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Laser Tattoo Removal Guide

Tattoos have had a long history, with some archeological evidence of primitive tattoos in 4th century BCE. The concept of the modern tattoo, and the etymology of the word was said to have been introduced to Europe by the famous explorer James Cook after his voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand from natives that he saw on his expedition. Currently, tattoos are incredibly popular, and what was once considered fringe are seen very commonly these days.

Most tattoos are considered to be permanent. Until tattoo removal procedures, proper tattoos were irreversible, which caused regret in some people who had a change of heart. Modern tattoo removals provide a way for people who have regrets to go back on their decision, so to speak. Through a process called selective thermolysis, lasers target the dyes that are in the tattoos leaving the other skin undamaged.

Is laser tattoo removal a painful procedure?

Laser tattoo removal can cause a mild pain when the laser light hits. The most used description about lasers is that it feels like a rubber band slapping the skin. The pain is typically mild, but local anesthetics can be used if that is preferred.

What kind of expectations should I have?

Laser tattoo removal will effectively lighten the tattoos if not remove them entirely. This will typically take a few sessions, more if they have multiple colors. Certain tattoos respond better than others.

What are the risks of complication?

Risk of complications is low for this procedure. Scarring and pigmentation problems are the most common of the problems associated with this procedure.

What should I expect after the operation?

Swelling and blistering is common immediately following the operation and may last for a few days. Scabs, if they form should resolve in two weeks. Tattoos will continue to lighten for up to 8 weeks. During the recovery period, sun protection is important to minimize any unwanted color changes.

Are multiple treatments required?

Tattoo removals often require multiple treatments. Some factors that influence this are whether the tattoo job was done professionally or not, and how many different colors are tattooed. Doubly treated tattoos are also more difficult to remove. Complete removal is not always possible, but even in these cases, with multiple treatments, significant lightening can be expected.

What types of lasers are used to treat tattoos?

Different types of lasers are used to remove different types of tattoos. These are some commonly used lasers:

Q-switched Ruby Laser:

This is the standard treatment for black and blue tattoos and is one of the most popular lasers for removing tattoos. They are

less effective for red and yellow colors.

Q-switched Nd: YAG:

This laser is similar to the Ruby laser, working most effectively for black tattoos. One advantage is its flexibility in treating darker skinned individuals as well as its ability to treat red and orange tattoos depending on the settings of the laser.

Q-switched Alexandrite Laser:

This laser is used primarily to treat green tattoos. Some people will find that the texture of the treated skin changes after treatment.

Flashlamp Pulsed Dye Laser:

This laser is used to treat red, purple, orange, and other lighter colored tattoos. It can sometimes cause bruising.