Laser Tattoo removal questions answered

Uncategorized | September 29, 2017

  1. How much does laser tattoo removal cost?

 

For most clients, pricing is a factor in their decision. In general, it costs about ten times as much to get a tattoo removed as it costs to have it applied, so there may be some sticker shock for some clients. Cheap tattoo removal is usually cheap because it either doesn’t work or can cause scarring. We try to keep our prices reasonable so that everyone and anyone can afford it. The technology used is expensive and will always be a factor in pricing.

Once the tattoo is gone, it’s gone forever. If you don’t like your tattoo, it’s a worthwhile expense.

 

  1. How long will it take to remove my tattoo?

 

The duration of the tattoo removal process is a concern for virtually all clients.

Some clients may wish to remove a visible tattoo before an event – such as their wedding or enlisting in the military. It’s important to establish upfront that tattoo removal is a process that relies on the body’s ability to eliminate ink from the skin.

It’s not unusual for the body to take over a year to eliminate ink. Setting expectations clearly upfront allows for clients to be satisfied throughout the experience – rather than feeling as if they were misled.

To allow the skin enough time to heal between treatments and the body’s immune system to flush away ink, we recommend a minimum of six weeks between laser sessions – and eight weeks for darker complexions. Stacking the treatments too close together can cause damage and permanent side effects to the skin and doesn’t allow the body enough time to remove the ink that was shattered at the most recent session.

Tattoo removal treatments fit along a bell curve – most clients will need between 8 and 12 treatments, some will see complete removal in 3 or 4, and others may need 12 or more treatments if there is significant scarring or layered tattoos.

The speed of removal depends on the client and their tattoo.

The following factors that affect the rate of removal:

  • Fitzpatrick skin type
  • Tattoo layering (if the tattoo is a cover-up)
  • Location on the body
  • Ink colors
  • Amount of ink (vividness of tattoo, if it was professionally applied)
  • Pre-existing scarring

There are also other factors, such as client health, that affect the speed of removal. If a client is young, physically fit, and has a strong immune system, they will tend to see results faster than an older client with health problems. B-12 injections, drinking a lot of water and exercising can help speed up the process, along with massaging the area (once healed).

 

  1. Does laser tattoo removal hurt?

Laser tattoo removal typically does involve some level of pain. That said, many say that it hurts less than they expected.

It’s a common belief that tattoo removal is excruciating, yet most clients say that the sensation of removal is comparable to having a tattoo applied. Common descriptions include the sensation of a rubber band snapping against the skin or bacon grease – basically it’s uncomfortable but bearable.

The most popular numbing method is a Zimmer Cryo 6, which is a powerful chilling machine that blows cold air on the skin before, during, and after treatments. It’s highly effective .Other options for numbing include good old-fashioned ice packs, lidocaine injections, or topical numbing creams.

 

  1. Does laser tattoo removal leave a scar?

Many clients are concerned about scarring from laser tattoo removal – they understandably want their skin to look as natural as possible after they’ve completed the tattoo removal process.

If the tattoo already features scarring, expect that to remain.

What many people don’t know is that any scarring that remains after a tattoo removal procedure is often left over from when the tattoo was originally applied by the tattoo artist.

When the proper laser protocols and client aftercare are utilized, it’s very uncommon for a client to scar from a Q-switched laser treatment. However, it is very common for a tattoo to feature pre-existing scarring from when it was applied.

When a Q-switched laser treats the skin, it targets and breaks down the tattoo pigment in the skin. If pre-existing scarring is present, it will break down this pigment within the scar tissue. Once the tattoo removal process is complete, the ink will have been eliminated from the location but any of the scarring from the original tattoo will likely remain.

Improper aftercare does pose a risk.

The risk for scarring, even if the treatment is performed properly, happens when clients fail to follow aftercare instructions. Blisters and scabs are common side effects that are important in the tattoo removal healing process. However, picking scabs or not caring properly for blisters can allow scarring to happen

 

  1. Can you help me revise a tattoo? 

Yes, we can provide support to clients looking for tattoo revision.

Clients that want their tattoo artwork revised fit into two categories:

  1. Selective removal
  2. Fading prior to a cover-up

Generally, selective removal clients want complete removal of the specific areas they want erased, but sometimes they want it faded in preparation for a cover-up tattoo.

Cover-up clients only want their tattoo faded down to make it easier for their tattoo artist to design a tattoo to be drawn in its place. Tattoo fading needs fewer sessions than complete removal. Often 3 to 5 laser sessions are adequate to fade the tattoo significantly and allow the tattoo artist to have a better canvas to work on.

 

  1. Are there side effects with laser tattoo removal?

Side effects are to be an expected part of the tattoo removal process for most clients. In fact, some side effects are an important part of the immune response that helps eliminate ink from the skin.

The most common side effects are:

  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Blistering
  • Scabs
  • Bruising
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hypopigmentation

If all the proper protocols are used based on the tattoo and the client’s skin tone, all of these side effects are temporary. Redness, tenderness, and swelling typically subside within a day or two following treatment. Blisters usually appear within 24 hours of treatment; sometimes the blisters are very large and may look alarming – this is completely normal. Scabs, bruising, and blistering may take up to a week or longer to heal.

Hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation occur when the body’s production of melanin is skewed after a laser treatment. With hyperpigmentation, the body overproduces melanin in reaction to the laser treatment, so skin in the treated area is darker than the natural skin tone. With hypopigmentation, the melanin is depleted by the laser treatment and the skin appears bleached. Both hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation are typically temporary and resolve naturally with time. Clients with middle to darker skin tones are at the greatest risk for pigmentation changes and should avoid sun exposure the weeks following each treatment.

 

  1. How does laser tattoo removal work?

 

Honestly, this is one of the least common asked questions on this list. Most clients are concerned about the results – not how the laser achieves them. Many clients have the misconception that the laser “burns” the tattoo ink out of the skin

As the light energy is directed into your skin, it is selectively absorbed by the tattoo ink particles trapped in the dermis of your skin. When the ink particles absorb this energy, they instantly shatter into tiny fragments. Once the laser has broken the ink into smaller pieces, your body’s immune system works to remove the ink over the following weeks, flushing it away from the tattooed area. We see the result of this as the tattoo lightening in appearance. Each additional laser treatment breaks down more and more ink until the tattoo can no longer be seen.”

We’ve seen that if a client is informed, they’re more likely to continue with treatment until completion, handle side effects properly, and be satisfied with their tattoo removal experience.

 

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