It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, you’re not so fond of that tattoo. The good news is that your tattoo doesn’t have to be permanent -- it can be significantly or completely erased with laser treatment. But how do you choose your tattoo removal provider so that your skin stays healthy and unmarked while your tattoo disappears? Learn some tips to help make your decision easier and effective.
Removing a tattoo is tricky because the ink is injected beneath the top layer of skin. Laser treatment for tattoo removal is an optimal choice because the laser can accurately target the area needing treatment without affecting the surrounding skin. A Q-switched laser is considered to be the most effective of the laser treatments. It sends out energy in one pulse, heating up the ink of the tattoo so that it dissolves, and your body can absorb the ink. You will need a series of treatments to completely remove your tattoo -- typically 6-8 sessions with 6-8 weeks in between each treatment. A tattoo artist layers the ink in your skin, so each laser treatment dissolves another layer of the ink. Your skin also needs time to absorb the dissolved ink and to heal before the next laser treatment. If you have a newer tattoo, a multi-colored tattoo, or darker skin, your tattoo will be harder to remove. Also, expect your tattoo may not be completely removed, but significantly faded so it is barely noticeable. During the treatment, the laser technician will start by applying a local anesthetic to your skin so that is is numbed. The length of time of the laser treatment depends on the size of your tattoo, but all tattoo removal treatments are outpatient procedures. Your skin will probably be irritated post-procedure and will likely blister, bleed, or swell. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream to hasten the healing process. The American Academy of Dermatology says that you should keep the area covered and moisturized immediately after the procedure, and protect it from sunlight for 3 months.
It is important that you use a specialist in tattoo removal, such as a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or a certified tattoo removal clinic to perform the tattoo removal. At-home-treatments (like salabrasian), topical creams, spas, and salons are not recommended for tattoo removal. Salabrasian can be extremely painful and result in infection or scarring. The FDA warns against at-home treatments and creams because they haven’t been proven to be effective and often contain strong acids that can cause burns and scarring. Spas and salons don’t have staff that are qualified to assess if you are a good candidate for tattoo removal. Specialists will have a consultation with you first, reviewing your medical history and ensuring you don’t have pre-existing condition (like eczema or herpes) that could cause a laser treatment to damage your skin or exacerbate your health condition. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons are also able to prescribe medications like antibiotic creams or antivirals to prevent a herpes flare-up.
Are you ready to have that tattoo removed? Contact Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area to schedule your consultation with a board-certified and experienced specialist. The doctors and licensed estheticians at Vanguard will provide you with the excellent care you desire for your dermatologist laser tattoo removal.