Laser for tattoo removal
We may not always make the right decisions, and tattoos are one of the most common things that people regret. It may be poorly done, something you no longer believe in, or in an area that is too obvious.
What is tattoo removal?
Laser tattoo removal works by using pulses of focused light to reduce the appearance of a tattoo or completely removing a tattoo.
How does laser tattoo removal work?
The skin is made up of three layers- the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. Tattoos comprise thousands of pigment particles that were injected into the dermis. Laser tattoo removal works by using high-intensity light beams to break up the tattoo ink pigment into smaller particles. These smaller particles are then removed from the body through the lymphatic system, resulting in a lightened or completely removed tattoo (depending on your preference).
At Zest, our treatment for tattoo removal involves the use of Q-Switched lasers from Fotona and LTRA Miin laser. Q-Switched lasers effectively remove tattoos by using short pulses of intense light that targets only the pigments of the tattoo at the dermis and breaking them up, while protecting the surrounding skin from harm.
Benefits of lasers tattoo removal
- No scarring
- Complete removal or reduced appearance of unwanted tattoo
- Safe and effective
- No downtime
- Quick recovery
Suitable candidates for laser tattoo removal
There are certain aspects that make some individuals more suitable for laser tattoo removal than others, this depends on a few factors such as:
- Age of tattoo
- Colour of tattoo
- Density of tattoo
- Location of tattoo
- Skin tone
Make an appointment with us and our doctors at Zest will be able to advise you on the feasibility of laser tattoo removal for you.
What results can I expect?
The results of laser tattoo removal are dependent on the factors mentioned above—age, colour, location, and density of the tattoo, and your skin tone. Older tattoos are easier to remove, black tattoos are also easier to remove, and tattoos on your back, chest, or stomach are easier to remove because they are closer to the heart and hence have better circulation. Individuals with lighter skin tone also have the benefit of faster and easier tattoo removal.
Some individuals may find laser tattoo removal quite painful while others with a higher pain threshold, may just experience some mild discomfort. Our doctors can apply a numbing cream 20-30 minutes before your treatment session to help make the pain more bearable.
For the best results, you must observe the following:
- Stop smoking: smoking has been known to reduce blood flow to the skin, increasing your chances of tissue damage, and hindering healing and recovery.
- Stop some medications: certain medications such as aspirins and anti-inflammatory drugs thin your blood making you more susceptible to bleeding during and after the procedure.
- Do not expose the tattoo to the sun for two to four weeks before your appointment
- Avoid exfoliating or epilating the intended area
- Gently shave the area to remove all hair before your appointment
- Remove all moisturiser or deodorant used on the area
- Use a cold compress to reduce swelling
- Apply the prescribed antibiotic cream to prevent infection
- Avoid exercise, saunas, and massages for at least one week post-treatment
- Avoid direct sun exposure on the treatment area
- Use good quality sunscreen
How many treatment sessions are required?
Usually more than one treatment session is required for laser tattoo removal. An average of 10-12 sessions should be expected and cumulatively may take more than a year for the complete removal of your tattoo. Individuals should leave three to six weeks between each session to allow the skin to heal and for the ink pigments to be removed from the body.
Each laser tattoo removal session lasts approximately 30 minutes, depending on the location and size of the tattoo. This takes into consideration consultation with our doctors, numbing cream application, laser removal, and after care instructions.
Frequently asked questions
Laser tattoo removal is considered a safe procedure, but some individuals may experience the following side effects:
Yes. Some find it more painful than getting the tattoo itself while others find the pain quite similar or less painful. It depends on your pain threshold, but laser tattoo removal is not a pain-free procedure. It has been commonly described as having a rubber band snapped against your skin multiple times.
In addition to numbing cream, you may also consider taking some over-the-counter, non-aspirin painkillers. You must always avoid aspirin containing products as these can result in excessive bleeding during and after treatment.
There is a small risk of scarring post-treatment, depending on how your body heals. There may also be hypopigmentation (lighter skin) or hyperpigmentation (darker skin) at the treatment area after healing.
Yes, complete tattoo removal is possible with laser tattoo removal. However, this will require more sessions than someone who is just looking to reduce the appearance of their tattoo for cover-up purposes.