Regrettable tattoos are not uncommon. Dr. Robert N. Young at Dr. Young Forever in Shavano Park, Texas is now offering tattoo removal services alongside other procedures designed to improve your body’s aesthetics. Whether you are removing the name of a former lover, regretting a youthful decision made after a wild night out, or doing away with a relic of a now-abandoned way of life, there is hope in sight for reclaiming your body’s canvas.
How Is Tattoo Removal Done?
Using a PiQo4 laser from Lumenis, small bursts of laser energy will be transmitted into the dyed pigment of the skin. This will work to break up the dye from underneath the surface of the skin, lifting the coloring without leaving damage behind.
The PiQo4 laser boasts the largest spot size on the market making for more tolerable and shorter treatment sessions overall. Each laser treatment also boasts up to ten times more energy than competing lasers for deeper penetration, resulting in more effective treatment. This is especially convenient when working with super dark or deeply-inked tattoos.
What Should I Expect?
When you arrive for your laser removal session, you should expect to be given a mild anesthetic. This will keep you from feeling any discomfort that is associated with laser treatments. Your session will not take a long time. It is best to do laser removal in short sessions that are spaced out. This gives your skin time to heal and the pigment time to break down between treatments.
As you are healing, you should keep the affected area clean and dry. Your doctor will likely prescribe a topical ointment that can be used to keep the area free from bacteria.
How Many Sessions Will It Take?
The number of laser tattoo removal sessions you will need will depend upon a variety of factors. These factors will be discussed during your consultation and, at that time, a fairly accurate estimate of session requirements will be provided.
You should not expect that your laser removal process will be completed in only one or two sessions, even if you are only working with a small or extremely faded sample. Be prepared to sit through multiple sessions that could stretch out over a number of months.
What Factors Affect Tattoo Removal Timing?
As mentioned, there are a number of factors that will come into play regarding how long the tattoo removal process will take. These are not a “one size fits all” means of establishing a timeline, but they will give your doctor a general idea of how long your treatments should be and how many of your treatments you will need.
Size of Tattoo
Naturally, a larger tattoo will require more work to remove than a smaller one. They don’t go on in equal amounts of time, so they won’t lift in equal amounts of time, either. One of the most common tattoos to be removed are “permanent” wedding bands. These tend to lift fairly easily because of their small size. If you are looking at removing something larger–a half sleeve, for example–you should expect that the process will be far lengthier.
The darker the ink, the harder it is to break up. If your tattoo is of a watercolor design with mostly faded pastel coloring, the process could prove to be very simple. However, if you are dealing with a lot of bold, dark lines (like what you may see in tribal bands), you will need more treatments.
How Much You Need to Be Removed
Do you want the tattoo completely removed or do you want it only faded out enough that it will be easy to re-cover? Sometimes, complete removal of the tattoo is not necessary. In many cases, it’s easier to cover one tattoo with another than it is to completely remove it.
Fading the color of a tattoo out will help the skin hold new ink, allowing for a vibrant new work of art to take up residence in its place.
Ink Quality and Age
The older your tattoo is, the more it will have naturally faded. A tattoo that has faded will have ink that is already beginning to break up. This means fewer laser sessions may be necessary.
Similarly, ink of lower quality will break up faster and easier than high-quality ink. If you had your tattoo done in an unlicensed facility by someone who is not an established professional, this could be an unlikely silver lining when it comes down to having it removed.
The closer your skin color is the color that is being removed, the shorter time it will take to remove it. When a tattoo is removed, it is actually just faded out. Once the ink is faded enough to match the hosting pigment, the process can be considered complete. Even if small traces of ink remain under the surface of the skin, they will no longer be noticeable to the naked eye.
The healthier your skin is when starting out, the easier it will take the treatment. The sessions must be spaced to allow adequate healing in between. Skin that is healthy enough to regenerate fairly quickly will be able to endure more sessions in a shorter period of time.
While these aren’t the only factors involved, they are the most common. Don’t be surprised, however, if your doctor mentions another situation that could impact the length of sessions you may require. Every person is different, and your circumstances will be unique only to you.
