Seemed a good idea at the time? Did something you regretted later? Moved on or out grown the symbols of your past life?
Thankfully most tattoos can now be removed using the latest in Q-Switched laser technology available at SkinSmart.
Q-Switched Lasers produce very short high intensity pulses of laser energy ideal for breaking down the particles of ink in tattoos. These ink particle fragments can then be carried away by the body’s lymphatic system and excreted.
A series of treatments is required to remove most tattoos from the skin. The number of treatments depending on the complexity of the tattoo and the number of colours present.
Some colours, especially pale blues and yellows may be impossible to remove fully.
Benefits and Application
Three different wavelengths of laser light are used to remove the different coloured inks used in tattoos.
The more colours and the more complex the tattoo the more treatments it will require to remove fully and the more chance that some outline of the tattoo will remain.
It is important that the area to be treated be kept out of the sun for at least 4 weeks prior to the first treatment and during the treatment process. Any tanning of the skin overlying the tattoo will cause absorption of the laser energy in the surface of the skin resulting in less laser energy penetrating into the tattoo ink and therefore more treatments required to remove the ink completely. Tanning also increases the risk of the laser permanently removing pigment from the skin resulting in a pale outline of the tattoo being left behind following treatment.
No sunscreen or other creams ( except numbing cream ) should be applied to the tattoo prior to the procedure.
Laser goggles are worn during the procedure to protect the eyes. The surface of the skin is then cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt or residues that might interfere with the penetration of the laser into the tattoo. Depending on the colour of the ink in the tattoo it is systematically treated with one of 3 different laser wavelengths.
A cracking sensation is heard as the laser fires and a small sting similar to being snapped with an elastic band is felt. The surface of the tattoo will turn white and bubble slightly as it is treated with the laser. The procedure then continues until the whole surface of the tattoo has been treated.
The treated area may be red, swollen and itchy for several hours after each treatment. This reaction can be lessened by taking an anti histamine on the morning of the procedure.
Scabbing of the tattoo can persist for 1 – 2 weeks following the treatment depending on where on the body the tattoo was treated.
Downtime is largely dependent on the area of the body that is treated. There may be some itching and swelling of the skin at the site of the treatment and this may persist for several hours.
Loose clothing should be worn after the treatment to prevent irritation of the treated area by rubbing.
Occasionally a dressing may be needed to cover the area for a day or two after the procedure.
Some colours of tattoo ink are much harder to remove than others and sometimes part of the tattoo may not be able to be removed by the laser.
Removal of the tattoo may also result in the removal of some skin pigmentation leaving a pale outline of the tattoo. This is more of a problem in darker skin types but usually lessens over time and may be treated by gradual exposure to small amounts of sun.
Discomfort and Costs
There is a snapping sensation experienced with the laser that has been likened to being flicked with a rubber band. The sensation is usually less than that experienced when that tattoo was put on!
Local anaesthetic cream can be applied to the area prior to the procedure to lessen the discomfort.
Itching and swelling of the skin in the surrounding area may be experienced after the treatment but this usually settles within a few hours. This can be lessened by taking an antihistamine on the morning of the procedure.
Tattoo removal starts from $250 per treatment but costs are dependent on the size and complexity of the tattoo and can be discussed on the first appointment.