Find how you can remove that tattoo you no longer want...
Tattoos are accumulations of ink in the dermis whose stability and permanence in the skin is due to the size of their particles –larger than 6 microns– because they are too big to be eliminated by macrophages, the natural cells responsible for removing foreign substances from the body.
In recent years, there has been a growing popularity of artistic tattoos and with the years more and more people want to get rid of it for very different reasons.
Best results in removal and complete erasure of tattoos is –without any doubt– with the Q-Switch Nd-YAG laser. This laser selectively destroys ink particles of the tattoo. However, it usually causes one-time light bleeding and/or epidermis whitening. In most cases, epidermal portions are vaporized and come off from the dermis, which causes a superficial wound. Proper wound care is essential to avoid adverse effects and allow a quick healing. The care of the wound should be like the one of a mild burn. The patient should be willing to comply with all recommended guidelines, including avoiding sun exposure during the healing phase.
Q-Switch laser emits a beam of light that is selectively absorbed by the ink particles that will then burst and fragment without damaging healthy skin.
The sessions are repeated every 6 to 8 weeks to allow the organism to naturally remove resulting ink fragments and most tattoos need 2 to 6 sessions to be eliminated.
The patient should consult with the doctor for detailed information about his or her problem, treatment options, risks, benefits, complications and results before accepting any laser treatment.
It is not recommended if pregnant, for patients with tendency to present keloid scars and/or cold sores, with psoriasis and/or vitiligo, or if medication is taken –in case it reduces the effectiveness of the laser treatment.
Tattoo Removal FaQs
How does laser treatment work?
Selective ink absorption of tattoos with high-power pulses of laser causes the wanted ink particles to automatically be broken while significantly diminishing the potential surrounding tissue damage. The fragmented particles are then removed from the skin by the immune or lymphatic system.
Does the treatment have any side effects?
In general, the treatment is mild and smooth and only causes a slight discomfort with minimal side effects. Anaesthetic cream can be used to numb the area and avoid pain.
How many treatments are needed?
The amount of sessions depends on several factors, including the depth of the ink in the skin, how long the patient has had the tattoo and the colour intensity. Even so, most people need 5 to 6 treatment sessions and they start seeing results after just the first or second session.
Is there a recovery period between each session?
Although treatment sessions are scheduled with 4 to 6 weeks between them, there is no recovery period needed after a one of them. The patient can return to normal activity immediately afterwards.
What types of tattoo can be removed?
Even though some inks and pigments are more difficult to remove than others, most of the colours can be erased, including black, blue, green, brown and even red.
Tattoo removal results
Nowadays, Q-Switch Nd-YAG laser is the best choice to remove tattoos of any colour.
The results are excellent in many patients. However, in a few others, cosmetics benefits may be lower and they should be aware of it so they don’t have false expectations.
Best results are achieved with dark-ink tattoos –black, as well as blue–, which will be usually completely removed. Lighter colours are more resistant and they precise more sessions.
Professional tattoos, cosmetic tattoos by micropigmentation –lips, eyebrows, eyeliner, etc.– and accidental tattoos because of the penetration of products that pigment the skin can be removed.
It is not guaranteed the 100% removal of the tattoo, since it depends on its colour, when was it done and the patient’s skin colour.
Skin reactions after a tattoo removal treatment
After the session, the area of the tattoo will usually be swollen and inflamed. Light and one-time bleeding may occasionally occur producing scabs that will dry down and heal within 10 to 15 days.
Skin care after each laser session
It is essential to always follow the doctor’s recommendations and to go to follow-up appointments.
It is recommended to apply an antibiotic cream twice a day until the scab is fully healed, as well as avoiding scratching it and letting it to detach by itself.
It is highly contraindicated to expose the treated skin area to the sun and UVA booths for at least six weeks after each session.
Practical tattoo removal cases