Tattoos are meant to be a lifelong commitment to an image or phrase, but people change. Thankfully, if you do regret a tattoo or two, laser tattoo removal is a readily available treatment.
Lasers have become one of your dermatologist’s preferred tools for treating everything from acne to skin cancer. But they are also the most effective way to remove tattoos. When tattoo ink is exposed to the right wavelengths of laser light, the pigment colors within it is broken down. Since black ink absorbs all kinds of light, it is the easiest to treat. Other colors require different wavelengths, so you need to plan ahead and have a consultation with a dermatologist. There are other factors at play in how your laser tattoo removal will go, including where the tattoo is and how old it is.
Much like getting a tattoo, laser tattoo removal is not a painless process. But the procedure doesn’t cause too much discomfort, and your doctor can apply topical anesthetic to the treatment area. Depending on the size and color complexity of your tattoo, your number of sessions will vary. Even for simple black line tattoos, multiple sessions are necessary. Treating the tattoo all at once is not possible, but it should lighten with each pass and session. Eventually, your tattoo (and any accompanying regrets) will be gone! Sometimes, even in the hands of a dermatologist, side effects may occur. They are minimal and generally temporary and include changes to your skin texture and color.
Laser tattoo removal is offered by a lot of people with a variety of backgrounds. Some tattoo shops even offer laser tattoo removal. But not everyone delivers the same degree of service you can trust. A dermatologist is a trained and licensed medical professional with your health as their priority. Laser tattoo removal is not right for everyone. A dermatologist is keenly aware of the possible side effects and harm laser tattoo removal can cause some people. A spa or tattoo shop may not consider your health when performing laser tattoo removal. With untrained, non-medical individuals, the likelihood of side effects is far greater. Permanent scarring and painful burns can occur if laser tattoo removal isn’t performed properly. Additionally, laser tattoo removal equipment is not cheap. If a spa or tattoo shop has this equipment, it’s likely it’s not very up to date. Additionally, getting different colored light is harder than it sounds. The technology to remove certain colors is very precise, and a skilled dermatologist knows how to find that color and has the technological means to. Many tattoo shops and spas may only have a single spectrum laser that can remove black ink and nothing else.
Laser tattoo removal is a long-term process, but it works very well. People promising quick results are being dishonest, as there’s nothing out there that can deliver better results than laser tattoo removal. Online tutorials might recommend dangerous alternatives to professional tattoo removal, like rubbing the tattoo with a salt paste. This will not remove your tattoo and can cause skin irritation and infection. There are over-the-counter tattoo removal creams available as well, but the FDA has not evaluated any of their claims to remove tattoos, and many experts are dubious of their ability to even fade a tattoo in the slightest. They contain harsh chemicals that, while used in skincare, can cause reactions and irritation when applied at home. Tattoos are made to be permanent, so at-home solutions aren’t going to make a meaningful dent in their appearance.
While tattoos can be beautiful statements about you, they can also be ugly reminders of your past. If you’re looking to have a tattoo removed, reach out to the specialists at New England Dermatology Associates.
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