Laser Tattoo Removal

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Tattoos have become prolific as a method of personal artistic and ideological expression over the years, as articulated by the fact that at least 40% of young adults have undertaken the feat of turning their skin into a shrine of art within the last decade. Sometimes they are quite meaningful, other times they are simply beautiful. However, as with any other work of art, one may get tired of the tattoo, and thankfully there is an effective method of making that canvas blank again!

WHAT IS LASER TATTOO REMOVAL?

Laser tattoo removal is a method whereby the tattoo ink that has been permanently thrust into the dermis may be eliminated. It is a much safer, less painful, faster, and less damaging alternative to older tattoo removal techniques (including acid removal and dermabrasion). That blank canvas is an attainable dream with this technology!

WHY LASER TATTOO REMOVAL AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Laser tattoo removal is a non-invasive treatment whereby tattoo pigment particles that are stored within the dermis are gradually broken down due to short-pulse laser light, and the smaller particles are eventually processed out by the body’s natural functions.  The ink will fragment when it absorbs the wavelengths of light from the laser, after which such fragments will be filtered out of the body.

WHAT CAN THE LASER TREAT?

While a tattoo on any part of the body may be targeted, laser tattoo removal is a precarious treatment, in that multiple unique factors relating to your body’s biology and tattoo will affect the success of treatment and the rate at which success can be attained. These factors include that age of the tattoo (the older the ink, the more treatments will be necessary), the depth of the tattoo (deeper tattoos require more treatments), the type of ink (composition and density of ink affect the effectiveness of treatment), the colors of the ink (multicolored tattoos are more difficult because the laser may not be able to target particular colors; it works best with darker colors), your skin type (darker skin types will likely need more sessions), your body’s immune response (a poor immune response will result in feeble processing of ink particles), and other such factors. Every client’s situation is specially unique, thus a tailored treatment plan will be made to match everyone’s aesthetics goals and needs.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM LASER TATTOO REMOVAL TREATMENT?

It is comforting to know what to expect with a treatment that includes an intense laser, so we have detailed pre- and post- treatment instructions below so our clients can come into their appointments confident and ready.

It is highly recommended to consult with one of our aesthetic professionals here at Lavande prior to booking your laser tattoo removal appointment, where a personal evaluation synthesizing your medical history and aesthetic goals should be completed. This is to determine the best course of action for your aesthetic needs, determine what treatment is best for your skin type, and to prepare you for your what is to come. We here at Lavande want to make sure you are a candidate for this treatment as well as confident about your decision to proceed.

In preparation, we may ask that you abstain from taking or applying any harsh medications (such as Accutane or Retinol), so as to avoid the occurrence of poor healing, pigmentation, or scarring from laser treatment. We may also ask that you abstain from taking bloodthinners or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as alcoholic drinks, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Fish Oil, Vitamin E, and others) to lower the risk of post-procedure bleeding. We will also ask that you refrain from getting direct sun exposure for about a week or 2 prior to treatment.

The treatment area will be examined by our skilled and knowledgeable practitioner before treatment, and private “before” pictures will be taken for comparison purposes and kept in your profile. Once examined, the treatment area will be prepared by being cleaned with antiseptics, and a topical BLT (Benzocaine, Lidocaine, Tetracaine) numbing agent will be applied to sit for 30 minutes.

During treatment, our provider will begin by determining the most strategic treatment plan that will adhere to your aesthetic goals and needs. Both you and the treatment provider should be equipped with the appropriate eye-wear before proceeding. Next, our provider will begin to gently glide the laser handpiece over targeted treatment areas, stopping to occasionally allow your skin to take a break from the heat of the laser.
Finally, an ice pack will be provided to clients to apply until they get home, in order to minimize pain and swelling. In total, the treatment should take about 15-45 minutes (depending on the size of the tattoo). By the end, our providers will assure that all client needs are met and all questions answered.
Recovery post treatment is an unique process. Often, immediately after treatment, a slightly elevated white film will be observed over the tattoo, and some clients might even experience pinpoint bleeding or blistering. This appearance will progress into a crust or a scab over the tattoo, which will dissipate in a week or 2 following treatment. The surrounding skin will likely have some redness as a residual effect of the treatment, which should subside by the next day. During this recovery process, the area will be quite sensitive, and it is highly recommended to avoid rubbing any product over the tattoo other than a standard wound-care dressing, or scrubbing the area at all until it has fully healed itself. It is a tender process, but well worth it at the end of it all!

WHEN WILL I SEE TREATMENT RESULTS?

While clients will be able to almost immediately see the fading of their tattoo post treatment, the coarse recovery process requires patience. After the 1-2 week recovery process, up to 7-8 weeks after the treatment session, further fading will be noted. After the passage of this time ,clients are able to return for their next session because the skin will have healed enough to be able to handle the next round.

WHAT RESULTS SHOULD I EXPECT?

This treatment permanently eliminates targeted tattoo ink, but is not known for completely eliminating tattoos 100%. The gradual process over multiple sessions will actively and visibly make the tattoo fade, and in many cases fade it to the point that it is no longer noticeable or detectable. However, due to the many different types of tattoo inks in the market, inability of the laser to effectively target certain ink colors, different depths of inserted ink, and other such unique factors, most tattoos will be faded about 80-90%. It is important realize that complete removal might not be attainable, but that results will still likely be quite impressive aligned with you aesthetic goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

While laser tattoo removal is known to be gentler as compared to its counterpart techniques (acid removal, dermabrasion), it is still considered a harsher laser treatment due the nature of removing tattoos. However, the pain felt is comparable if not diluted compared to the experience of getting the tattoo in the first place, so we consider it to be tolerable for our clients. Pain tolerances vary among clients, of course, and we try to mitigate any pain felt with particular procedures.

Due to the known discomfort associated with the tattoo removal process, our providers provide a topical anesthetic prior to treatment and a cold pack post treatment.

Preparation includes avoiding direct sun exposure for a week or 2 prior to treatment, abstaining from taking or applying harsh products (such as Accutane or Retinol), and avoiding bloodthinners. These precautions will ensure that the recovery process is smooth and devoid of unwelcome side effects such as bleeding, discoloration, or scarring.

Clients will need to take the utmost care of the treated area post treatment, as recovery time can take up to a couple week. Certain side effects such as redness of surrounding skin will subside within a day, but other side effects including the crusting or scabbing over the tattoo will take time to clear. Only standard wound-care products should be used on the area, and there should be no scrubbing of the area until recovery is completed. Clients should actively avoid direct sun exposure, and be diligent in applying a strong sunscreen at all times.

It is highly recommended to have multiple treatments to attain optimal results. Tattoo removal will normally take about 10-20 sessions to complete. The large gap in this estimate is due to the unique factors that will effect the treatment plan to achieve your aesthetic goals. This delicate process including multiple sessions must be undergone for success.

Our knowledgeable providers here at Lavande Spa can sit down with you and create a regimen that is right for you in order to make sure you achieve and maintain that blank canvas skin you’re looking for.

There are many side effects associated with laser tattoo removal that might seem excesive, but are not abnormal. Normal side effects include redness, swelling, inflammation, lingering heat, pinpoint bleeding, scabbing, crusting, and peeling. Less common, but still expected side effects include blistering, discoloration (hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation), scarring, and infection. Please contact us here at Lavande Spa if you have any concerns about side effects.