An introduction to laser tattoo removal
People get tattoos for a number of different reasons. The whole experience can be exciting and exhilarating – and many people speak of an ‘addiction’ to getting inked. But for many people, the experience isn’t as positive. If your tattoo wasn’t very well thought through you’re likely to regret your decision. And ‘tattoo regret’ is much more common than you might think. This article will address the option of laser tattoo removal, a growing trend in the UK today.
Over the last 10 years, whilst tattoos have increased in popularity, tattoo removal has too. With over 9,200 searches each month for “tattoo removal” in the UK alone, it’s clear so many people want their permanent body art removed.
If you’re sure you want your tattoo removed, then chances are you’re seriously considering laser tattoo removal. This method is without a doubt the most effective way to get rid of your tattoo and any regret it may have caused. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve summarised 10 things you need to know before undergoing laser tattoo removal.
Laser tattoo removal may leave behind scars
Even when the best lasers are used by the best practitioners – tattoos can never be 100% removed. Ghost tattoos are often left behind, which refers to the light, faint shadow where the tattoo once resided. It’s also imperative to realise that scarring is a potential risk. In many cases, tattoos are removed without scarring, but, in rare cases, it can occur. This is something to consider, particularly if your tattoo is on a very visible part of your body.
Professional tattoos are easier to remove
Visually, professional tattoos are more even and deeper in colour. This controlled uniformity means they’re easier to remove because the ink is at a set level within the dermis. Amateur tattoos lack this uniformity and can be more difficult to remove using even the best q-switched lasers. However, the best clinicians will assess your individual needs and advise on this accordingly.
Tattoo removal can affect your mental health
In recent years there has been a steady increase in those reporting feeling sadness, regret and depression following getting a tattoo. In many cases, these negative attitudes towards the decision pass. But, in some cases, people live with these feelings even beyond getting their tattoo removed professionally. If your tattoo has particular emotional significance or perhaps you feel a deep disliking towards it, speak to a medical practitioner and consider your options. Laser tattoo removal isn’t a quick fix so be sure you’re ready if you have been feeling particularly low about your tattoo.
Different colour inks may require different laser wavelengths
If you have a complex, multi-coloured tattoo you’ll need a clinic using q-switched, multiwavelength technology to remove the range of colours successfully. These types of Fotona lasers work at varying, precisely-controlled wavelengths – each wavelength tackling a different colour and shade. There are different laser settings for dark inks, red, tan, purple, orange, green and sky blue inks. The more colours, the longer the process will take.
Tattoo location is so important
As well as tattoo size and colour, the location of a tattoo on the body also severely affects how well it can be removed. The process of laser tattoo removal works by the laser administering short pulses of intense light through the skin that is absorbed by the unwanted inked pigments. These pigments are broken into smaller particles then disposed of via the body’s own immune system – carried through the blood and removed as waste. Therefore, the closer your tattoo is to the heart, the better the outcome as that is where blood circulation is strongest. This makes ankle and foot tattoos the most difficult to remove completely.
Laser tattoo removal isn’t gentle
We don’t want to put you off this highly effective method of tattoo removal. But before undergoing laser tattoo removal be aware that, much like getting a tattoo, the procedure is neither gentle or comfortable. Opt for a laser system system such as the StarWalker from Fotona and also a cooling system. This is guaranteed to make the treatment process more manageable and much easier to cope with.
Be aware of hyperpigmentation and darkening
If you’re removing tattoos in favour of plain, natural skin that doesn’t attract unwanted attention then you need to be aware of hyperpigmentation (learn more about hyperpigmentation on webmd by clicking here). This refers to excessive pigmentation of the skin and is a potential side effect of laser treatments. Hyperpigmentation is where the skin’s natural colour pigments are removed along with the unwanted ink. This is actually nothing to worry about and usually resolves itself within 3-6 months.
In what can appear like the opposite effect, the ink may also darken when first treated by lasers. This is known as paradoxical darkening of tattoo ink and typically resolves itself within four months.
Know you’re not alone
There are 53,100 monthly searches for tattoo removal related terms every month in the UK. 9,200 of those searches are for “tattoo removal” and 4,400 are for “laser tattoo removal” specifically. In the US, the number of searches for “tattoo removal” is as high as 36,000 each month. It’s clear there are so many people in the UK with severe tattoo regret. Knowing that you’re not alone and reading the stories of others can help you deal with the mental and physical discomfort of living with a tattoo you hate. When you’re ready, take the time to find a good clinician who will talk you through the entire process. Remember to ask to see before-and-after photos of their recent work.
Getting a cover-up is also an option
Cover-ups work best when the existing tattoo is light. But, even if you have a large, dark tattoo the best artists can work with you to map out a cover-up strategy. As with anything tattoo related, it’s best to not take any decision lightly. Speak to at least 2-3 artists before you go ahead and get more permanent ink – this time you have got to be 100% sure.
Opt for the best technology available to you
There are many different types of medical and aesthetic laser systems that can perform laser tattoo removal. Only the best on the market target diverse colour spectrums and have built-in safety and comfort features. Opting for a clinic that offers the best q-switched laser technology and is within travel distance is ideal. On average you could be looking at six to ten treatments with a four-week break between each. To learn more about the Fotona laser technology, click here. Castle House Medical also provide comprehensive training on aesthetic laser practice, to learn more about out laser training click here. Learn more about our company by clicking here.