Had a tattoo done and no longer happy with it? Approximately 23% of people feel this way, it used to be that tattoos were permanent removing them would either leave scaring or just blur the image making it look even worse, thanks to laser technology this is no longer the case. Most people can now have their unwanted body art removed without a trace, through laser tattoo removal technology.
To understand how removal of tattoos is done we first need to know a bit about how tattooing works.
How does tattooing work?
The first tattoo machine was invented in the late 1800s by an inventor called Samuel O’Reilly, Samuel O’Reilly was actually a tattoo artist himself. His machine works by moving a solid needle up and down, this needle can penetrate the skin up to 3,000 times per minute. With each puncture it deposits a small amount of insoluble ink in what’s known as the dermis, the dermis is located about a millimeter below the skins surface. All this ink then connects together in the dermis layer which makes it permanent.
Unlike the skins outer layer which is called the epidermis, the dermis is stable. The epidermis flakes off and is constantly being replaced by your body but the dermis is permanent, when you look at your own or another persons tattoo your are actually seeing it beneath the outer layer of skin. Once ink has been injected into the dermis it is very difficult to remove.
The process of laser tattoo removal involves using high energy bursts of light to break up the ink, once the ink is broken up your body can remove it. It’s not suitable for all skin types and not painless, some patients say it feels like they are actually being tattooed again others say it is like being flicked with an elastic band, numbing cream can be applied to the area.
Below are answers to popular questions about laser tattoo removal.
How many treatments will it take?
The ink will not be gone with one laser tattoo removal treatment, it takes several sessions. How many sessions depends on several factors like the ink color, some colors are harder to remove than others. If you just have black ink the tattoo should be gone in 9 treatments, colored inks will take more treatments, the darker the color the easier it is to remove this means that as treatment progresses and the ink fades it becomes more difficult. Green is the trickiest color to remove.
Does laser tattoo removal work for all skin colors?
Normally but darker skin pigments can absorb more of the laser light which if not done properly can cause a change in skin color this is called Hyper pigmentation. Darker skin will probably require more treatments, this is because the laser needs to be started at a lower intensity.
How long do you need to wait between treatments?
Reputable clinics will build up the intensity of the light used, this means that to start with treatments will be spaced about 6 weeks apart and move up to around 12 weeks apart.
Other things to consider are that you cannot get the area wet even by sweating for 48hrs, this is to prevent the treated area from being infected. You cannot sunbathe or expose the treated area to sun during the treatment course. Laser removal is not possible for everyone, a good clinic will offer a free patch test. The patch test will ensure your skin and tattoo are suitable candidates for laser and let you see how it feels.
Laser tattoo removal treatment is not cheap and not everyone can be treated so be sure you won’t regret your tattoo after it is done, below are some laser alternatives
Excision – Involves having the tattoo actually cut out from your skin, it is then grafted over. Excision is relatively cheap; results are immediate but it will leave a scar.
Dermabrasion – In this procedure surgical sandpaper is used to break up the tattoo, the ink has been deposited in the dermis so removal of it involves removing your epidermis, the top layer of skin.
If you are considering getting your body art removed remember to make sure that you choose an established and reputable clinic, ask your prospective clinic about a free patch test this is necessary to ensure your skin type is suitable for laser tattoo removal treatment and you won’t be left with a scar.
About the author: This guest post was supplied by citytattooremoval.com, a London-based laser tattoo removal clinic.