- How Does Tattoo Removal work?
The skin has three layers: the epidermis or outer layer, the dermis or middle layer and the hypodermis or bottom layer. When you receive a tattoo, the ink is placed in the dermis. Lasers send energy through the epidermis with enough energy and heat to fragment or break up the ink in the dermis.
- Then what happens?
When the ink breaks into small enough particles, it is able to penetrate through the hypodermis, it is seen by your body as a foreign object. Macrophages, large cells that remove foreign bodies, encapsulate the ink and it is eliminated from the body by the lymphatic system.
The healthier your immune system, the better the results. Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly and drink large amounts of water see a more positive result. Those who smoke or ingest other toxins tend to need more treatments over a longer period of time.
- When assessing the removal process, what are the factors?
There are a number of factors that will determine the duration and ultimate result of the procedure. These include:
– The size of the tattoo
– The location of the tattoo
– The depth of the ink
– The density of the ink
– The colors of the tattoo
– The type of the ink
– The health of your immune system
- How long will each session of treatment take?
The removal process is actually very fast, the time of each session will ultimately be determined on the size of the tattoo being removed. Very large tattoos will be removed in sections, with time in between sessions, to allow the body to eliminate the ink most efficiently.
- How many sessions will I need?
On average, it takes 12-15 sessions to remove a tattoo. However this is only an average and it may be less, depending on the tattoo and your body. As stated above, the healthier you are (drinking water and exercising, abstain from smoking), the more likely you are to get good results in a shorter period of time.
- Which colors will fade the fastest?
Black does seem to fade the fastest and the first color we target with the laser. That being said, there are some times when the black also includes greens and purples to make the color richer (we won’t know this until we begin the process of removing the black). In general, colored tattoos take more treatments than a tattoo which only contains black.
- Will it go away 100%?
There are over 250 different types of tattoo inks, none of which are regulated by the FDA. In addition, everybody’s immune system is different. In many cases we can remove a tattoo 100% (though this is not guaranteed). If, for whatever reason it cannot be 100% removed, it will fade. At this point, you could get another tattoo over the faded tattoo or use makeup to cover it up.
- Does it hurt?
Yes. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, but it does hurt. We have options to help with the pain.
- How do I care for it after?
For some time after the session, the area may feel as if it is sunburned. Ice, on and off, can help with the discomfort. You will be given a full set of after-care instructions when your session is complete.
- Can you remove a portion of my tattoo?
Yes. We can cover any areas you wish to keep, removing only what you want removed.
- Will I see a difference after my first session?
It takes about 2 weeks for the body to absorb the ink. Some people see some difference after the first session, though many do not. It will be working, however it may take a few sessions to start seeing the results.
- How long will I have to wait between each treatment?
We recommend at least 6 weeks. This will allow your body to absorb and eliminate the ink and your skin to rest before the next treatment.
- What if I am tan?
We know being tan looks great, but if the area around your tattoo is tan, you run the risk of hypo (too little) or hyper (too much) pigmentation. If you come in to tan, you may be asked to wait until your tan has faded before we will do the procedure.