In the past, removing an unwanted tattoo involved long, invasive excision procedures. Today, there’s a better way to get rid of a tattoo that you no longer want. At Impressions Skin Solutions in Hendersonville, TN, we offer laser tattoo removal, an effective, non-invasive tattoo elimination method that does not leave scars. Today, we’re answering some of our most frequently asked questions about this safe, effective treatment.
How Long Does Laser Tattoo Removal Take?
As a general rule, it takes between six and 12 laser tattoo removal sessions to remove a tattoo completely. These sessions are usually scheduled six to eight weeks apart. Therefore, it may take over a year to remove a tattoo completely. Factors affecting how long it will take you to remove your unwanted tattoo include the size of the unwanted tattoo, the depth of the pigments, your overall health, your age, and the age of the tattoo.
Your aesthetic goal also plays a large factor in how long your removal will take. For instance, if you only want to fade your tattoo, you may only need a few sessions. We will advise you on how long you should expect your tattoo elimination process to take during your initial consultation. Without knowing your aesthetic goal, the size, location, and colors of your tattoo, and your health history, there is no way to tell.
How Does My Health Affect How Quickly My Results Will Become Apparent?
Simply put, the healthier you are, the sooner you will be able to enjoy the final results of your treatment. If your immune system is busy fighting an active infection, it will not prioritize the “foreign invader” that is the pigments in your skin. Rather, it will be mounting and carrying out an attack on the bacterium or virus that is making you ill.
Also, people with stronger immune systems enjoy faster results simply because their immune system can eliminate the shattered pigments more quickly. Additionally, you should be aware that you can hasten your final results by eating nutritiously, enjoying alcohol only in moderation, and getting regular exercise without exercising excessively.
How Long Does a Treatment Session Take?
We will also advise you on how long you should expect your treatment session to take during your initial consultation. Several factors affect how long treatment sessions last, including the size of the tattoo and the number of colors that need to be removed. If you want to remove a small tattoo, your session may only take 10 to 15 minutes.
However, if you want to remove a larger tattoo with multiple colors, your session may take between 20 and 60 minutes. It is important to note that the more colors there are in your unwanted tattoo, the longer your sessions will take. This is because the frequency of the laser must be adjusted to destroy the different pigments effectively.
How Does Laser Therapy for Unwanted Tattoos Work?
The First Phase
The first phase of laser tattoo removal occurs during your treatment session. During this phase, the highly advanced laser emits lightwave energy that penetrates your skin’s outer layers. This lightwave energy is hot, and the heat is absorbed by the ink pigments’ colors. As the colors absorb the heat, the already small pigments shatter into even smaller pieces.
The Second Phase
The first phase of the laser tattoo removal process is crucial for the success of your unwanted tattoo elimination. Your body has been trying to eliminate your tattoo since the moment you got it, because the ink is seen by your immune system as a hazardous substance. However, even though the pigments injected beneath your skin are small, they are too large for your immune system to break down and eliminate.
Once the laser heat from the first phase shatters the pigments, they become small enough for the macrophages in your body to carry away. The second phase of laser therapy for the removal of unwanted tattoos also starts during your treatment session but lasts for several days. It involves waiting for your immune system to pick up the pigment particles and eliminate them.
The Third Phase
Once the second phase of the tattoo elimination process is complete, it is time for the third phase. You need to come in for a follow-up session so we can destroy more of the pigments in your skin. The reason you need multiple treatment sessions to eliminate a tattoo completely is that the upper layers of pigments protect the underlying layers of pigments.
Remember, the top layer of pigments absorbs the heat from the laser energy. Therefore, the laser energy can”t penetrate deeper into your skin. It is not until your body has eliminated the top layer of destroyed pigments that the laser energy can penetrate deeper.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
To determine whether you are a good candidate for this treatment, you need to visit one of our aesthetic experts for an initial consultation. During this initial consultation, we will examine the tattoo and discuss your aesthetic goal. We will also discuss your medical history in great detail to ensure that you are healthy enough to receive this treatment. As a general rule, if you are a fairly healthy adult who wants to reduce or eliminate a tattoo, you’ll qualify.
However, there are certain medical conditions that prevent people from being considered a good candidate for this treatment. For instance, if you suffer from photosensitivity, this treatment method may not be appropriate for you. Also, you may not qualify for this treatment if you are taking a medication that causes photosensitivity. However, there is a chance that you will qualify because you may be able to stop taking the medication temporarily.
What if I Have a Skin Condition?
If you have a skin condition other than photosensitivity, there is a chance that you will not be considered a good candidate for this treatment. For instance, if your skin is irritated at the time of your scheduled appointment due to atopic dermatitis or rosacea, we will need to reschedule your session. However, it is possible to prevent an eczema outbreak or rosacea flare-up so you can have your tattoo removed.
Does My Skin Color Matter?
The color of your skin may affect how many treatment sessions you will need, but it will not preclude you from this treatment. Specifically, the more contrast there is between the color of your tattoo and your skin color, the more effective the treatment will be. For instance, if you have fair skin and a dark tattoo, you may not need many treatment sessions. Also, your treatment sessions may be shorter.
How Should I Prepare for My Treatment Session?
There are several steps you must take to prepare for your laser therapy session. One of the most important preparation steps is wearing plenty of sunscreen in the weeks leading up to your treatment. This preparation step is crucial because if you have a sunburn on the day of your appointment, your session must be rescheduled. Make sure you are using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an adequate sun protection factor.
Also, you must make sure that you are reapplying your sunscreen regularly. As a general rule, it is advisable to reapply sunscreen every four hours. However, the reapplication frequency varies depending on the brand of sunscreen you buy.
How Else Should I Prepare for My Treatment Session?
It is also very important that you come in for your appointment with clean skin. In other words, you should shower or bathe before you come in for your appointment and not use any cosmetics, including makeup, fragrances, ccreams, ointments, lotions, or oils, in the treatment area.
Other things you should avoid in the treatment area include self-tanner, retinols, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and hydroxy acids. Self-tanning products should be avoided for two weeks prior to the laser therapy session. Benzoyl peroxide, retinols, and acids should be avoided for 72 hours prior to treatment.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
It can take a year or two to remove a tattoo completely depending on the age, size, and color of the tattoo. However, the treatment sessions are incredibly comfortable and convenient, taking only 10 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the tattoo and how many colors there are. To find out whether laser therapy for the removal of unwanted tattoos is right for you, contact us today at Impressions Skin Solutions in Hendersonville, TN to book an appointment.