Mistakes happen. And in the case of tattoos, those mistakes can be costly in more ways than just your wallet. Maybe it was a late night in college, or the name of someone you thought you’d be with forever. Maybe that band you loved at 18 just didn’t age well, or the roadside tattoo parlor didn’t boast the most impressive display of artists.
No matter what the reason for your change of heart, that tattoo you’re not crazy about doesn’t have to be forever. However, many people go through their lives with tattoos they can’t stand because of a lack of knowledge and understanding of the removal process. Let’s look at the full run down – from laser tattoo removal cost and safety, to explaining the process and clarifying some misconceptions.
What exactly is laser tattoo removal and how does it work?
At Dermatology Center of Acadiana, we offer Enlighten laser treatment for tattoo removal. Enlighten is the best technology available on the market for tattoo removal, able to eliminate a wider variety of colors.
Using picotechnology, the Enlighten laser delivers powerful energy into your skin and breaks the ink particles of a tattoo. Through multiple treatments, the body’s tissues absorb and eventually dispose of the broken ink particles.
How long is a session and how many will I need?
Treatments sessions will vary in length depending on the size and location of your tattoo. Though patients usually start to see results after the first or second treatments, the Dermatology Center of Acadiana usually recommends at least 3-6 treatments for maximum effectiveness.
Additionally, location plays a major role for how quickly a tattoo will fade. Particularly in the role that blood flow plays. Ink closer to your heart like chest and shoulder pieces might be a lot easier to remove than those on extremities like your hands and feet.
Fortunately the technology in the Enlighten laser makes it one of the fastest, most advanced laser treatments for tattoo removal. The picotechnology in the Enlighten delivers more powerful laser energy one thousand times faster than traditional nanotechnology laser treatments. Therefore not only will you require less treatments, but there’s a greater likelihood for efficiency and success using the Enlighten.
Is It Painful?
Yes, like many laser treatments, laser tattoo removal involves some degree of discomfort for recipients. Again, pain levels will vary from person to person based on tattoo size, treatment duration, and an individual’s general pain tolerance. But, it’s definitely endurable.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that laser tattoo removal is completely safe. It’s also important to contextualize that the process involves firing high-powered laser energy at micro-second speeds to destroy ink ingrained in your skin. It stands to reason that a process such as that may include a bit of pain.
Having said that, a common comparison to treatments are the snapping of a rubber band against the skin or grease jumping out of a frying pan. Again, uncomfortable in very short spurts, but most definitely tolerable. Think of it this way: if you can manage the pain of receiving the tattoo, you can totally do it.
For particularly sensitive patients, there are a number of numbing techniques used to make treatments even easier. Ice packs, numbing creams and injections as well as a cryo-chilling method may all be available to provide comfort, depending on your specific situation.
Will laser treatment leave scarring?
Scarring is very, very uncommon in laser tattoo removal. In most cases, any scarring that occurs was already present from the original tattooing process. It’s important to go over possible scarring concerns before you undergo treatment so you’re aware of what to expect. In the rare times scarring occurs during treatment, it would most likely be due to having a treatment with a laser that uses outdated technology.
As far as any side effects, patients usually experience redness and general swelling in the area. Blisters and scabs are also common in the healing process. Patients failing to properly care for any blistering put themselves at risk for scarring.
Additionally, the area undergoing treatment may be sore for a brief period of time. Which is why treatments are often spread out over a few weeks to a few months, depending on the individual. However, any discomfort shouldn’t interfere with your normal day-to-day activities (which, again, can’t be said about the original tattoo process!).
Will my tattoo be completely removed?
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that laser tattoo removal treatment will be a 100% success. Utilizing the advanced technology of the Enlighten laser certainly helps us to get as close to a guarantee as we can possibly get. That’s not to say that a high number of cases can’t finish treatment without a trace of the original ink present, the science just hasn’t arrived to give a full guarantee.
Contributing factors include:
Amount of ink and color variation
Healthy aftercare practices like proper exercise, a balanced diet as well as consistent hydration all play a role in how successful a tattoo removal tends to be. Aftercare also includes protecting and allowing the treated area to heal on its own.
It’s also important to note that while consistency in treatments will help to speed the process along, there’s not really a “window” that will close between sessions.
How Much Does It Cost?
Ah the question everyone wants to know before they sign along the dotted line! Well, much like other factors that go towards laser tattoo removal treatment, the actual cost will vary! Again, your tattoo size and the amount of sessions required to properly treat the area will all play a prominent factor in your cost. Average costs vary from as low as $150 dollars to the hundreds of dollars range, again depending on the level of treatment you require.
It’s ironic that many of the same principles that go into getting a tattoo also apply to the laser tattoo removal process. If you’re having a hard time justifying time and costs, try to equate it in those terms. How much did you pay for the tattoo you’re looking to remove? Just like the ink, removal is permanent. The best thing to do is schedule a consultation with a dermatologist to see what course is right for you. Any costs or discomforts are temporary, your own personal happiness and satisfaction will last a lifetime.