When most people get tattoos, they intend to have these tattoos for a lifetime. But there may be a few reasons why you may want to remove tattoos. Fortunately, laser tattoo removal is an ideal treatment to erase unwanted tattoos. At Franklin Skin and Laser in Franklin, TN, we know that laser treatments can remove all types of tattoos, including cosmetic tattoos and colorful tattoos.
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?
Laser tattoo removal is an advanced treatment that utilizes the power of laser light wavelengths to break up tattoo pigment in the deepest layers of the skin. Then, the power of your immune system finishes the job. This treatment is non-invasive and designed to not harm the surface of the skin, making it a good option even for those who have sensitive skin.
Laser Energy and Tattoo Ink
The first phase of your treatment will be the laser energy that is used to shatter the ink of your tattoo. Tattoo ink is generally inserted in the deepest layers of the skin. Laser energy is designed to penetrate the upper dermal layers to target tattoo pigment at the base of the skin.
When the heat from the laser makes contact with tattoo pigment, it shatters the ink layer by layer. Since tattoo ink is placed in multiple layers, you’ll need multiple exposures to the laser energy for effective tattoo removal.
Tattoo Ink and Your Immune System
Did you know that your body begins to reject the ink in a tattoo almost as soon as you get your tattoo? Your immune system recognizes tattoo ink as a foreign object and continually tries to remove this ink from your body, which is why older tattoos will fade naturally over time.
When the laser energy shatters the tattoo pigment in your skin, your immune system will respond by removing the shattered pigment more easily. This is why laser tattoo removal is so effective – because it uses your body’s elimination abilities to the fullest potential.
What Can You Expect From Treatment?
Usually, you can expect your laser treatments to take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete. The duration of your treatment will be based on your preferences, your tolerance level, and even the size of your tattoo. For example, if you find it more comfortable to do multiple short sessions, then you will be able to schedule shorter appointments. If you can tolerate longer appointments, then we will take this into account during scheduling.
Overall, these treatments are very comfortable. Based on your preferences, a topical numbing cream may be used to keep your skin comfortable during your treatment. There may be other tools we can use to keep your skin comfortable during your treatment, so please be sure to discuss all of your options with us.
What Should You Do Before Treatment?
Laser treatments are highly advanced, so it’s very important to prepare your skin for your appointment by following preparation guidelines. One of the biggest rules to follow is avoiding direct contact with the sun for at least two weeks to prevent hyperpigmentation. If you are planning to go outside, you should wear SPF 30 to 40 for skin protection.
What Should You Do After Treatment?
After your treatment, you may find that your skin is somewhat sensitive. You may have prescription antibiotics to encourage better healing. You may be instructed to use a simple moisturizer or aloe vera gel to soothe the skin after your treatment. Likewise, you need to continue avoiding direct contact with the sun for at least two to four weeks to protect your skin.
Immediately after your treatment, you will need to avoid hot water, steam, chlorine, saunas, and harsh skin cleansers or exfoliants for at least 48 to 72 hours. It’s also encouraged to drink plenty of water to help your skin recover more quickly from the treatment.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
The number of treatments you need to fully remove a tattoo will depend on several factors, but most people will be able to remove tattoos within six to 12 treatments.
One factor that may affect how many treatments you’ll need may be the density of the skin where the tattoo is placed. For example, tattoos that are placed on thinner skin will generally need fewer treatments to remove, while tattoos placed on denser skin will generally require more treatments. Other factors that will determine how many treatments you will need include:
New vs Old Tattoos
It takes more treatments to remove new tattoos than it takes to remove old tattoos. In part, this is because the pigment in a new tattoo is more vibrant and will require more treatments to completely shatter and remove, whereas older tattoos have already naturally faded and may be more responsive to laser energy.
Black vs Colorful Tattoos
As a rule, black and gray tattoos are much easier to remove than colorful tattoos. This has to do with the light wavelengths that are used to remove tattoos. For example, the ink that responds better to laser treatments includes red and black ink, while pigments that will be harder to remove include blue and green. Pastel colors are also harder to remove than darker colors.
Small vs Large Tattoos
Smaller tattoos will take fewer treatments to remove than larger tattoos, simply because there is less pigment to remove. Those who have very small or minimalist tattoos can generally get these tattoos removed in under six treatments most of the time, while those who have very large tattoos may require more than 12 treatments to fully remove the tattoo.
How Quickly Will You See Results?
You generally can see early results from your laser tattoo removal treatments about four to eight weeks after your first appointment. It’s important to remember that the results of this treatment are gradual, and it takes some time for your immune system to eliminate scattered pigment. To fully remove a tattoo, the process can take six to 12 months for longer.
Why Should You Consider This Treatment?
Getting a tattoo is a huge investment in both your time and money, so people who want to remove tattoos generally have a good reason for doing so. There are a few reasons why you may want to consider this treatment, such as:
If you have gotten a tattoo that has sentimental value, there may be a time when you have outgrown the sentiment. For example, quotes and phrases, names of loved ones, or other important symbols may lose meaning to you over time as you grow as an individual. This is a common reason to get rid of old tattoos.
Tattoo damage frequently occurs as a result of major injuries, burns, or surgery. Some tattoos can be repaired by placing new pigment over the injury, but other damages may not be so easily resolved. In the case of very damaged tattoos that tattoo artists cannot fix, it can be easier to simply remove the tattoo.
Some patients may want to remove tattoos to freshen the canvas of their skin. There’s a special technique used to partially fade a tattoo just enough to be able to easily place a new tattoo over the area. If you’re interested in using this technique so that you can get a new tattoo, please let us know during your consultation so we can plan your treatment accordingly.
Some occupations do not allow you to have visible tattoos, such as police work. For example, police officers are generally not allowed to have tattoos on the arms or lower legs, since these areas may be visible while in uniform. If you work in an industry where you cannot have visible tattoos, laser tattoo removal can be a good option for you.
Finally, tattoo errors often happen when words are involved. For example, if you have a tattoo in a foreign language, or if you have a quote tattoo, the possibility of misspelling means that you could have an error on your tattoo. Because it may be difficult to fix these errors, it may be easier to remove the tattoo and start again.
Remove Tattoos Easily With Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal is an effective strategy for people who want to remove tattoos for any reason. Modern lasers are advanced enough to be used on multiple types of tattoos, including tattoos that are newer, large, or very colorful. Please contact Franklin Skin and Laser in Franklin, TN to schedule your consultation today.