Essential Skincare Tips for Laser Tattoo Removal
You’ve finally decided to have that unfortunate tattoo removed. You’re not alone. As much as 10% of the U.S. population is tattooed, and as many as 50% of people eventually want to have laser tattoo removal. Happily, there’s good news for those who have an unwanted body design. Newer tattoo removal techniques can eliminate tattoos with minimal side effects. Even the most seemingly stubborn tattoos disappear with the latest innovations in laser technology, leaving that unsightly mistake nothing but a memory.
The Ins and Outs of Laser Tattoo Removal
How does laser tattoo removal work? The science behind laser tattoo removal is nothing short of magic. Laser tattoo removal works by targeting pigment colors in the skin’s dermis, the layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues. Light beams radiated by the laser are absorbed by tattoo pigments, which then fragment. The body then absorbs and eliminates the pigment fragments. The Q-switch is the most common type of laser used in tattoo removal. It produces pulses of light boasting an extremely high peak power. Several types of Q-switch lasers exist, and each one targets a different color spectrum at different wavelengths. Because Q-switch lasers are so precise and intense, tattoo pigments fragment instantly, resulting in minimal damage to the surrounding tissue.
Some people see results immediately. But most have to undergo a series of treatments before they see a significant difference. The number of sessions depends on the amount and type of ink used and how deeply it was injected. And you must wait three to six weeks between sessions to allow pigment residue to be absorbed by the body. But patience pays off when it comes to laser tattoo removal–before you know it, that tattoo will be long gone.
Take the Necessary Precautions
A day or two after a laser tattoo removal session, you can expect to see some blistering, crusting or scabbing. It’s rare for scarring to occur, and any scarring that does occur is most likely due to improper care between laser tattoo removal sessions.
You can do much to ensure your laser tattoo removal sessions are successful. Read on for aftercare tips to best protect and heal your skin.
Clean the area and use over-the-counter antibiotic ointment
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. Please be sure to use any over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, that is recommended to you after your laser tattoo removal session. You should apply the ointment to your skin three times a day, and cover your tattoo with a bandage for at least three days. By using cream and covering your tattoo, you are protecting the damaged and weakened skin from possible infection. After the three days, remove the bandage and expose the skin to air. This will help heal the area and prepare you for your next laser tattoo removal session. You can expect the scabbing to last one to two weeks.
Blisters are normal
Don’t be alarmed by blisters. Blisters typically appear eight hours or so after your laser tattoo removal session. Blisters are part of the normal healing process, and they’ll heal without a scar as long as you refrain from popping or picking at them. The formation of a blister indicates that your immune system is beginning to remove the ink in your skin and trying to heal it. It’s a good thing and no cause for panic.
Don’t pick at your skin
Don’t pick at any scabs, blisters or crusts that form after your laser tattoo removal session. Picking at the skin could result in permanent scarring and infection. You should allow your skin to naturally heal itself, and for the scabs and crusts to fall off by themselves. Peeling off scabs or crusts prematurely can resort in a whole host of problems, including pigment discoloration and infection.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
If you experience any type of discomfort or inflammation after the laser tattoo removal session, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol. Don’t take any medications containing aspirin; they can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. You may also apply an ice pack to the area 24 hours after the session. Itching can be treated with hydrocortisone cream, Aquaphor, or vitamin E ointment.
You should wear a sunblock with an SPF 30 or higher for at least three months after your laser tattoo removal session. This will help protect your sensitive skin from further damage, including severe pigmentation changes, infection and scarring. You also shouldn’t apply any makeup or anything else, such as perfumes or scented lotions, that might irritate the treatment site.
Be careful showering
Though you’re permitted to shower starting two hours after undergoing a laser tattoo removal treatment, you shouldn’t allow high pulsating water to hit the treated area. You also shouldn’t swim, soak in a bath, go into a sauna or hot tub until any and all scabs and blisters are fully healed. These areas of water contain a lot of bacteria, which could result in an infection and scarring.
Watch for abnormalities
If you experience any other discomfort than what’s listed above, such as mild bruising or tingling sensations similar to that of a sunburn, be sure to contact your healthcare provider. This may indicate an infection or adverse reaction to the treatment. Other early signs of infection include honey colored crusting and oozing or spreading redness.
Keep in mind that while side effects with laser tattoo removal are rare, they can still happen. Common side effects include infection at the tattoo removal site, incomplete pigment removal, hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, and scarring. Darker-skinned patients may also have a higher risk of experiencing post-procedural complications such as keloid scarring.
LaserAway Is Your Premier Provider of Laser Tattoo Removal Services
Interested in laser tattoo removal? The come to LaserAway. We’re proud to offer the most medical spa service options of any national skincare provider. LaserAway hires only the most highly-trained staff experienced and certified in administering laser and other dermatological procedures. What’s more, LaserAway uses the most innovative techniques and cutting-edge laser technology. LaserAway aims to make your laser tattoo removal experience comfortable, enjoyable and satisfying. If you want to set up a free, no obligation consultation, please email the LaserAway staff at LaserAway.net or call us at (888) 965-2737. LaserAway looks forward to uncovering a new you through laser tattoo removal.