10 Ways to Speed Up Laser Removal
Odds are, you’re wanting to get the best possible results in the shortest amount of time. While laser tattoo removal is not a process that can be hurried through, there are things you can do that might help things move along more steadily.
Drink More Water
Hydration is key during the tattoo removal process. It is recommended that you begin drinking plenty of water in the weeks leading up to your first tattoo removal treatment. The water in your body plays a key role in cell regeneration. Your skin cells will regenerate faster with proper hydration, which will enable the skin to break down the ink in your pigment faster.
Work Out More
Working out increases circulation throughout the body. Good circulation enables your skin cells to reap the rewards of proper oxygenation. Oxygen, like water, is crucial in cell regeneration and healing. The laser treatments will work to break down the ink that has dyed your pigment. Rebuilding the pigment, though, will be the work of your own body. Give it all the tools it needs.
Maintain a Balanced Diet With Lean Proteins
Protein is good for your skin, as well. Maintaining a good diet that is low on sugar and high on lean protein will promote skin cell growth and regeneration. As a bonus, there are recent medical studies that seem to indicate lean proteins can also aid in promoting pain tolerance.
Get Enough Sleep
Healthy, well-rested bodies heal faster. Your body will be able to work with the laser treatments to promote faster changes if you have been sleeping well and sleeping enough. You also should take your time and rest well between sessions.
While laser therapy isn’t particularly painful, some find the procedures to be tedious. Giving yourself plenty of time to rest between sessions will keep you from struggling with “burnout” during the process.
Smoking has a negative impact on your body’s circulation. As we discussed, circulation is a key factor in how quickly your skin will regenerate between sessions. In the weeks ahead of beginning laser removal therapy, you should be doing anything you can to make your body healthy and ready for the process.
Give yourself time to quit smoking and be over the addiction completely before you begin sessions. The last thing you want to do is pick the habit back up while your therapy is already underway.
Hold Off on New Ink
There is a process of healing involved after you have a new tattoo done. You probably remember the irritation and heat you felt in the affected area after receiving new ink. You shouldn’t focus your healing energy on multiple areas at a time. Even if you are absolutely certain that you are ready for a new tattoo design elsewhere on your body, your immune system will not want to divide its attention.
First, finish the removal of your current ink. Then, when this process is complete, you can move forward with new artwork.
Alcohol thins the blood. This will cause difficulty with skin cell regeneration. You should be careful about minimizing alcohol intake prior to getting laser removal therapy. The best thing to do is to cut out alcohol completely, even if it means abstaining for up to a year while you are undergoing regular laser removal treatments. You’ll be glad you did.
Stay Out of the Sun
Laser therapy cannot be done on skin that is suffering from sunburn or skin that is excessively dry. You should stay out of the sun and avoid the risk of overexposure to any UV rays, especially in the affected area. It is absolutely vital that you come into every laser tattoo removal session with the healthiest skin possible.
Use Water-Based Moisturizers
Using a good water-based moisturizer will not only help keep your skin healthy but will minimize the harmful oils and chemicals that some moisturizers introduce into your skin. These can work against the laser’s ability to break down the ink in your body.
Remember the Payoff
While it might seem like the process of laser removal is too lengthy or tedious to endure, you should remember the payoff involved in following the rules and continuing the process. If you look toward the benefits involved in having the tattoo removed, you will appreciate the process for what it is: a reclamation of self.
If you are looking to get rid of a tattoo, it is likely one that is causing you to struggle with negative emotions. You might feel tied to a dark place in your past because of the tattoo that remains on your body. Getting rid of this tattoo will free you from that memory. Isn’t that worth the time and effort?
However long the process takes, you can rest assured that the sooner you call, the sooner you will be on your way to reclaiming the natural beauty of your skin.
Begin Reclaiming Your Skin Today
Call Dr. Robert N. Young at Dr. Young Forever in Shavano Park, Texas today regarding scheduling and questions you may have regarding the process of laser removal. We can’t wait to work with you!