Making mistakes is part of growing up as a young adult. For some people, getting a tattoo is the mistake that lives with them every day. Luckily, with modern advances in technology, there are various ways to partially and fully remove unwanted ink. Depending on the technology used and the expertise of the tattoo remover, most people come out of tattoo removal procedures satisfied. But that isn’t to say tattoo removal is without its possible side effects. Some people may experience scarring, changes in skin texture, and burns after getting their tattoos removed. While these effects vary case by case, people with sensitive skin who are predisposed to excessive scarring may want to take precautions.
Continue reading to learn more about tattoo removal and what you can do to mitigate the side effects associated with it.
How Does Tattoo Removal Work?
Tattoo removal is the process of using light-pulse lasers to separate tattoo ink into smaller particles that can be flushed out by the body’s immune system. The specialized laser shoots bursts of light energy that become absorbed by the ink particles in the dermis of the skin. Different levels of light energy are used to target different pigments of ink and help extract them from the body. The laser technology used in this process is called “Q-switching,” also known as “giant pulse formation.” This technique was developed and implemented in the 1960s and has since been used for a variety of purposes including metal work, precision measurement and, of course, tattoo removal.
Tattoo removal should be performed by a trained professional with a demonstrated history of accomplished procedures. Tattoo removers do not need to carry a medical license to practice, so it’s important to find a reliable professional who knows what he/she is doing. Depending on several factors, a patient may need anywhere from three to ten treatments (and sometimes more) for complete removal. Tattoo size, amount of colors present, and cover-up of a previous tattoo all factor into the number of required treatments for complete removal. In some cases, a patient may want to preserve a portion of the tattoo with a partial removal that will likely require fewer sessions. On average, six to eight weeks of wait time is required between sessions to attain optimal results.
Tattoo removal procedures are accompanied by at least some pain which patients say is comparable to getting a tattoo. After a tattoo removal treatment, patients may experience bruising, swelling, redness, blisters, tenderness, and hyperpigmentation. Although these symptoms usually subside, they can cause the patient discomfort over the course of several treatments. In rare cases, having your tattoo removed can lead to scarring. If a scar was present at the site before receiving the tattoo, it will still be there after tattoo removal. If scarring was induced upon receiving a tattoo, laser treatments for tattoo removal will expose the previously-attained scar.
If you originally got a tattoo to cover up your scar, then having the tattoo removed will expose it once again. This can be discomforting, especially if you’ve had the scar for a long time. The thing to understand about old scars is that there is still hope in treating them. Certain scars that are raised and discolored, known as keloids or hypertrophic scars
, may be good candidates for silicone gel treatment
Silicone gel technology emerged over 30 years ago as the gold standard among surgeons and dermatologist for topical scar management. Silicone gel in the form of sheeting
to flatten and fade new and old scars from surgery or injury. Through the mechanisms of dermal hydration
and collagen regulation
, medical silicone helps to make problem scars less noticeable while also promoting greater tensile strength. The process of attaining and removing a tattoo is a traumatic experience for the skin. Even if no scarring results, the post-tattoo skin may still benefit from the hydrating effects
of topical silicone. If your goal is to promote a healthy healing response after tattoo removal, topical silicone should be your first line of defense.