Tattoo Removal: Everything You Need to Know

Tattoo removal and tattoos are one of those irreversible actions, that if not done right, we more often than not regret. That is especially true if we’re talking about tattoos that seem a great idea at first, like the ones teenagers get, or maybe others that are related to a person, because as you mature your taste will most certainly change, and that loved one whose name is on your skin might just become your ex.

For the ones of you who are experiencing this dilemma, laser removal is here to help solve all of these problems. It is the most widespread of the tattoo removal procedures for a reason, and that speaks for its’ efficiency among them. However, your knowledge about this topic is probably limited if you have not gone through it or performed it yourself. So if you’re planning on undergoing this operation, then keep reading through this article as we’ll be covering all aspects of it which in turn will help you make an educated decision.

tattoo removal

tattoo removal

What Is Tattoo Removal?

The process of tattoo removal consists of taking away a patch of a quasi-permanent ink that has been injected under the skin. Among all the different ways to remove a tattoo that is in use today, the laser method is the most popular by a good margin due to its’ efficiency, and it boasts an impressive success rate and profound side effects.

One should be aware that the removal of tattoo has been only recently possible, thanks to technological advancements that enabled such an operation to be widespread and relatively cheap. Before, if you had a tattoo done on your skin, it followed you to the grave.

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

What makes tattoo removal so tricky is the fact that ink particles are sturdy. The body of a person with a tattoo is always trying to clean that patch of skin because it recognizes it as a foreign object. However, it just isn’t able to, and the reason behind that is that white blood cells, the ones in charge with this mission, are tiny against the threat which makes them fail horribly in doing damage. Eventually, they have a slight long-term eroding effect, which causes the tattoo to fade out a bit after an extended period.

The ink particles are so resilient that the laser removal process can’t be successful with just any type of laser, such as the one used for hair removal. Instead of a particular class, known as the ultra-short pulse laser is utilized to obtain satisfying results. It delivers short, brief bursts of high heat to dismantle the pesky ink, hence the name.

The color of the ink is a factor in determining the right wavelength for the laser to work because different shades absorb different light waves. Thus a colorful tattoo will require multiple adaptors of the laser to be dealt with in a satisfactory matter. After this process is done, this is where the immune system gets its’ time to shine. The broken apart particles of ink are not on par with the size of the white blood cells, thus can be taken to the liver and filtered out of the body for good.

How Effective Is Laser Tattoo Removal?

In general, this procedure is a valid measure to get rid of an unwanted tattoo, and most people who go through have satisfying results. However, it might prove to be quite a lengthy operation, as it takes multiple sessions in a legit removal shop to entirely eradicate it. Anywhere between six and twelve visits are the standard, although resilient or complicated cases might sometimes take more.

In the time between every session and the next, six weeks is the minimum period required for your body to recover from the procedure. Since the laser only breaks apart the ink, your body will then handle the process of getting rid of the remainings and heal the damaged skin.

A darker skin tone will necessitate an even longer time to fully get back to tip-top shape, which is somewhere between eight weeks and three months. This is to make sure that the skin is completely healthy again and ready for the next training session. Some of the factors that influence the numbers of visits required include:

The Color of the Tattoo

The effectiveness of the laser treatment is highly dependant on the color of the tattoo. Darker shades of colors are more rapidly broken down than lighter ones, thus taking fewer visits overall. It might sound like the opposite is more logical. Well, you might think the situation is analogous to stains on a piece of clothing, in which dark-colored have a much higher chance of leaving unremovable stains compared to lighter ones. However, ink and lasers work quite differently than stains and stain removers.

The laser is just a type of light that is amplified before emission, and it’s a known fact that dark colors absorb the most light, thus when hit by the radiation, it will be most effective on them. The contrasting shades are somewhat reflective of view, which means much of the laser rays will be deflected and lose their efficiency. That’s why more sessions will be needed for the more resilient shade, notably yellow and pink.

Some types of tattoo colors, namely fluorescent ink ones, alternatively known as blacklight or UV tattoos, are so stubborn, because of their extreme reflectiveness, that they might prove impossible to remove. And even though they are hardly visible in normal light, you might not want them to show up each time you’re in the dark; there exist some other procedures you might like to try.

tattoo removal stages

tattoo removal stages

Location of the Tattoo

The spot on your body where the tattoo, like wrist, resides impacts directly its’ longevity. The more blood circulation near the place, the quicker the fading will occur. This is why the ones that are on the edge of the limbs, thus as far as possible from the heart, are the ones that keep their original shine the longest. The healing process is prolonged in the same fashion as well, so the difficulty of the removal of the tattoo will be affected a lot.

Age of the Tattoo:

The older is the tattoo in question, the fewer sessions you need to remove it, as the fading that is associated with the elapsed time works in favor of fading away from the ink. So a tattoo from your younger years will be relatively easy to remove as opposed to the one you just got recently and regret already, so be wary of that whenever you’re getting a new.

