What To Expect From Laser Tattoo Removal

Few regrets are more lasting than that of a tattoo you no longer adore. Once upon a time, all tattoos were permanent. Fortunately, with the advent of laser removal, many tattoos can now be removed or at least faded away and into obscurity. Before going under the laser, read this guide so you know what to expect.

Not All Removals Are Successful

Laser removal is one of the more reliable removal methods, but it doesn't work well on every tattoo. The type and color of ink, combined with your skin type and the depth of the ink, can all affect the removal process. If you are prone to raised scarring, for example, laser removal may remove all the ink but leave you with a raised scar. For others, the tattoo fades but there is still a slight ghost image of the old work visible. Speak with a tattoo removal specialist before you begin so they can professionally assess both the tattoo and your scarring potential.

You're In It for the Long Haul

It may have only taken a couple of hours to get that tattoo, but it's going to take several months to remove it. Your treatment specialist may be able to provide an estimate on the number of treatments, but it's impossible to know how many you need until the removal is assessed after the first couple of treatments. Suffice it to say that even a small tattoo will requires multiple treatment sessions.

Generally, there is a six-week waiting period after each session, which gives your skin time to fully heal. This wait time may be less if you heal more quickly, or it could be longer if you heal more slowly. This means that it can take more than six months to complete five removal sessions. Trying to speed up the process can increase the chances for scarring.

Expect Some Side Effects

Laser removal does have some side effects, but fortunately, most are only temporary inconveniences. Blisters, bleeding, swelling, and irritation are the most common issues. These usually occur immediately following a session, and they heal within a few weeks. Skin color changes can also occur. The laser may affect the pigment in your skin, causing it to lighten or darken. This can take several months to correct itself after the final laser treatment. Finally, raised keloid scarring is a risk for some people. These scars are often permanent, so you may want to consider another tactic to correct an unwanted tattoo if you are prone to these types of scars.