Tattoo ink is placed under the surface layer of the skin, which is a little difficult to remove with normal materials and often requires several laser sessions. Laser tattoo removal is a non-invasive procedure that uses laser beams to break down the pigments under the skin and has the least chance of damaging the cells around the pigment. Today, we mostly use different Q-switched lasers to remove tattoos. The advantage of this type of laser is that it emits intensive light energy to the skin in a very short time. After local anesthesia and cooling of the skin according to the color used in the tattoo, the type of Q-switch laser is selected and the shooting begins. By shining a laser beam, the dye used in tattoos is divided into smaller particles, and these particles are digested by cells of the immune system over time and taken away from the area. Age of the tattoo (passing at least one year of doing it), the use of dark dyes, and its being monochrome are among the factors that increase the efficiency and speed of recovery. Multicolored tattoos, light-colored tattoos, and samples that use metallic paints require more frequent sessions to be removed.
How to remove a tattoo
Laser tattoo removal is one of the few tattoo removal methods in which no incisions are made in the skin or exfoliation is performed, and instead highly concentrated light pulses are used to remove the tattoo.
Initially, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon will have a consultation with you to discuss a variety of issues with your treatment, including how many sessions it takes to remove a tattoo with a laser. However, laser tattoo removal is one of the most effective and safest ways to remove tattoos.
How to remove a tattoo with a laser
There are many factors involved in laser tattoo removal, including the type of ink used, the depth, the age of the tattoo, and the type and size of skin that has been tattooed. The color of the patient's skin as well as the depth at which the tattoo pigment is spread also affect the tattoo removal method. Generally, the following steps are taken during a tattoo removal session with new lasers:
Smaller tattoos require fewer pulses, but larger tattoos require more pulses. Patients do not need any general anesthetic. However, depending on the location of the tattoo and the patient's pain tolerance, the doctor will use a local anesthesia. Shortly after treatment, an ice pack is placed on the treated area to relieve the pain.
Precautions before laser tattoo removal
Please note the following:
- Avoid tanning or exposing the skin to direct sunlight for 2 to 4 weeks before treatment (including the use of tanning products).
- Shave the hair in the desired area 24 hours before removing the tattoo.
- Use over-the-counter local anesthetics 30 to 90 minutes before treatment, or follow the instructions for use, and then cover the skin with plastic wrap to prevent oxidation or peeling.
- Avoid using harsh allergens such as mechanical or chemical emollients on the tattoo site.
- Remove all cosmetics, lotions, and deodorants from the tattoo site.
Laser tattoo removal aftercare
Please note the following:
- To reduce bruising and swelling (if necessary), use an ice pack or cold compress several times a day on a gauze bandage and this can be continued from one hour to several days.
- To prevent infection, moisturize the treatment area with an antibiotic ointment to reduce the redness and sensitivity of the skin.
- Do not wash the area with hot soapy water for 24 hours as it may cause allergies and delay the healing process.
- Avoid strenuous exercise, sleeping in a hot tub and sauna for 2 to 7 days.
- Avoid sun exposure and wear SPF-30 sunscreen for 2 months.
- See your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: Infection at the treatment site, honey-colored blisters, skin rashes, or more redness; experiencing discomfort or abnormal bleeding; noticing any acute reactions such as fever, pimples, difficulty breathing, or other complications.