Got some ink in your twenties that isnt looking so hot anymore? Got an exs name you dont want to see on your body every day? Made aquick decision youre regretting now?
The majority ofmiddle-aged Americans with tattoosare deciding to blast away old ink. There are a lot of factors which can make youregret a tattoo, from employment options to a breakup to a badly done tattoo.
If youre not loving your ink anymore, laser tattoo removal could help you get your skin cleaned up. If youre wondering, how does laser tattoo removal work? and youre not sure where to start, this article is for you. Here are seven things you need to know about the process.
Laser tattoo removalis the most common form of tattoo removal.
It looks simple, but its actually a rather complex chemical process at least as complex as the process of getting a tattoo in the first place.
The laser is used to break up pigment particles under your skin. Then, yourlymphatic systemlatches onto the pigment particles and carries them away to get excreted.
Youre using the bodys natural mechanisms to break up your tattoo. Pretty cool, right?
Before we go any further, though, we should clear up some of the mechanics.
We said the laser breaks up pigment so your lymphatic system will carry them away. This is because your lymphatic system recognizes these particles as foreign.
But, the lymphatic system recognizes tattoo ink as foreign from the moment the tattoo gun starts working on your skin.Tattoo inkis made from a combination of compounds which can vary from one shop to the next some artists mix their own ink and would be able to tell you whats in it, but many dont.
That said, most common tattoo inks include compounds made fromheavy metalslike copper, lead, and manganese.
Unsurprisingly, your body doesnt like having heavy metals hanging out in your skin and it dispatches white blood cells to engulf them and get rid of the compounds. Its partially successful, which is why all tattoos fade over time.
However, most ink particles are too large for white blood cells to fully engulf, which is why tattoos wont completely fade on their own. Thats why tattoos are permanent.
Laser tattoo removal uses a combination of heat and speed to force the particles to rip apart, leaving them in smaller pieces your lymphatic system can handle.
Laser tattoo removal presses the fast-forward button on your tattoos aging process. If it seems like its a breeze, dont get too excited quite yet.
It would be a simple processif all tattoo parlors used the exact same combinations of compounds to create their inks. Many shops buy from manufacturers who have been in business for many years, but some mix their own ink, either for artistic reasons or lack of state regulation.
Youresafest getting a tattoofrom a shop that buys from a well-established ink manufacturer. But if you got that tattoo twenty years ago, theres a chance the shop may not be in business anymore.
Why does all this matter?
It matters because the ink itself will affect the efficacy of your treatment and how many treatments youll need to see results. Unfortunately, this isnt something a technician can figure out during your consultation.
Some tattoos fade quickly. Others need several treatments and may only partially fade. Still, others leave a ghost image and raised scarring.
It depends a lot on the tattoo in question. Either way, you should assume youre going to need multiple treatments.
Another factor which affects how well your tattoo fades is where the tattoo is located on your body. Tattoo artists (the good ones, anyway) will tell you different areas of the body are better for tattoos than others.
This is due to a variety of factors, such as thequality of the skin(how well it holds ink), how much the tattoo willfade in a given area(areas more often exposed to the sun, like forearms and wrists, always fade faster), and how painful it will be to get your tattoo in a certain area (hint: ribs and feet hurt).
Ironically, the areas where tattoos fade the least (the torso and back, closest to the heart) are also the areas which are most successful when it comes to tattoo removal.
Thats because areas closest to the heart have better circulation, which means its easier for your lymphatic system to carry ink to your liver and its easier to heal following a treatment.
Ankles are one of the most painful areas to get a tattoo (very little padding on the bone) and theyre also one of the least successful areas for tattoo removal.
In addition, the quality of the tattoo will also affect how easy (or hard) it is to get the tattoo removed.
Tattoos done by established professionals usually penetrate the skin more deeply and uniformly, which can make them easier to treat. But, professional tattoos are usually more saturated with ink, which leaves a lot more ink for the laser to break up.
Amateur tattoos, as a rule, are easier to remove, since theyre applied unevenly and with less ink. Fortunately (or unfortunately), amateur tattoos (particularly sloppy ones) are the kind of tattoo people regret the most.
Youve probably had a pressing question on your mind for a while now: is this going to hurt, and if so, how badly?
Well, picture how much it hurt to get your tattoo in the first place. An ink gun with tiny needles stitching ink into your skin. Then add in the sensation of ink particles burning at thousands of degrees.
It doesnt burn your skin because the heat is so rapid and so specifically directed toward the ink particles that it instead creates a shockwave. This causes the upper layer of skin to frost, i.e. to lift up and appear white briefly.
Yes, its going to hurt. Quite a lot, in fact. Possibly more than getting the tattoo in the first place.
Finally, you should be aware of the potential side effects of laser tattoo removal.
Laser technicians and tattoo artists both know theyre not working with a static canvas theyre working with live tissue. Everyones skin is different, and everyones skin will react differently to laser removal.
The most common side effect is lightening or darkening of the skin. This is normal the laser attacks some pigmentation in your skin as well as the tattoo. This usually corrects itself after 6-12 months.
Theres also the chance the ink itself will darken after a treatment, depending on what compounds are in the tattoo. This can be resolved after multiple treatments, but you will have to deal with it in the interim.
Since youre essentially creating a micro-burn in an area where foreign particles and white blood cells are already fighting it out in your skin, theres also the chance for infection, burns, scars, and textural changes of the skin.
This is why caring for the affected area between treatments is vital it will help the area heal properly and minimize scarring.
If youre regretting your tattoo and wondering, how does laser tattoo removal work? youve come to the right place.
We offer non-invasive tattoo removal and skin restoration services, helping you see faster results so you can go back to your life with a clean slate.
Got questions? Want to schedule an appointment? Dont wait.Get in touchwith us today.
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