Tattoos are a fantastic way to express ourselves or to carry something of a sentimental value anywhere we go. There are a lot of good reasons to get one, but there’s also the other side of it — having your tattoo removed. Tattoo owners choose to remove their tattoos for many reasons, some have the change of heart and taste, loss of sentimental value or merely an impulsive mistake that has to be corrected.
Whether you’re trying to remove your ex’s name from your skin, a quote or image that no longer represents your values or you’re simply having issues getting that job, the good news is — yes, you can have your tattoo removed safely and happily continue on with your life!
There are many ways to remove your tattoo, some better than the other:
Tattoos were once considered permanent, but it is no longer the case. While some of the methods are archaic and painful, tattoo removal using a laser is everything you need to finally get rid of that pesky tattoo. In this guide, we are going to cover everything you need to know about getting your tattoo removed, so rest assured and read on.
Laser Tattoo Removal
With the advances in laser technology, it is now easier and safer than ever to have your tattoo removed. It may take a few trips to your local tattoo removal centre and some money, but that’s a cheap price to pay to get rid of something that bothers you and stops you from moving on with your life. You might be wondering “How does it work?!”
Q-switched lasers are the latest and most effective method used to remove a tattoo. Lasers use a pulse of light energy that passes through the top of your skin and gets absorbed by tattoo ink. This light energy heats up and breaks down your tattoo into tiny fragments, which are then cleared away by your immune system. The tattoo removal laser is set to fit your skin type, tattoo colour and location of it.
What Kind of Tattoos can be Removed?
With the available laser technology, you can remove any kind of tattoo, regardless of its colour or location. However, some tattoos are harder to remove than others. For example, it is easier to remove black, red or green colours from your skin compared to purple, orange or light blue. The quality of tattoo removal treatment will also depend on the type of ink used and the overall depth of the tattoo, and of course, its size. Owner’s skin colour will also make a difference. Generally, lighter skin tone is more susceptible to tattoo removal than a darker one.
The Process of Laser Tattoo Removal
Getting your tattoo removed is a process rather than a once in a lifetime visit. It may take a few visits to get your tattoo removed, depending on the factors we discussed above. Also, it’s usually more expensive than getting your tattoo done in the first place. The first thing you have to do is to find a place where you will get your tattoo removed, after that you should receive specific instructions about the treatment.
Generally, it takes anywhere between three to fifteen laser treatments to get your tattoo completely removed. Some tattoos won’t take too long, as they are smaller in size or easier to remove depending on the colour. Other tattoos may take a few more visits though, such as the ones with multiple colours and bigger size.
The treatment is straightforward — your doctor will apply a local anesthetic to your skin (cream or an injection) and then apply laser light to it. The whole process is short and won’t take too much time, except it takes a few visits. Most doctors recommend treatments every 4-6 weeks for the best results. Generally, it may take up to a year to have your tattoo fully removed from your skin.
Depending on the skin type, tattoo colour and the ink used, it’s also possible for traces of your previous tattoo to remain, even after the treatment. In these cases, there’s usually not much you can do about it. However, it happens very rarely, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it. As technology advances, there will be less and less of a chance for this to happen.
Although the process is generally safe, you could have some side effects such as swelling, itching, redness, dryness or an infection. The best way to minimize these is to follow a tattoo removal aftercare routine.
Tattoo Removal Aftercare
Tattoo removal can be stressful and taxing to your body. You may also feel a little bit agitated and in pain during the process, but don’t worry. With a combination of remedies and practices, you can keep your pain to a minimum.
The best thing you can do for your skin is to just take a break and rest. Your body simply needs time and you should give it exactly that. Try to take it easy and minimize difficult activities, such as playing sports, especially a few days after the treatment. Keep the area clean and dry during the healing process, and wash it if necessary. You may also apply cool bandages to help with the inflammation and discomfort.
If blisters and scabs start to appear or your skin gets dry, itchy, red and painful, don’t worry — it’s to be expected and it’ll go away eventually. You can use general remedies such as Tylenol to ease your pain. Other than that, keep your skin as clean as possible, apply a sunscreen if you’re heading out in the sun and avoid irritating your skin.
You may use moisturizing creams such as Aquaphor that help rehydrate your dry skin after the treatment. Avoid using make-up and other non-moisturizing creams as they could have negative effects on your skin. Rushing the treatment may only lead to trouble, so take it easy and let your body do its thing.