Laser tattoo removal is a popular method to get rid of tattoos that have become a nuisance or an eye sore for some. Short pulses of intense light produced by lasers harmlessly passes through the top layers of the skins. It is then selectively absorbed by the tattoo pigment. The tattoo pigment breaks to smaller particles due to the intense laser energy. These particles are later removed by the immune system.
Throughout the procedure, no surrounding skin is damaged although the process can be as uncomfortable as getting the tattoo. Most liken the feeling to be as if a thin rubber band snapped. The wavelengths of lights use to deliver the laser output removes that tattoo’s ink. Types of laser used during the process largely depend on the ink colour used for the tattoo. For example, green coloured tattoos can only be treated by specific laser as it selectively absorbs laser light.
More often than not, more than one treatment is required. But the amount of sessions really depend on the type of ink used and how deep the tattoo was injected into the skin.
How to Prepare for Tattoo Removal?
Minor aches and pains before the procedure can be controlled through the use of non-aspirin products such as Tylenol.
One should be careful with the types of products used so that an infection or swelling does not occur. Those undergoing this procedure should not consume aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.
Some doctors do prescribe the use of anaesthetic cream about two hours prior to the session. Although same opt for local anaesthetic, others prefer not to do both. At times pinpoint bleeding might occur due to the procedure.
The Recovery Process
The body’s scavenger cells remove pigment residues after the laser sessions. Usually doctors advised a three week interval between laser sessions to enable the pigment residues to be absorbed.
To avoid an infection, the area should be kept clean. Continuous application of antibacterial ointment is usually carried out. Although baths or showers are allowed, patients should not scrub the affected area.
At this time the skin may appear to look sunburned and red for a few weeks. There could even be a scab forming, which should gradually heal and fade away.
Laser tattoo removal practically has no side effects, apart from hyper and hypo-pigmentation. If not carefully taken care of, the affected area could get infected and lack of complete pigment removal could even lead to scars.