Most of you have been through the various phases of life. The highs and lows, the sadness and the happiness, the success and failures, falling in love and falling in hate. So many emotions, so many life altering events. It is not always possible to remember each and every one of them.
In the recent past “Getting Inked” had taken the world by storm. Tattoos were something which you and many people had resorted to, to ensure that you remember someone, something or some event in your life which makes sense only to you. It was extremely personal, but it was also termed as ‘cool’. The phrase of ‘body is a canvass and tattoos are the story’ was a famous one in the millennial world.
You were all young at some point of time. Free spirited, wild and rebellious. Getting inked might have been the rite of passage for many of you to fit in a certain group of people but once you grow up, you of course change and realise that you do not want this tattoo. It does not define you anymore. What do you do then?
How do you remove something which was meant to be permanent?
It’s a simple answer. Nowadays, where almost everything is possible, getting a tattoo removed is an easy process involving time and some amount of pain.
A tattoo is not permanent anymore however, the removal of it is lengthy but highly effective.
Is Permanent Tattoo Removal Possible?
With the advancement of technology and medicine, it is now possible to remove tattoos which were meant to be permanent. Many a times, you get tattoos done especially when you are young and carefree, but as you grow older, it might get embarrassing.
So now with various procedures such as Laser Tattoo Removal, Dermabrasion and Salabrasion, it is possible to remove tattoos. It does take time and money but if your tattoo brings bad memories or bad ‘vibes’, time and money becomes a secondary factor.
What is Tattoo Removal?
Now, when the question of tattoo removal comes up, it is usually understood that it is permanent tattoo removal that people want. There are a few ways for tattoo removal which are effective.
Tattoo removal or permanent tattoo removal is the process by which the pigment which the tattoos are made of is broken down. In the case of laser tattoo removal method, a high intensity light beam is used to break up the pigment colours. Many people say that black pigment is easier to remove compared to other colours however, that is not true.
What are the available tattoo removal methods?
Laser Tattoo Removal
Tattoo removal with a laser is one of the most effective and used methods to remove tattoos in the present day.
With the use of high powered lasers and light rays, the pigment of the tattoo is slowly and gradually broken down to make the tattoo disappear from the skin.
Lasers used for tattoo removal are argon laser, Q-switched Ruby laser, Q-switched Alexandrite laser, Q-switched Nd-YAG laser, Carbon dioxide laser.
The first step in the procedure of laser tattoo removal is consultation with your cosmetic surgeon. If you do not have one, we at Ambrosia Clinics are always here to help you with your tattoo removal. So book an appointment or visit us directly.
How is Laser Tattoo Removal done?
In the procedure of consultation, your tattoo is carefully evaluated and then the procedure of laser tattoo removal will be explained to you. The number of treatments will be based on the age, size and colour of your tattoo and the colour of your skin.
When it comes to the procedure, here’s how it works, in general:
- Protective eye shields will be given to you to protect your eyes from the light rays.
- Your skin’s reaction to the laser will be checked by doing a patch test before the actual session by the surgeon in order to determine the most effective energy for the laser tattoo removal treatment.
- The laser is used to pass pulses of high intensity light through the top most layers of the skin which will be absorbed by the pigment of the tattoo.
Smaller tattoos when compared to bigger tattoos will require less number of pulses in order to be removed. But however, in the case of both big and small tattoos, if you want to get your tattoo removed, it will take many sessions or treatments.
Black pigment absorbs all the wavelengths of the laser, hence it is comparatively easier, however, coloured pigment can also be completely removed with laser tattoo removal using different or selected lasers, just the difference is that the time taken is longer.
Benefits and possible side effects of Laser Tattoo removal:
Just like every other kind of treatment, even laser tattoo removal has its share of benefits and side effects as well. However, in comparison, laser tattoo removal is one of the most effective and safe methods of tattoo removal there is.
The benefits of Laser tattoo removal are:
- No scarring: One of the most important benefits of laser tattoo removal is that there is no scarring involved. The light rays are designed to not target your healthy skin cells.
- Effective fading of Tattoos: The whole point of laser tattoo removal is to make your tattoo disappear or fade. Well it does exactly that without any kind of lasting effects.
- Minimal Recovery: The recovery time and steps post the procedure is 7-10 days. All you have to do is not expose your skin to the sun for a few days after the procedure. The redness and swelling also subsides in a few days.There will be formation of crust which will shed away in one week.
- Safety: The risk of infection when it comes to laser tattoo removal is minimal or not even present.
Laser tattoo removal procedure sounds good, right? But like everything, even this has its share of side effects.
These side effects are:
- Hypopigmentation: Once the procedure is done, rarely laser tattoo removal results in the pigmentation on the area of the skin which is treated.
