The physician will offer to give you a local topical anesthetic to numb the region of the tattoo to be removed. If the pain is bearable, you can forego the anesthetic. The procedure is painful, and most people are advised to take a topical anesthetic.
- The physician will use the laser in small bursts of light so that the energy passes through your skin and gets absorbed by the tattoo ink pigments. The intensity and speed of the laser will vary depending upon the size and color of the tattoo to be removed.
- Once the session is complete, the physician will bandage the area entirely and will give a set of instructions that should be followed to heal the wound caused by the heat and laser treatment.