In October 2018, this client visited The Finery for a consultation on laser tattoo removal. During his consult, our technician recommended 13 laser tattoo removal sessions spread 6-8 weeks apart. The prescribed treatment would allow us to use a combination of lasers with various wavelengths to properly remove inks of different colors. The wait time of 6-8 weeks ensures that the treatment area is completely healed in between sessions.
A couple of months after his initial consultation at The Finery, this client sought laser tattoo removal treatment from another facility. They promised to complete the process in fewer than ten laser tattoo removal sessions using a Picoway laser, with less than 6 weeks in between each treatment. Subsequently, this client had five treatment sessions spread over 4-5 months.
The treatment faded his tattoo; however, it also heavily damaged the skin in the area.
Unfortunately, this client experienced significantly more extensive damage to his treated area than he needed to.
So what can you do to prevent scarring, skin fatigue and other complications following laser tattoo removal sessions?
What Can Go Wrong During a Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment?
Laser tattoo removal is a safe and effective procedure that’s FDA-approved. But things can go wrong if it isn’t performed by a well trained technician and with the right equipment:
- – Laser tattoo removal scars are the most common side effect of laser tattoo removal treatments. You may find some “beauty clinics” offering treatments that cost less, but they’re probably using cheap machines that aren’t built to deliver a consistent power output and therefore carry a much greater risk of burning the skin.
- – Another common cause of laser tattoo scarring is treatment by inexperienced technicians. For example, they may be tempted to increase the power too much when they aren’t seeing results fast enough or setting the laser at the correct wavelength to effectively remove inks of specific colors.
- – Bacterial infections are another common complication of laser tattoo removal. Unsanitary conditions and improper guidance on aftercare can result in infections that could lead to scarring if not healed properly.
- – Allergic reactions, such as dermatitis and photoallergic reactions, may also affect some patients. Experienced laser tattoo removal technicians can help you navigate these conditions to avoid further complications and tattoo scarring.
How to Prevent Scarring Associated with Laser Tattoo Removal
Before getting a laser tattoo removal treatment, you should do your homework and research your options.
Know Your Tattoo
Laser tattoo removal time and effectiveness depend heavily on the tattoo itself, e.g., the pigments used, the depth, density, color, and composition of the ink, as well as the size and location of the tattoo.
Understand what can reasonably be done given the condition of your tattoo so you can set realistic expectations to avoid inappropriate treatments that could lead to scarring.
Understand Your Body
Your skin type and overall health affect how you react to laser tattoo removal treatments and what can be done safely without causing heavy or permanent scarring:
- – Your age: the older you are, the harder it is for your body to eliminate the ink after it’s been broken up by the laser. Your age is a factor that determines the rate of ink loss, so if you’re older, expect longer laser tattoo removal time.
- – Your skin tone: the darker your skin tone, the more challenging it is to remove bold-colored inks such as red, green, and blue. More sessions may be required to achieve the desired results.
- – Your immune system: tattoo removal relies on a healthy immune system. While autoimmune conditions generally don’t prevent people from receiving treatment, you may need to adjust the frequency or intensity to avoid complications.
- – Your overall health: an active metabolic rate promotes speedy ink loss and faster healing after laser tattoo removal sessions.
Research the Laser Tattoo Removal Process
Educate yourself on the basics of laser tattoo removal so you can find the right technologies and facilities that can safely and effectively remove your tattoo. Here’s what you should know when looking for the right treatment:
- – Talk to experienced laser treatment experts to help you set realistic expectations. Some tattoos can be faded partially, while others may leave a ghost image. You may consider using laser treatment to fade the current tattoo in preparation for a cover-up tattoo.
- – Ask about the laser removal timeline, such as the number of sessions, the time between sessions, and how long you need to wait before you can get a new tattoo or a cover-up tattoo done. Beware of technicians that try to sell you a suspiciously short timeline or a low number of sessions.
- – Inquire about the kind of equipment that a provider uses and whether the machine can deliver the correct wavelengths to effectively remove the pigments in your tattoo.
- – Discuss with your technicians about pre-treatment and aftercare to prepare your body for the laser tattoo removal sessions as well as promote healing and prevent post-procedure complications. A knowledgable technician can guide you through the process to ensure the best outcome.
- – If you have a darker skin tone, you may be more prone to hypo-pigmentation during the laser tattoo removal treatment. Your technician should proceed with caution and do a test spot to minimize risks.
- – Ask about potential side effects and risks based on your specific situation and health conditions. Request to see before and after photos of other clients who have similar skin types and tattoos as yours to help you set expectations.
Laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective way to get rid of unwanted tattoos. To achieve the results that you want, do your homework before attending the first consultation so you can select the best service for your treatment.
Ready to book a consultation with a laser tattoo removal expert? Find a laser tattoo removal service near you for a free tattoo analysis.