Laser Tattoo Removal and You

18 Apr

Tattoos can be beautiful and exciting pieces of art that can be proudly worn and shown for a lifetime. Other times, we make a hasty decision, our lives or tastes change, or we simply get bored with a tattoo, and buyer’s remorse sets in. Suddenly, you hate your tattoo. That’s when a process called laser tattoo removal might be right for you.

Laser tattoo removal involves using a special laser, called a Q-switched laser, to target the pigments in the tattoo. Various wavelengths of laser energy are used depending on the colors in the tattoo, and generally speaking dark colors are a bit easier to remove than lighter colors. Over the course of several treatments, the laser acts on the pigment and breaks it down where the body can absorb the pigment.

The number of treatments required for laser tattoo removal can vary due to numerous factors and can differ significantly from one individual to another. Things like skin tone, where the tattoo is located, and how much ink was used to create the tattoo will influence how many treatments are needed. Treatments will usually be spaced about six weeks apart. Remember, the the laser doesn’t actually remove the ink it only breaks up the pigment. Time will be needed for your immune system to get rid of the ink. If your immune system is compromised in some way, you may not be a good candidate for laser tattoo removal. Folks with diabetes or HIV may not be able to undergo laser treatments, and people that are taking medication that makes them sensitive to light may not be good candidates either. Talk to your doctor before you have laser tattoo removal performed, and be sure to let the technician preforming the procedure know of any medical conditions you may have.

Barring any unusual health conditions, you will be ready for laser tattoo removal after a thorough talk with your doctor. Usually, a topical anesthetic will be applied about a half hour before the treatment begins, although sometimes a local anesthetic is injected. It’s not unheard of for some patients to choose to use no anesthetic at all, but most are happy to have some numbness in the area being treated. The laser itself is used for quite a short time during a treatment, something like 30 seconds to a minute is all that is required during a single procedure.

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