Have you ever tried getting a tattoo without much thought and falling in love with it but realize after a few days that you hated it? There are probably a handful of people who regret getting a tattoo. It could be that it was the name of your ex, a quote with wrong spelling or grammar, or bad tattoo art by the tattoo artist. Back then, it would’ve been extremely difficult to remove it but now, with the advent of technology, laser tattoo removal can make it look like the tattoo never existed before. If you’re itching to know how to get rid of a tattoo, then read on.
How is a tattoo formed?
Tattoos are body art forms that are made by placing ink, dyes, and other colored pigments into the dermis layer of the skin.
Before beginning the tattoo process, the skin is sterilized. The equipment used should also be sterilized. Hair is also shaved off if the area is hairy to make the procedure smooth and easy.
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The tattoo artist will then place an outline of the picture on your skin using special papers and inks that work like temporary tattoos. This way you can check it before any permanent work is done.
Then the actual process of tattooing will begin. This can be done manually by puncturing the skin with a needle then injecting the colored pigments. However, nowadays machines are the preferred option. With tattoo machines, tiny needles are used to place the ink just below the skin’s surface while the tattoo artist guides the machine. The area is then sterilized and bandaged.
After going through such tedious process, there are still times when people realize that they should never have done that at all. And through the years, due to increased public demand, tattoo removal has evolved.
Traditional Tattoo Removal Techniques
Before the laser tattoo removal technique came into picture, there were two known methods.
The first is through dermabrasion. In this method the tattooed area, was subjected to sanding until colored ink was removed.
Another method used was skin grafting. A piece of skin was cut off from another area of your body. This piece of skin will be used to replace the tattooed skin.
Each method was complicated and took time to let the skin heal and repair itself. However, with the advent of laser technology, tattoo removal has becomes easier to perform.
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What is Laser Tattoo Removal?
In the laser tattoo removal procedure, your tattooed skin is subjected to a laser beam which breaks down the pigments of colors from your tattoo. These broken down pigments is then slowly removed from skin surface.
Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure
Before the procedure, your skin is evaluated to identify the colors present in your tattoo and what kind of laser beams you would need in order to fully remove the tattoo. You might be given a topical anesthetic or administered local anesthesia to minimize the pain. You will also be given a protective eyepiece to protect your eyes.
The handheld device uses different types of wavelengths which is determined by the pigments in the colors. The device is placed on the surface of your skin and breaks down the colored pigments without affecting your skin. Then your immune system kicks in and removes the pigment from your body.
However, one sitting is not sufficient to remove the tattoo. You would need anywhere between 5-10 sittings for the complete removal of the tattoo. There needs to be a minimum of 4 weeks gap between two sittings. Depending on the ink and the area covered, your tattoo should be removed completely within 6 months to a year.
Cost of Laser Tattoo Removal
The cost of the laser tattoo removal can vary depending on the size of the tattoo, the pigments used and the location. On an average, a sitting should cost you about $100.
Risks and Side Effects
The procedure itself is very painful, since the laser beam creates a lot of targeted heat. Even after the procedure, your skin will feel hot and swollen for a couple of days. However anesthesia can minimize the pain. The pain and swelling will eventually ease up after a couple of days.
The skin that is subjected to the laser can lose some of its natural pigments and can turn pale.
There can be scarring in some cases if you pick on the treated area. This can be prevented by covering the area with bandages.
Sometimes you can experience blistering and infection in the area if not kept clean.
However, with the advancements that are happening in the laser industry, the side effects can be brought down to minimum and the treatment can be almost hassle free.
Is it really worth it?
This question all depends on you. There are a few things to consider when thinking about laser tattoo removal
- Do I really need to get rid of my tattoo?
Think about how badly you need to remove the tattoo? Are you ashamed of it? Do you hide it from people rather than show it proudly?
- Can I afford it?
We’ve discussed the costs and the duration of removal so you already have an idea of how much money, time, and effort it would cost. Again, this would vary depending on how big and how pigmented your tattoo is. But if you feel the need to remove it, then money should not be a problem.
- Is it worth the risk and pain?
Most likely yes since getting a tattoo is just as painful or even more. If you were able to sit through that, then laser tattoo removal won’t be a problem. Moreover, local and topical anesthetics will help. As for the risks of infection and scarring, this is greatly minimized with proper aftercare.
If you’re having second thoughts about that tattoo, now is the time to think about laser tattoo removal. Through this method, you can renew your skin and make it look like the tattoo never existed before.
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