Do you have a tattoo you’d like removed, but don’t know where to start? Rest assured you’re not alone. Thousand-and-thousands of people like yourself are regretting their tattoos. What are you options for removal? Luckily, doctors and scientists have spent years researching the best method to effectively remove unwanted tattoos. In this video you’ll see the laser tattoo removal process, as well as learn why tattoos are so hard to remove. Lasers have been used in the tattoo removal process since the early 1960’s. Laser technology has enabled practitioners and customers a variety of options to remove tattoos.
What is in tattoo ink?
Believe it or not there are many heavy metals used to develop tattoo ink. For instance, mercury is used to make the color red, lead is used for yellow, green and white. Nickel is used for black, and cadmium is used in red, orange, and yellow. Zinc and chromium are used for yellow, white and green. Cobalt for blue, aluminum for green and violet, titanium for white – copper for blue, and green. Additionally, iron is used for brown, red and black. As you can see, there are many toxic ingredients involved in making tattoo ink.
Are there any risks associated with laser tattoo removal?
As in any medical procedure there are always risks to consider. As we mentioned before, the heavy metals used in tattoo ink make it a contradiction for treatment to pregnant or breast feeding mothers. The laser that’s used effects various chromophores in the skin – bulk heating can occur resulting in scarring, pigmentation changes and possible infections.
We’re not trying to scare anyone, but it’s best to be informed beforehand. Enjoy the video and make sure to call our office with any questions or to setup a free consultation!
How to remove a tattoo
Removing a tattoo requires dedication, time and due diligence on the clients part. There are limited options for tattoo removal. Here at Maine Laser Clinic we support and promote laser tattoo removal. The procedure is relatively fast and simple to perform, however. The body requires time to achieve the most important aspect of the process and that’s to flush the ink out of the dermis and slowly fade.
How is this done? The lymphatic system does most of the work. There are tiny macrophages that digest the broken ink particles and dispose of them naturally. How does the laser break up the ink? The light-energy (laser) targets the color super-heating the ink until it shatters. This all happens in milliseconds and even nanoseconds. Think of a glass hitting the floor, shards fly everywhere. Now imagine someone bending down and taking a hammer to the remaining pieces – you are left with thousands upon thousands of tiny fragments. The same principle applies to tattoo removal.
The laser shatters the ink and the body disposes of the remaining ink particles. People often wonder if the process is painful. In short, the answer depends on their tolerance to stimulus. The “pain” associated with laser tattoo removal stems from the byproduct of “heat” – causing collateral warming that influences nerve endings. For example, when a young child puts their hand close to a hot stove sensors send signals to the brain alerting the child to react, consequently pulling away and hopefully avoiding severe burning.
There are ways to manage discomfort by cooling the area with local anesthesia, or topical creams and even cooling machines like the Cryo by Zimmer. We’ve found the most effective method (without injecting patients) is to ice the area prior to treatment. It’s simple and it works.
People often reference buying creams to remove their tattoos. Caveat emptor! There are products on the market that use misleading marketing tactics. The only true way to remove a tattoo is excision or the use of a laser. If you’re like most people, having a large scar from excision is worse than the actual tattoo. Do your research. Know what to expect and ask others who have had similar procedures.
People have to be ready to answer one question, “how bad do I want this tattoo removed?” If you conclude you need it gone, then we highly recommend laser tattoo removal.
AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS for tattoo removal
Proper aftercare is necessary to prevent infection, skin texture change, or other unwanted side effects. When you visit us at Maine Laser Clinic, we will give you aftercare instructions to take home after your treatment. Tattoo removal is a relatively simple outpatient procedure, but we take care to inform you of the important steps you can take to achieve a great result.
The laser tattoo removal treatment creates a superficial skin wound. Some patients may experience bruising or swelling. There is immediate whitening of the treated area, which usually lasts for several minutes. Many clients then develop blisters, crusts, or scabs within 8 to 72 hours, which may last for 1 to 2 weeks or more. The treated areas may be pink or pale after the scab separates. Scarring, which can be hypertrophic or even keloid, can occur but is exceptionally rare. Reduced or excess skin pigment in the treated area can occur, and is temporary except in very rare cases. Healing is usually complete within 4 weeks, although this may vary.
Steps to Follow
- Keep the treated area clean and dry while it is healing. Clean the area gently with soap and water and then pat the area dry. You may apply a thin coating of antibiotic ointment up to three times a day for 3 days while the area is healing and you should keep the area covered with a sterile dressing for those 3 days.
- Blistering is common and is likely to occur 8 hours after your treatment. Do not be alarmed, blisters heal very well and are part of the normal healing process. Blisters indicate your immune system is healing the area and beginning to remove the ink from your tattoo. It is natural for blisters to pop, and this helps the skin to heal faster in many cases. Continue to put antibiotic ointment over the blisters once they have popped for at least 24 hours.
- You may apply cool compresses as necessary for 24 hours after the laser treatment to help reduce discomfort and inflammation. You may take plain Tylenol, but avoid aspirin (it can increase the risk of bruising and/or bleeding.)
- Do not pick at the scab or allow the skin to become scraped, as this may result in infection and scarring. Shaving should be avoided in the treated area until it is completely healed.
- Feel free to shower 2 hours after the treatment, but take care to avoid high pressure water hitting the treated area. Baths, hot tubs, swimming pool, or any form of soaking are not recommended until all blistering and scabbing are completely healed, as they may increase the risk of infection.
- Exercise is generally safe after treatment, taking into account the other aftercare instructions provided here.
- Wear a sun block with an SPF of 25 or higher over the area for 3 months following the treatment. Do not wear makeup or any cream or medication on or near the treated area unless recommended by our office for 48 hours.
- Itching is very common due to the dehydrating effect of the laser treatment. Use Aquaphor, vitamin E ointment, or hydrocortisone cream to keep the treatment area moisturized.
- If the area looks infected (honey colored crusting and oozing or spreading redness), if you experience an unusual discomfort or bleeding, if any other complications develop, or if you have any questions or concerns, contact New Look immediately.
- Of course, if you have any extreme reaction, seek immediate medical attention.