Everything you Wanted to Know about Laser Tattoo Removal
Making the decision to get a tattoo is a big one, but what happens when you do not like how it turns out, or change your mind years down the road? Over the years, there have been a number of laser tattoo removal options on the market. While these removal procedures have proven to be effective, they often take a number of sessions stretched out over long periods of time, and may not penetrate deep enough to completely remove the ink under the skin. In order to more effectively remove tattoos in a broad range of colors, the Enlighten™ system has entered the market. While it still requires numerous session to achieve the desired result, enlighten penetrates deeper and works harder at removing more colors, even the more difficult to remove ones.
How is the Enlighten™ Laser different?
Unlike older forms of laser tattoo removal, the Enlighten™ laser supplies dual wavelengths and multiple pulse speeds to increase its efficacy at removing tattoos. Even if your tattoo has a variety of ink colors, which can be difficult for older lasers to remove, Enlighten™ can target these areas. This combination provides the power needed to effectively remove tattoos in less time, and with less treatments, than older laser tattoo removal technologies.
Each session takes approximately 15-30 minutes depending on the area. Patients often describe the sensation of the machine as stinging, or similar to a rubberband being popped against the skin. At Dermatology Center of Acadiana, we suggest applying a topical numbing cream provided by our office for pain relief prior to the treatment.
How many sessions does it take to remove a tattoo with the Enlighten™ Laser?
The number of sessions required to remove a tattoo depends on a variety of factors; most notably the size of the tattoo, the density, and the colors of ink used. With the Enlighten™ laser, it is not uncommon to begin seeing results after 1-2 sessions, however many patients will need between 3 and 6 sessions for the most dramatic improvement. Sessions are scheduled several weeks apart to give the body time to clear the ink particles and heal. While the Enlighten™ Laser does the work of breaking the ink a part, the body takes over afterwards and works over time to remove the ink from the skin. The best way to understand how many sessions may be needed, is to schedule a consult with one of the American Board of Dermatology certified providers at Dermatology Center of Acadiana. If you are interested in any other cosmetic dermatology treatments you can also bring those up with your dermatologist during your consultation.
What are the side effects and typical aftercare/downtime?
Having a tattoo removed with Enlighten™ is comparable to the pain of having a tattoo done. Some describe the pain as a stinging sensation, similar to that felt when a rubber band is popped against the skin. You will be instructed on the wound care involved with this procedure before you leave. Your job will basically be to keep the area clean, moist with vaseline and covered for about a week. After each Enlighten session, the skin in the treated area may feel similar to a slight sunburn. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you may experience anything from just a slight redness and tenderness, to swelling and sometimes even a blister or scab. It is important to keep this area out of the sun during the healing process, as well as keep it clean.
The board certified Dermatologists at Dermatology Center of Acadiana offer consultations to discuss laser tattoo removal with the Enlighten™ laser system. During a consultation, the doctors will help come up with a treatment plan, including the proposed number of sessions needed for removal.