How many treatments are needed and how often?
The number of treatments required for laser tattoo removal can vary depending on various factors, including the size, color, location, and age of the tattoo, as well as individual characteristics such as skin type and the type of laser used.
On average, it can take between 5 to 15 treatment sessions to remove a tattoo completely. However, it’s important to note that complete removal may not always be possible, and some tattoos may only fade partially. The treatments are usually spaced 6 to 8 weeks apart to allow the skin to heal between sessions and to give the body enough time to eliminate the fragmented tattoo ink.
During each treatment session, the laser emits high-intensity light pulses that break down the tattoo ink into smaller particles. Which, are then gradually cleared away by the body’s immune system. The number of treatments required for an individual can be determined by the tattoo removal specialist or dermatologist after assessing the specific tattoo and considering the factors mentioned earlier.
What color tattoos respond best?
Black and blue respond the best while red, purple, or orange present more of a challenge also. Yellow is perhaps the most difficult since it tends to reflect the laser light rather than absorb it. A large number of sessions are required to see fading.
What should I expect immediately after treatment?
Immediately after your session, the treated area will have a whitish/grey or red discoloration with pinpoint bleeding and some oozing and blistering. Swelling lasting several days is not unusual. The area treated will remain; icing and application of an antibiotic ointment. The practitioner will apply antibiotic ointment and dry dressing immediately following the treatment. Visible improvement or any change will be seen when healing is complete, generally, a few weeks proceeding treatment. At times, 6-10 or more treatments for complete clearing.
What is the recommended care after the procedure?
- Ice, wrapped in a soft cloth. Should be applied to the treated area to reduce discomfort, swelling, or any inflammation.
- No rubbing, scratching, or picking of the treated area.
- Avoid sports which may cause excessive sweating as well as tight clothing that may cause pressure.
- No sun exposure during the entire duration of treatments. SPF 30 or higher is recommended if sun exposure cannot be avoided.
- Clean the treated area daily with mild soap and water and gently pat dry. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment, such as polysporin or bacitracin, twice a day and cover with dressing. Generally 7 to 14 days.
- Tylenol may be used for discomfort if necessary. Avoid aspirin.
What are the contraindications of laser tattoo removal?
- An infected tattoo site
- Tanning – avoid sun 4 weeks before the treatment
- Avoid using photosensitivity medications 1 week before treatment, except for accutane, which requires a wait time of 6 months minimum.
- If a person has any medical conditions like skin disorders, heart problems, cancer, seizures, or immune system disorders, it is not advisable to undergo laser removal treatment. In such cases, clearance from one’s primary physician is necessary before proceeding with the procedure.
Herpes simplex virus 1,2 patients must begin prophylactic medication 1 week before treatment.
What are the possible side effects?
Side effects of laser tattoo removal are rare but may include blistering, infection, loss of skin color, or scabbing. If scabbing occurs, it usually subsides within two weeks. In most cases, the skin returns to normal.
Are there any guarantees for laser tattoo removal?
There is no guarantee, warranty, or assurance regarding the outcome or any improvements to your condition due to this procedure. Complete tattoo removal is not always possible. Tattoos are meant to be permanent.
These are the frequently asked questions about laser tattoo removal. If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo removed you can book a free consultation using our NLSC app or use our online booking on our website.