Do you regret having your tattoo in your younger days?

Many individuals now have tattoos that they regret having in their younger days, it might have been an impulsive act or a tattoo from a previous relationship which is no longer felt to be appropriate or simply a tattoo that is poor quality.  In these instances, a potential client might want these removed.  Is that possible or must they live with their body art?  With todays advances in Laser technology they can breathe a sigh of relief as Aesthetic practices now include the option and possibility of removing their tattoo.   Potential clients should be advised that this procedure may take time and results are not instant and depending on the size and colour(s) of their tattoos some will take longer than others to remove.

Firstly, we need to need to examine or consider the basic concept or science behind the removal of a tattoo.   There are different approaches or techniques involved in Laser removal – the first (possibly the most common practice) is called Switching.  This involves pulse durations which are short or extremely short (also referred to as Nano and Picosecond), of high power targeting the treated area which allows this to break down the unwanted ink from the tattoo – this unwanted ink is disposed of through the body’s Lymphatic system.   The shorter pulse durations do not affect the surrounding tissue.  There are other Lasers that rely on thermal energy (generating dermal heat) and this treatment to remove a tattoo will take longer as the sessions required are at longer intervals to avoid blistering and scarring which could arise if the sessions were too close together.  You would be advised by the practitioner of the type of Laser they would use and the sessions that may be required.

As stated, some tattoos may take longer to remove and one of the reasons is the number of colours contained within the tattoo.  Different colours (or pigments) respond to different wavelengths so it is important that the practitioner explains this in more detail so that they can provide a more informed length of time regarding the removal.

Is everyone a suitable candidate for the removal of a tattoo – if I had a tattoo then surely, I must be? There may be factors that prohibit the procedure, and this is down to your medical history. A Practitioner must provide a consultation before any treatment proceeds and this includes asking about your medical history.  Your tattoo may have applied when you were younger, and your medical history was different.  Once this consultation has taken place your practitioner will advise whether you are a suitable candidate (they may be able to advise over the phone if you suspect you have a condition that might preclude the procedure).  

You might also ask whether tattoo removal is suitable for your skin type.  Once more your practitioner will advise on the type of laser used but even darker skin tones can be treated successfully, and this might affect the number of sessions required.

Individuals will have had different experiences with the level of pain and discomfort of receiving a tattoo which also may have been dependent of the site of the body art.   Is removing a tattoo painful?  Clients may report differently on their experiences of the procedure but generally little of no pain is reported but some may feel a level of discomfort during the procedure.  However, your practitioner will and can apply a topical numbing cream or ointment prior to treatment and this may take a little time to be effective (1 hour in some cases) this will eliminate any discomfort.  If you are an individual that feels pain or discomfort more than others (some people are subject to this) then a more powerful anaesthetic can be offered – Lidocaine is or maybe the preferred option.

What about after the treatment and possible side effects?  This will depend on the technology being used by the salon or centre you attend and with advances in this type of technology it is always wise to ask about the type of laser currently in use.   The older technology uses heat, and this may cause some side effects to occur.  This will usually be some blistering or scarring or pigmentation.  Where the salon or centre you are attending uses the more modern option the lasers use little or no heat so there are no side effects that are generally experienced.  However, there is a slight risk that that the treatment sire is at risk of infection so ask the practitioner regarding this.  You should also be aware that your tattoo may not completely removed, blue and black tattoos respond well to treatment but with coloured tattoos some colours respond better than others.   Some individuals may also notice that the treatment area leaves the skin paler (Hypopigmentation) or that it is darker (Hyperpigmentation).

Taking the right steps before and after treatment – one thing to avoid during and after treatment (that is for the duration of treatment) are sun beds and tanning (exposure to direct sunlight may also be recommended to avoid).  As with the original tattoo there maybe scabbing – avoid scratching and picking this and it will slow the healing process.  It is advised that the use of soap or other products that are perfumed should be avoided.  If you are the athletic type you should refrain from any strenuous physical activity for approximately 48 hours.  Swimming and saunas should also be avoided at least the scab falls away as again this will impact on the healing process and slow it down. Immediately after treatment you may experience the treatment area being affected with a raised red rash (the practitioner will apply a soothing gel) but you can apply an ice pack which will help soothe the area.  If you experience any bleeding at the treatment site, you can help this by applying Vaseline or Aloe Vera gel.

With regard to cost you will need to request this information from your selected salon, but some suggest that for a small tattoo it will be £50 but for larger tattoo £1,000 for several sessions as mentioned this may vary subject to your selected salon – take into consideration also the type of laser being used as older technology may mean additional sessions.

It might be worth mentioning that products are available that tattoo removal creams – these might lighten or fade a tattoo, but it is unlikely they will remove a tattoo and they will cost quite a considerable amount (although cheaper than laser treatment) also it appears that side effects may occur.  There are also “home” remedies such as the use of lemon juice and salt, Hydrogen Peroxide. If you are familiar with these then you should be aware that the end result is just fading not removing the tattoo.  Also, any remedy that involves abrasion should be avoided – if for no other reason that it will be painful! (Not to mention the bleeding and the possibility of inciting an infection. I believe that when you consider the options then Laser removal is by far the most successful.

If you are serious about wanting a tattoo removed then certainly research all your options and ask questions about the laser technology, pricing and length of time involved (number of sessions) and remember that larger and coloured tattoos will take more time.

I hope that this article has been helpful and if you are looking for tattoo to be removed all the very best in search and journey to find the right solution.

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