Tattoo Removal 101

Tattoos can be meaningful ways to express yourself. Whether you are honoring a close family member or illustrating a passion of yours, tattoos are ideal for exhibiting different sides of yourself. However, sometimes once-adored tattoos turn into a bad decision and should be removed. Here are the details on tattoo removal.

Level your expectations

            Tattoos can be removed either by lasers, dermabrasion or excision. Lasers are typically the most effective in removing most of, if not all, of the tattoo. Understand that oftentimes tattoos are not entirely removed. It is possible that there will be a faded image left and possibly raised scarring.

            Multiple treatments for tattoo removal will be required. It is essential that you wait for six to ten weeks between sessions in order to avoid any unwanted symptoms like skin irritation and open wounds.

Know the process

            During laser tattoo removal, the laser energy breaks the ink of the tattoo into smaller pieces. These pieces are then removed by the lymphatic system. The laser will not damage the skin around the tattoo.

For most individuals, the procedure is considered safe. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, this treatment is not viable. Make certain that you discuss your entire health history with your tattoo removal specialist before beginning the procedure.   

Your tattoo details matter

            The location of your tattoo is a big factor in how well it will be removed. In general, those located further down the arms and legs, like ankles and hands, tend to fade slower. This is because it is farther away from the heart, and those parts of the body have poorer blood circulation.

Whether your tattoo was done by a professional artist or an amateur will affect your removal results. Some factors involved will include how deep the ink is embedded into your skin and the colors that were used. When done by a professional, the ink tends to be deeper in the skin in a uniform manner and can be easier to remove. However, professional tattoos also contain more ink, which could make the process more difficult.

Tattoos created with white ink may darken because of oxidation after a laser treatment. This can generally be fixed with continuing treatments. Colors like red and yellow tones are more difficult to remove while darker ones, like black and blue, tend to be easier. On those with darker skin, the risk of hypo-pigmentation rises as pigment from your skin may deplete from the laser.

The aftermath

            There are several symptoms to expect after a tattoo removal treatment. As previously stated, a common side effect is hypo-pigmentation, especially amongst those with darker skin. However, this will eventually go away with time. You may be left with a bit of scarring post-treatment. Other possible side effects include infections, burns, and changes in your skin’s texture. You may also exhibit blisters, bleeding, redness and swelling. Again, these are typically temporary and should decrease within a few weeks.

Tattoo removal is a great option if you are unsatisfied with your tattoo. If you have more questions about the process, visit our tattoo removal FAQ page, or contact Elias Dermatology at 954-388-2842 for more information.