Tattoos are lifelong commitments of art on our skin – or so we’re told. The truth is that you don’t have to live with a tattoo you aren’t happy with for the rest of your life because there are options for fixing it. One common option is simply covering the tattoo up with another. But at Rejuvené MD in El Paso, TX, we know the better option is laser tattoo removal.
How Long Does Laser Tattoo Removal Take?
The first thing you should know about laser removal is that it will take longer to remove the tattoo than it does to get the tattoo in the first place. Why? The simple explanation is that while a tattoo deposits pigmented ink into the sub-dermal layers of skin, removal of the tattoo requires stripping these pigments away, which may take more time the more complicated, large, and colorful the tattoo is.
Generally speaking, there are two aspects of removal treatments. The first is how long each removal session takes, and the other is how many sessions you will require. The time required for most removal sessions corresponds directly with the size of the tattoo, with smaller tattoos taking 10 to 20 minutes, and larger tattoos requiring sessions that are 45 to 60 minutes long. The number of sessions will be determined by the exact details of the tattoo, particularly size and color.
Other Laser Tattoo Removal FAQ
1. What Is Laser Tattoo Removal?
Laser treatments to remove tattoos are a cosmetic treatment that strips the artificial pigment from the skin to restore the appearance of skin to a pre-tattoo state. Laser treatments for tattoos are ideal choices for those who grow tired of their tattoos or would like to replace them tattoo. Tattoos on virtually all parts of the body are eligible for removal with laser treatments.
2. How Does It Work?
Removing tattoos with lasers generally involves an energy-based skin resurfacing laser that penetrates the sub-dermal layers of skin to disrupt and destroy the artificial pigment within the skin. Removal is performed with specialized lasers that encourage a quicker turnover of cells to restore skin to an un-modified appearance over time.
There are several types of lasers that are used for the removal of tattoos. At our clinic, we use Enlighten III by Cutera. Enlighten III by Cutera works by using pico-second technology, one of the most comfortable forms of light and energy pulses to remove unwanted pigment from the skin.
3. What Kind of Tattoo Does It Work For?
Laser treatments for the removal of tattoos work for all tattoos, both professional tattoos, and homemade tattoos. Any type of ink pigment beneath the skin can be removed with laser technology to restore the original appearance of the skin. Some types of tattoos that can be removed with laser treatments include:
Monochromatic or greyscale tattoos are tattoos that only use black ink. Monochromatic tattoos are sometimes less challenging to remove because the depth of the ink is not deposited into the skin as much as colorful tattoos; however, a black pigment also takes time to remove, especially if the tattoo is larger or involves shading in greyscale.
Tattoos that are designed with color require a lot of pigment to be deposited into the skin, usually with high amounts of saturation; this is especially true if you have had to refresh your colorful tattoo over the years, which is a common practice to keep tattoos appearing fresh and vibrant.
A layered tattoo is a tattoo that has been used to cover up another tattoo. Layered tattoos generally involve two or more layers of deep pigment, which means that removing layered tattoos will take much longer than stand-alone tattoos regardless of color or size. Layered tattoos tend to require more pigment in the skin to cover up the first tattoo and are more difficult to remove.
Old tattoos are those that have been on your body for multiple years, sometimes even decades. The pigment in a tattoo takes about 1 or 2 years to fully settle into the skin, which is why some people return to refresh the pigment; however, even without being refreshed, tattoos are permanent on the skin. Some older tattoos take more time to remove because of the quality of ink and the way the skin has grown over the pigment.
4. Will You Need Multiple Treatments?
Yes. Even the smallest tattoo will require multiple sessions to remove. On average, it takes about 5 to 6 tattoo removal sessions to fully restore the appearance of the skin and remove all ink deposits from the sub-dermal skin layers. Of course, the exact number of treatments you will need to remove your tattoo will depend on the specifications of your tattoo.
For example, small tattoos that are only a few centimeters or inches and do not involve great quantities of ink may only require 4 or 5 sessions to completely remove; larger tattoos with greater deposits of pigment may require 6 or more. It’s common for exceptionally large tattoos, such as tattoos that cover the expanse of the back to take 6 to 8 sessions to completely remove.
5. Is It Painful?
Laser removal treatments for tattoos are no more painful than getting the tattoo was in the first place. Depending on the location of the tattoo and your pain threshold, you may experience more or less sensation than others. Generally speaking, removal treatments are not a painful process.
