Something that was once thought to be a permanent mark on the body can now be removed with the help of a specialized laser. With advanced technology, we now have the capability to remove unwanted tattoos and leave people with a clean slate.
Even though there have been numerous methods used over time to remove tattoos, laser tattoo removal is considered the most safe and effective removal procedure currently available. The laser works by delivering short powerful pulses of energy to the tattoo, which shatters the ink particles. The body’s immune system will then respond to the laser treatment in a series of responses that will flush away shattered ink over the course of a few weeks.
Even though lasers are the most effective method of removing tattoos, many misconceptions exist about the procedure and prompt many individuals to be apprehensive about having the treatment done. Here are some common examples of laser tattoo removal myths:
- “Tattoo removal creams work just as well as laser tattoo removal.” This is definitely not the case. There has been no significant evidence to prove that these creams (i.e. wrecking balm, pro fad, rejuvi, etc.) work to remove ink from tattoos. In most cases, these creams just use bleach or other abrasive chemicals to mask the tattoo instead of actually removing any of the ink particles. When tattoo ink has settled into deeper layer of the skin (the dermis), then creams would not be able to reach into that deep layer to target the ink.
- “Laser tattoo removal often causes scarring.” There is a minimal risk of scarring that is associated with these procedures. Scarring can happen but is uncommon, and the risk is very low if proper protocol is followed. Certified laser specialists will use a recommended amount of energy to ensure that scarring does not happen. We also recommend at least six to eight weeks in between each treatment to ensure proper healing of skin to make sure scarring does not occur from too much energy and not enough healing time for the affected skin. Individuals should also be aware that scarring can result from picking scabs after laser treatments, and should follow strict aftercare instructions to prevent this from occurring.
- “A laser hair machine will be effective at removing my tattoo.” Absolutely not! Hair removal lasers often do use some of the same wavelengths as some tattoo removal lasers, but the duration of the pulse is MUCH longer. The pulse from a hair removal laser is about 1 million times longer than that of a tattoo removal laser. Due to the difference in pulse width, hair removal lasers are completely inappropriate to use for removing tattoos. It will direct a pulse of energy that lasts for much too long, causing thermal injury and potential scarring of the skin.
- “New tattoos cannot be removed.” Tattoos do not need to be old and faded to be removed. We can treat fresh tattoos as long as the skin is completely healed and there are no scabs. It is actually beneficial to treat new tattoos because there will still be ink settled in the top layer of the skin, which is easier to treat. Healing time will vary, but most people will need at least 4 weeks of healing time before beginning a laser tattoo removal treatment session.
- “Tattoos will come off with just one laser treatment” Not the case! Some companies make promises of this very claim, but it is not realistic. No clinic on earth has the technology to completely shatter all of the ink in a professional tattoo in just one visit. There are many different factors that influence how many treatment sessions someone will need to completely remove his/her tattoo and can include the following: type of ink used in tattooing, amount of ink in the tattoo, depth of ink, scar tissue present in the tattooed skin, part of the body tattooed, if the ink is homemade or professional, condition of the immune system, circulation of the blood in the treated area, skin type, age of tattoo, age of patient, etc. There is just no way to predict how many treatment sessions it will take to completely remove a tattoo, but we usually find that it can range from 5-12 treatment sessions. It is a process and requires a commitment, but we definitely have the technology to completely remove tattoos.
If you are considering having a tattoo removed, just remember that lasers are the absolute best and safest way to remove a tattoo. Here at New Look Laser Tattoo Removal, we are the longest running tattoo removal clinic in Houston and are highly skilled at removing all different types of tattoos. If you are in need of removing your ink, contact the staff at New Look Houston at (713) 783-2000 to set up a free consultation.