Has the decision you made many years ago to get a tattoo beginning to seem like it wasn’t the best idea? If that sounds like you – don’t worry! Lots of us will find ourselves in this position as we grow older, and our interests and our bodies change. You can make those unwanted tattoos disappear with laser tattoo removal, so you can feel confident in your skin. But is it safe? Read on to find out more.
How does tattoo removal work?
Tattoo removal is carried out by lasers that break down pigments within the skin that were inserted when the tattoo was carried out. When the ink pigments from your tattoo are broken down, your immune system will then process them out of your body, and this is when your tattoo will begin to fade, and eventually disappear.
Various lasers can be used during this process, such as the LightSense laser system which uses low levels of energy, meaning it is gentler on the skin and leaves no trace of scarring. Pico and Q-switch technology are sometimes used, but these lasers work by heating the skin as a way of breaking down ink, so they can result in long-term scarring, as well as discolouration.
When opting for tattoo removal, you will begin the process by having a consultation with a qualified clinician regarding your tattoo. The removal may take a few appointments before it is completely gone, but this all depends on a few factors, which we will look at below.
What should you expect during the process?
When you’ve booked to have your tattoo removed, you will attend an appointment to get the removal process started – this shouldn’t last more than an hour or so. During the appointment, you may feel slight pricking, but if your clinic uses the most up-to-date practices, you shouldn’t feel much more than that. When your appointment is over, you will be asked to come back in 6-8 weeks for your next appointment – your skin needs to heal before you can continue – the removal process cannot be rushed!
There are a few factors that determine how long it will take for your tattoo to fade, for example, if your tattoo is full of colour, some colours are harder to remove than others. If your tattoo has been done professionally, this can also make it harder to remove as the ink will be deeper beneath the skin. However, if your tattoo is positioned close to your heart, you have a better chance of it disappearing more quickly, as circulation can help the process.
Is tattoo removal safe?
If you choose the correct method, tattoo removal is completely safe, and is a great way to get rid of any unwanted artwork. You should check that your clinic is reputable before you decide to make an appointment, read reviews, enquire about the methods they use, and you could even ask to see some before and after photos. You should research the types of lasers that are recommended and safe so that you have peace of mind that you’re receiving high-quality treatment.
Some methods of tattoo removal are simply outdated and should not be used – you should stay clear of anyone offering dermabrasion, which is essentially rubbing away the skin around your tattoo – this is dangerous, can leave scarring and is not effective. You should also avoid tattoo removal creams. These creams may be cheap, but there’s a reason for that! They can cause harm to your skin and leave permanent damage and there’s no guarantee that they’ll remove your tattoo either. Laser is always best.
What about aftercare?
After your procedure, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you give your tattoo removal the chance of working as best possible. You should be sure to give your body a boost so that it can get rid of the ink particles the laser has broken up more easily. You can do this by staying hydrated to help your lymph system flow, eating a balanced diet filled with vitamins and minerals to allow for optimised results, as well as stopping smoking and excessive drinking. You should also protect the area around the tattoo with moisturising sun cream with a high SPF.