It’s a common practice for your removal sessions to involve a topical numbing or cooling cream to ensure your comfort during the treatment. For some people, laser removal is less painful than getting the tattoo because topical agents are not used when a tattoo is being inked. We will discuss all of the details of your treatment, including the option of using these cooling or numbing creams, at the time of your appointment.
6. How Do You Prepare for Treatment?
Because removal of tattoos involves a type of laser treatment, there are some things you will need to do to prepare your skin for treatment to have a safe and successful session. Some things you will need to do to prepare for treatment include:
- Do not have unprotected sun exposure for 2 weeks before the appointment
- Shave the treatment area 24 hours before the appointment
- Do not wax or exfoliate 1 to 3 days before the appointment
- Do not wear make-up, lotion, or deodorant on the treatment area
- Avoid using retinoids on the treatment area
7. What Is Recovery Like?
Recovery from laser removal treatments has some variation depending on whether it is your first appointment or a follow-up appointment. For example, it may take 1 to 2 weeks to recover from your first removal session, while it may take only 5 to 7 days to recover from any subsequent appointments.
You will need to follow certain directions after your appointment to make sure you are protecting your skin while it is still healing. Some of your post-care treatments for removal may include:
- Use ice or cold compresses
- Use antibiotic ointment as directed
- Do not wash the treatment area for 24 hours
- Avoid hot water and excessive heat
- Avoid direct sunlight without sun protection
You will be encouraged to follow some of these post-treatment instructions for several weeks after your last appointment. For example, the direction to wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater should be followed for at least 2 months after your last removal session in order to allow the skin to fully heal and be protected from potentially damaging UV rays while the skin is still vulnerable.
8. Is This Treatment Safe for All Skin Types and Tones?
Generally speaking, some laser treatments are not compatible with medium or dark complexions. However, laser removal is usually considered a safe treatment for all skin types and skin tones. Of course, we will have to examine the condition of your skin to determine if this treatment or another treatment is ideal for the removal of your tattoo.
9. Will This Treatment Leave a Scar?
No. Laser removal only removes the pigment of the tattoo and will not scar the skin. However, many people are surprised to learn that poorly-done tattoos leave a scar on the skin from bad tattooing techniques; in this case, sometimes scars from the tattoo are revealed by removal treatment. If you have a scar as a result of a poorly done tattoo, there are other treatments you may consider after laser removal to heal the scar, such as laser skin resurfacing.
10. What Are Common Reasons for This Treatment?
There are many reasons why people choose to remove tattoos. Tattoo regret is a real issue many people face and maybe one of the main reasons to have tattoo removal. Other reasons for this treatment include:
Sometimes you love a tattoo but it’s no longer relevant to your life or your interests. Even a perfectly done tattoo that you have loved for years may be one that you can outgrow. This isn’t necessarily regretting the tattoo, but it’s still a legitimate reason for removal.
Damaged or Incorrect Tattoo
A tattoo damaged by an injury can ruin the artistry of the tattoo and sometimes cannot be corrected with additional pigment or tattooing. Likewise, an incorrect tattoo, such as one with incorrect spelling, can also be a reason to remove a tattoo completely.
Prepare for New Tattoo
Some people seek removal to clear an expanse of skin in order to have room to get a new tattoo in its place.
Revise Existing Tattoo
Sometimes a tattoo needs to be revised because the text is incorrect or part of the tattoo has an error, such as a stray line. Revising an existing tattoo will not remove the tattoo entirely; it will, however, remove the mistake on the tattoo.
11. Will You Need a Consultation?
Yes. All laser treatments will require a consultation. The consultation provides us with the opportunity to examine the condition of your skin and your skin tone to determine if laser removal is appropriate for you. The consultation will also allow us to assess the tattoo you want to remove, specifically the color, size, location, age, and complexity of the design, especially if the tattoo is layered.
We may ask you certain questions during your consultation, such as when you got the tattoo and what your expectations are for treatment, as well as your goals for the results of tattoo removal el paso. You are likely a good candidate for this treatment if you have any reason to remove or revise a tattoo you are not completely satisfied with.
Refresh Your Skin With Laser Tattoo Removal
Living with a bad, old, or unwanted tattoo isn’t something anyone has to do in 2020. With the right technology, even the most complicated, large, and saturated tattoos can be removed with Enlighten III by Cutera. If you think this treatment might be the solution to your tattoo regret, please contact Rejuvené MD in El Paso, TX to schedule your initial appointment today.