Having second thoughts about your tattoo?
If so, you're not alone. Every day, we see patients from every walk of life that have second thoughts about their tattoos. What once seemed like a good idea just doesn't fit your new image, and you wish it would just go away.
How are tattoos removed?
Dr. Memar performs tattoo removal for patients in the Chicago area with medical lasers that work on colored as well as black inks. Medical lasers use an intense beam of light to significantly lighten or completely remove your tattoo. Different wavelengths of light treat different colors of ink. When the ink particles of your tattoo absorb the light from the laser, they are broken up into tiny fragments. These fragments are then absorbed through your body's natural cleansing mechanism. This cleansing process generally takes a few weeks. Larger ink particles may require multiple treatments.
Tattoo removal by Infrared Coagulation uses infrared light to reach the skin layer that contains the tattoo's ink. The treated area may blister, depending on the color of the ink. However, all colors respond to infrared coagulation.
How do laser and infrared treatments compare to other methods of tattoo removal?
Your other treatment options for removing your tattoo include surgical excision, dermabrasion (or sanding) and chemical peels. These methods are more invasive and painful, and can often result in scarring.
Laser and infrared tattoo removal are safer. They are non-invasive and only target the ink used in the tattoo process.
What are the treatments like?
Some patients say they feel a slight sting, like the snap of a rubber band on the skin, followed by the feeling of sunburn. Many treatments do not require anesthetics. However, some patients feel more comfortable with a local numbing agent like ice or an anesthetic cream. For others, a local anesthetic injection may be beneficial.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required for maximum improvement depends on the size, location, depth and color of your tattoo. Treatments should be placed 4 - 8 weeks apart to allow your body to remove the maximum amount of tattoo pigment. Treatment sessions usually take from 10 - 30 minutes.
Most patients will see improvement in their tattoos. The improvement can be quite dramatic. However, large or heavily pigmented tattoos applied by a professional tattooist can require several treatments for optimum results.
What will my skin look like after treatment?
After Dr. Memar performs your tattoo removal treatment, your skin may have a white discoloration, and the area around the tattoo may be reddish and could have some swelling. This is normal and will disappear slowly over time. Maximum treatment results take about 5 – 6 weeks. Following infrared treatment, an anti-bacterial ointment and gauze will be applied to the treated area to minimize infection.
Are there any side effects?
Occasionally, hypopigmentation, or a whitening of the skin, may occur. But, normal skin tone should return within 6 – 12 months following your last treatment session. Since the ink used in tattooing is not regulated, some patients have only partial clearing even after several laser sessions.