Effective, Yet Takes Time

Although it may take a long while before that pesky patch of ink is removed from your body, rest assured that it will eventually be something from the past. The success rate of this procedure is close to one hundred percent, so if you have the urge to get rid of a particular tattoo that is no longer wanted, you might as well go ahead and do it.

Just put in mind that the time it takes before the process is done is lengthy. For example, through a standard case of eight sessions and six weeks of healing in between, you’re looking at almost a full year of waiting before the final results are reached.

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?

When either getting a tattoo or removing one, the question is not whether it hurts or not, although it is asked quite often, but rather how much does it bother? Because it is evident that there is a lot of unpleasant physical sensations involved in the process. Applying laser to the skin might not seem like a painful process but let us remind you that laser is high-energy hot radiation so that it will trigger your skin’s pain sensors.

It all depends on each one’s tolerance for pain. It ranged from a slight ache to the suffering of getting a new one. Thus, the resulting experience is varied, and you will have to try for yourself to know for sure. However, one thing is sure, the pulsating laser rays feel like a rubber band hitting the skin over and over again in a quick manner.

The procedure might also leave some residual discomfort in the form of a blister or a burn, though not quite comparable in intensity, yet strong enough to annoy. However, you already went through the pain of getting it in the first place, and it cannot, in any case, surpass it, so you can easily muster up the courage to put up with this process and get over it without batting an eye even.

tattoo removal infographic

tattoo removal infographic

Can You Re-Tattoo Over a Lasered Area?

There is a considerable number of people out there who want to undergo a tattoo removal procedure to get rid of a specific tattoo that is now unwanted yet still want to get more tattoos or even replace it with a new one. In such a situation, this question often comes to mind, because some of us don’t want a whole patch of skin that is no longer suitable for tattooing.

Well, if this is your case, you don’t have to worry about the repercussions of this operation, because any skin that you have laser removal applied on will always be ready for new tattoos. Cover-Ups utilize this method often because a faded ink is a lot easier to camouflage with an original drawing and it’s not possible to distinguish from healthy skin.

This is entirely logical because when you remove an old tattoo, as we explained previously, you are just breaking down the ink particles, and that does not prevent you from inserting some more all over again, although it might infuriate your immune system.

Scarring’s Another Story

The exception to the fact above is if the treatment ever causes any scars because they might pose a challenge when tattooing over,check other useful articles about tattoos in our website. After the procedure, the skin where the operation took place should be adequately taken care of, because even though the probability of having a scarred tissue afterward is low, it is significantly higher if you omit these instructions.

In the rare case that scar tissue is developed, the tattoo artist might face a tough challenge to deliver a new tattoo over the non-uniform skin, because a bumpy surface will affect the distribution of the ink making the process trickier. This might result in a symbol that doesn’t live to your expectations, and that’s why you need to pick the artist with an attention to the skill level and familiarity with these cases.

To add more insult to injury, this situation makes the experience even more hurtful, which may dissuade some people from having it in the first place. On the other hand, most are not intimidated by such a fact because while the pain intensity is higher, it is by no means unbearable.

What Are the Risks of Getting Laser Tattoo Removal?

Even though some side effects of this operation exist, it is entirely safe, and you totally shouldn’t worry particularly if you go to an experienced removal shop that has the adequate equipment. But you have to be aware of nevertheless, so here are the most pertinent ones:

Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation

This is the most frequent side effect, which is a variation in the skin’s pigmentation, which is notably visible in darker skin tones. This causes the recovering skin to be either too dark or too light, relative to the surface around it. In either case, the patch ends up having a noticeably different tone, contrasting the rest of the body, and it might wind up being blotchy. This case is due to the face that the body might erroneously by providing an amount that is either too little or too much of melanin for the affected area.

To clear up the confusion, this is undoubtedly not a health effect, preferably a purely cosmetic one. Nevertheless, you have to weigh in this possibility as it might be unpleasing to have a non-uniform skin. Luckily though, these two conditions are only temporary, and they eventually fade away after a year at most.

Skin Sensitivity:

This method involves some dangerous attacking of the skin, which might put a strain on it, especially if it is sensitive. Swelling and redness are familiar sights post-procedure, and blistering and bruising are not uncommon either.

Even more so, during the recovery process, the threat of getting an infection is higher through the treated patch of skin.

This issue is also temporary, as the healing of the skin will take place and restore the original resilience of a healthy membrane.

Scarring:

Even though its’ odds of happening are extremely low, it is a real threat that should be held in mind when dealing with this procedure. The reason we emphasize this particular side effect is that is the only one among them which is permanent. That’s why there exist proper measures to undertake to ensure the efficiency of the recovery process.

If you mess with the vulnerable skin or you get a blister, and you don’t treat it correctly, it will cause a permanent mark, so make sure that you take good care of it through the healing period.

Is There a Safer Alternative?

Even if these threats might worry you, remember that laser tattoo removal is the safest method among the ones that exist today that include either removing the skin or peeling it off, which put you at even higher risk. Thus, if you’re too concerned over health issues to go to treatment sessions, you have to learn to live with your tattoo then!