Tattoos have been around for many centuries and throughout the past decades, they became more and more widespread and accessible. This leads to many of us living with the opportunity first and only thinking later. While a regrettable tattoo is not the end of the world, if it is something that really bothers you, you probably wish it was gone; just in Australia, 34% of the people who have at least one tattoo are regretting going under the needle. Luckily, nowadays, getting rid of an unwanted motif is more than possible. However, before diving in head-first, here are a few things you should know about tattoo removal.
The Types of Tattoo Removal
In the past, trying to get a tattoo removed posed a great risk of leaving a scar. Methods such as dermabrasion, salabrasion and even surgery were used, but today, they are almost completely replaced by laser technology. Early laser technology still left much to be desired, though. The procedure was painful and often caused scarring. Today, however, specialists use medical-grade Q-switched lasers which pose much lower risks of scarring and are the safest way of removing a tattoo.
How it Works
How lasers can remove a tattoo might still be a mystery to many. To put it simply, the laser beam targets the ink particles through a process called selective photothermolysis. The ink particles under the skin are heated up to a point where they simply break down – this does not damage the surrounding tissue in the process. Some of the ink leaves through the surface of the skin, while some gets absorbed as it’s broken down and it gets slowly flushed out of your system. Today, all colours can be removed from your skin, however, different colours require different lasers to remove.
It Won’t Happen Instantly
As said, the particles that are broken down are absorbed and flushed out of your system slowly. Add to this the fact that laser treatment causes irritation to your skin, and you can probably guess that your tattoo will not disappear magically after one session of laser treatment. If the process is rushed, there is a higher chance of scarring, so you will have to deal with the pace your clinic prescribes you. The number of sessions necessary to remove a tattoo depends on various individual factors, such as the type and size of the tattoo, its age, what body part it is on and how your skin reacts to the procedure. It takes at least 6 sessions for a tattoo to be completely removed, but the number of sessions necessary can be as many as 15 or even 20, too, with up to 8 weeks between each session to allow for regeneration.
There is Some Pain Involved
A lot of people are concerned about the procedure being painful. While there is some pain involved, a reliable clinic will do everything in their power to minimize this unpleasant feeling with numbing creams, ice packs or even local anesthesia, if necessary. However, the area might still sting after your treatment session is over and there might be some discomfort.
Possible Risks Involved
While laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective tattoo removal method out there, it still needs to be done well and with care to reach the desired results. There are some risks of scarring involved, as already mentioned. There is also a possibility of hypo or hyperpigmentation on the affected area, however, you can minimize these risks by taking proper care of your tattoo between the sessions. Since you want to minimize the risks as much as possible, make sure you only go to reliable laser clinics. For instance, if you’re in Australia and looking for tattoo removal in Sydney, do some research and check out the reviews of the clinic of your choice.
How long the recovery period will last after the removal greatly varies among individuals. As mentioned, proper aftercare between each session is paramount to minimizing the risks. You will be told to apply ointment on the tattoo and not to rub it to prevent irritation. Try not to scratch the area, but apply a cream with vitamin E if it’s itchy. You will need to avoid clothes rubbing against the tender area, too, so you might need to find specific clothes to wear depending on where your tattoo is located. Make sure you protect the skin from the sun, too, by applying sunscreen.
The Price Varies Depending on a Lot of Factors
Since every tattoo and every person is different, it is difficult to tell how much your tattoo removal will cost. Laser tattoo removal, in general, is not cheap, and if your tattoo requires many sessions, you might end up spending a large amount of money. This is a great reason to carefully consider every tattoo you want to get before deciding to get inked.
As you can see, effective tattoo removal is a completely viable option, even if it takes a while to complete. If this is something that you really want, it’s more than worth it. Just make sure you choose a good clinic and you won’t have anything to worry about.