There are a variety of reasons that a person may consider laser tattoo removal. Sometimes it comes down to changing style preferences. Although at one point getting a particular tattoo may have fit right into a person's style preference, a few years down the road their preferences may evolve and change. Bodily changes are another possibility. Physical changes like aging, gaining weight, or pregnancy may affect the appearance of a tattoo. If a tattoo has gone downward in quality one may seek to remove it. Another possibility it career concerns. Often times tattoos hinder career options which are available to an individual. Some people may get a tattoo and then later on realize they would like to pursue a particular profession which may be difficult with some tattoos, especially those which are not ordinarily hidden under the clothes.
There are newer laser tattoo removal techniques which are better than those previously used. A high-intensity light beam is used to break up pigment colors which make up the tattoo. Black tattoo pigments are very easy to treat because they absorb all laser wavelengths, but other colors may be more challenging. The exact pigment color will determine the selected lasers which need to be used. Every case is different and thus the removal techniques used are always unique and individualized. It is important to work with a cosmetic surgery center or dermatologist who is reputable and trustworthy.
As mentioned previously, every tattoo and individual is different. Many factors may affect the treatment course. Aside from size and color, age, and tattoo type—professional or amateur—are also important. The depth of the tattoo pigment and the patient's skin color will also play a role. The number of treatments required to remove a tattoo will depend on the color(s) and size of said tattoo. Sometimes it may only take two treatments, but for more challenging cases 10 treatments may be required. A consultation should help an individual to understand how to proceed with their specific situation.
First, protective eye shields are used in order to protect that patient's eyes. A test is conducted to determine the skin's specific reaction to the laser. This will help to determine the most useful energy. The pulse of the laser is described as a snapping rubber band or grease splatter. The smaller the tattoo the fewer pulses which are required. As treatment goes on the tattoo will appear lighter. After the treatment is over an ice pack will be used over the treated area to sooth the skin. Antibiotic ointment or cream will also be used, and then a bandage will be placed over the area. Anesthesia is not generally used, but in some cases either painkiller injections or anesthesia cream may be implemented.
There are a few side effects which may be possible, but they are minimal. One may develop an infection at the removal site. There is also a risk that the tattoo may not be completely removed. Permanent scarring is also possible. Hyper-pigmentation and hypo-pigmentation are other potential side effects. The first causes the skin to be darker than surrounding skin, and the latter causes skin to be paler. The removal of cosmetic tattoos on the face could lead to darkened skin at first.