The cosmetic dermatologists here at Skin Associates of South Florida have seen it so often.
What seemed like a good idea at the time no longer does. Maybe the person you were 20 years ago has changed. Maybe the person you thought was forever was not as permanent as your skin art seems. An estimated 21% of the adult population of America now sports a tattoo. One poll found that 14% will want it removed at some point Another found that 76% of people feel tattoos hurt their chances of getting a job.
There are any number of reasons why a tattoo might no longer suit, and you want it gone—now! But first, there are some things you should know.
1. How does a laser remove a tattoo?
First let’s understand how a tattoo works. Insoluble ink is injected into the middle layer of the skin, the dermis, where it remains permanently. A laser will break down that ink into micro-particles, which can then be absorbed by the body and flushed away by the immune system. Thus, it will take several weeks for this process to be effective. Don’t expect it to be gone when the treatments are finished. You will see a gradual fade, rather than instant results.
2. Will you be able to get rid of it completely?
Depending on the type of ink used, size, and placement on the body, you may get a “ghost” image of the tattoo, meaning it’s faded but still visible. Oddly enough, tattoos inked by amateurs may come out more easily because the ink applied by professional tattoo artists is usually injected more deeply and densely into the skin.
3. How many treatments will it take?
The tattoo may have been placed in a single sitting, but it will take numerous visits to Skin Associates because the removal must be done slowly and carefully. At least six to eight weeks between treatments is needed to allow the skin to recover and the ink to fade. The number of treatments and length of time will vary depending on the tattoo. The revolutionary new Enlighten picosecond laser by Cutera allows the board-certified dermatologists at Skin Associates of South Florida to remove your ink in less sessions than previously possible with older nanosecond technology.
4. Will it hurt?
Just as there was some discomfort when the tattoo went on, there will be most likely be some during the removal process. Much depends on the size, type, and locations of the tattoo. Like any other treatment individuals vary in their reaction to the laser. It may seem no more painful than a quick rubber-band snap, or it could become uncomfortable. Your board-certified dermatologist will offer you topical lidocaine cream applied to the skin and or injectable anesthesia to ensure that the process is a comfortable one.
5. Will there be any after-effects?
Common minimal effects seen after laser tattoo removal include crusting or blistering, perhaps some swelling or even temporary whitening of the skin or darkening of the tattoo. There is also a risk of some slight bleeding at the site, as with a pin-prick. Fortunately these effects nearly always subside within a week or two. Keeping the tattooed area moist with Vaseline and covered with a bandage will ensure proper and effective healing.
6. How much will it cost?
There are so many variables related to the laser removal of a tattoo, so it’s difficult to give a general estimate. Your board-certified dermatologist will cover this information with you at your initial consultation.
Please schedule an appointment today for a tattoo removal consultation with one of the expert board-certified dermatologists at Skin Associates of South Florida to learn how you can remove your unwanted ink with our state of the art Cutera Enlighten Picosecond Laser.