- Sometimes, it so happens, specially if your tattoo is filled with various colours and is big in size. In those cases, laser tattoo removal may not be entirely successful and you might have ghost image of the tattoo .
Dermabrasion Tattoo Removal
When it comes to dermabrasion for tattoo removal, it is quite different from laser treatment. Dermabrasion is the process where the skin is abrading of skin. But when it comes to tattoo removal, this process acts like a process of deep exfoliation.
The process of dermabrasion for tattoo removal is done using a high speed brush or even a wheel on the skin. This high speed brush, penetrates the skin to reach the part of the skin where the pigment of the tattoo is present. Usually the tattoo pigment is at a depth of one millimeter under the skin’s surface. So in this procedure, the wheel or brush removes the top layer of the skin as well as the dermis layer which contains the pigment of the tattoo.
However, you must understand that this procedure as well comes with an array of risks. This procedure cannot always be done with utmost precision and often the brush can penetrate through deeper layers of the skin, causing damage. After the tattoo removal treatment with dermabrasion, the skin can be more sensitive to infections.
This procedure is limited to small tattoos and cannot be done for big and more complex tattoos specially with various colors as well. It is risky and can cause scarring post procedure. These destructive modalities are not recommended for modern tattoo removal. Hence it is very important for you to consult with your doctor or us so that we can help you choose the right treatment for your tattoo to disappear forever.
Surgical excision effectively removes the entire tattoo but leaves a linear scar.surgical excision is preferable in smaller tattoos and people who are allergic to their tattoos. People who are allergic to their own tattoos laser tattoo removal may lead too anaphylactic reactions. Larger tattoos and tattoos on bony prominence surgical excision is not recommended
Is it painful to get tattoos removed?
It is painful to get tattoos removed. It does not matter what method you opt for or what procedure is suggested by the doctor, there is some sort of pain involved which will of course subside in time.
If you can bear the pain while getting that tattoo, you can take the pain which comes forth while getting the tattoo removed.
How many sessions are required for complete tattoo removal?
The sessions always depend on the size and colour of your tattoo. It can also depend on the placement as in some places in your body, the skin is more sensitive than the others. Generally, on an average, tattoo removal procedure require about 8 to 9 sessions. For some it might be less, while for others it might be more as well.
Does the colour of the tattoo impact the procedure?
This is what many argue about. Some say that some ink clours used are difficult to remove, some say it is not. However, to put an end to all those futile discussions, the colour of the tattoo does affect the procedure. There are many procedure such as dermabrasion where the size of the tattoo matters.
In the laser tattoo removal procedure, the colour of the tattoo matters immensely. Tattoos which are black in colour are easier to remove when it comes to coloured tattoos. The pigmentation of the tattoos which are of different colours are more difficult for the light rays as the colour black naturally absorbs the light emitted by the laser.
Post procedure care after Laser Tattoo removal:
After the tattoo removal procedure, there are a number of steps to take if you really want to maintain the state of the tattoo which has been made to fade or disappear.
Most of the instructions is given by the surgeon and which needs to be followed to the point and strictly.
- Post 24 hours of the tattoo removal procedure, hot baths and physical activities should be avoided and cold compresses should be applied on the area of the skin on which the procedure was done.
- For one or two weeks post the tattoo removal procedure, direct exposure to sun and exposure to pool water should be avoided.
- If there are blisters which is common, do not pop it. It will subside on its own.
- High pressure water of showers or taps should not directly hit the area where the tattoo removal procedure was done.
- Shaving on the area if needed should be avoided until the area is completely healed.
- Application of sunscreen should be done religiously on the treated area until completely healed.
All these steps should be remembered and followed post the tattoo removal procedure so as to ensure healing. Rarely blurred outline of the tattoo may remain as ghost image.
Tattoos are reminder, the scars(if any) after the procedure is also a reminder of the tattoo which was one there. But just in case you cannot and do not want to have something inked on your body which is not relevant to your life anymore, then visit us or book an appointment with us at Ambrosia Clinics and we will make sure that your tattoo fades away.
About The Doctor:
Dr. Theertha Lenin, BHMS, FMC is a Medical Cosmetologist, Aesthetician and Tattoo artist. Her passion towards aesthetic medicine made her start practice at very young age.She has been a part of several organisations at various locations in India; and is one of the best cosmetologists among her peers. She has passion and skill in non–surgical cosmetic procedures like Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, Dermaroller, Stem Cell Therapy, Anti–Ageing Treatment, Chemical Peels, Laser Therapy, Mesotherapy. She does preliminary counselling and looks after patients before and after major surgeries too.