5 Things to Know Before You Get Laser Tattoo Removal
In the wrong hands, lasers for tattoo removal can cause burns and scarring. Tattoo removal lasers work by smashing the ink into pieces small enough to be transported out of your body via the lymph system. We've put together the top 5 tips for deciding who to see to get the results you're looking for without the risk to your skin.
Cheap is not good
Expect to pay significantly more to get your tattoo off than you did getting it on. As a guide, to have a section treated the size of 1/2 a business card it's going to be around $180 depending on where you live. You will need a lot of treatments, see below for the reasons.
Patience is a virtue
You are going to need a lot of laser tattoo removal sessions. The more professional, more colourful, older and further from your heart, the longer it will take to lighten. This is because professional tattooists correctly place the ink deep into the tissue, unlike amateur ones where it is more superficial and easy to reach with the laser light. Older tattoos can have the ink encapsulated by proteins and the laser is unable to penetrate into it. Multiple colours take a number of different wavelengths to shift them. Be warned too that pastels can turn black as they oxidise after treatment. Tattoos on hands, feet, and the lower leg take longer to resolve because they are moved more slowly by the lymph system.
- Don't expect brand new looking skin
Sometimes despite many treatments, you will still have "ghosting" present. Ghosting is like a shadow of the tattoo that can't be reduced any further. This is because either the ink particles are too deep for the laser to reach or too small to have a shock wave effect on them any more, or both.
Sometimes your laser tattoo removal therapist will ice the area first, some will use a topical local anaesthetic or inject the area with an aneasthetic. Expect a strong, hot "snapping" feeling.
All laser therapists aren't created equally
Check that as an absolute minimum that your therapist has a Laser Safety Certificate that was done no earlier than March 2018 (this is when the new laser Standard 4173 came into effect). This means that they have had sufficient education to keep you safe during your treatment.