Scarring From Laser Tattoo Removal & Number of Treatments
How many treatments will it take to remove my tattoo is one of the most common questions asked from the doctors during the initial consultation. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult for any Doctor to answer with any degree of certainty. The national average will say 8.3 treatments can remove a tattoo. However just saying that is not accurate and misleading. Some patients even have an amateur tattoo removed with two treatments only.
And some patients with the professional tattoo on the toe take greater than 12. There are factors that have to be considered that around the control of neither the doctor nor the person getting the tattoo removed. One is your natural skin tone. People with darker complexion require regenlite treatment and a longer period of time in between treatments to avoid scarring from laser tattoo removal and hyper pigmentation. Hyper pigmentation occurs when the laser inadvertently removes melanin along with a tattoo ink.
In doing so, it leaves behind a white blotch where the tattoo used to be. Also, the position of the tattoo is very important. Head and neck tattoos tend to come out quicker than tattoos on foot in the top. The amount of ink and the color of your tattoo are of paramount importance. Tattoos swollen with ink tend to require more treatments as do multicolored tattoos. The colors that are chosen for your tattoo can also affect the number of treatments.
Does Ink Color Matter?
Black inks and red inks tend to come out the easiest. Green ink is very variable. Sometimes it comes out fairly easy sometimes it proves to be resistant. The yellow ink is extremely resistant. And the white will not come out at all. The amount of scarring present is also important. People don’t think about it, but when they get that tattoo, the needle makes a fine scar. Tattoos that feel raised that you could touch and elevated from the skin tend to require more treatments. Persons that have a cover up tattoo are a unique situation.
Because that means there are two different tattoos to deal with simultaneously. Dealing with the sensitivity of the tattoo can be seen coupled with a tattoo that’s below. Should the tattoo below not be amenable to laser tattoo removal. Then mostly the chances are that there will be very dissatisfied results. Therefore it’s imperative that if you have a layer tattoo that you know precisely what was under that tattoo.
Possibly the biggest concern of all is the tattoo ink itself. Since tattoo ink is not regulated. The substances in it vary from brand to brand. We just don’t know. Sometimes it could be substances in that tattoo ink that you’re just not amenable to laser tattoo removal and it might cause problems till the procedure gets started.
When can I Get a New Tattoo Removed?
Many times a patient presents in the office requesting for a laser tattoo removal only to find that there tattoo is a day or 2 old. The question arises as to when is it safe to laser a fresh tattoo and when it’s best to hold off. Today we’re going to discuss this from a physiological point of view because it’s very important to understand the physiology of your tattoo and the workings of the lasers designed to remove them. Mostly at the laser removal facilities the patients are told to wait for 3 to 4 weeks if their tattoos are fresh and then are asked to return for a reevaluation.
Sometimes upon their return, they say the tattoo wasn’t nearly as bad as they initially thought and decided they’re going to keep it. During those few weeks, the skin is allowed to heal. If the dermis is now healed and the ink is somewhat set into the dermal. The day you get your tattoo a fine needle pierces your epidermis completely allowing tattoo ink to be set in the dermal layer of the skin. That ink is seen by your body is a foreign object & the immune system sends cells to attack it and carry it off.
Immune System & Duration
However, the volume of ink is far too great for the immune system to have any real effect. In times that ink settles into some of the cells. And a fine scar develops holding it in place. That’s why you can’t smudge your tattoo. Q-Switch lasers which are designed specifically as the gold standard for tattoo removal has a less than 2 percent chance of scarring. It uses photo acoustic energy to safely penetrate the skin and target the tattoo’s ink. The light energy vibrates, shatters the ink into tiny micro particles and break up the scar as well. Thus the waiting immune cells could gobble up the ink and carry it off.
This process is repeated at 6 to 8-week intervals in general. And each time a small volume of ink is taken from your tattoo. So when evaluating a fresh tattoo, it’s important to have to heal of the epidermis. The epidermal level is important to make sure that it will have adequate control of depth for the laser to prevent the infection and also to prevent burns. Therefore it is recommended waiting for 3 to 4 weeks before beginning any type of laser procedure for a fresh tattoo.
Scarring from Laser Tattoo Removal, Burns & Complications
Complications from laser tattoo removal can be divided into rapid onset and delayed onset. It is further subdivided into long term and short term. The rapid onset complications include burning and pain at the laser sight swelling, redness, tenderness and occasional bleeding followed by blister the formation. These tend to be self-limited and usually resolve in about a week.
The delayed complications include scar formation pigmentary changes, granuloma formation and on occasion infection. The average patient is most concerned with scar formation having seen these horrific outcomes on the internet at hearing things from friends that are simply not true. Such as, you will always get scarring from laser tattoo removal no matter what you do. In general, the odds of getting a scar, despite the best care are about 1 in 1000.
Most of the time when it is requested to review a case of burns and scarring from laser tattoo removal, it’s usually from the use of an inappropriate laser for a tattoo removal. And on the rare occasion the use of an appropriate laser except that it is at an inappropriately high setting for that situation. The pigmentary problems are more of an issue. Hyper pigmentation is a darkening of the skin followed by hypo pigmentation which is the lightening of the skin.
Of the two hypo pigmentation is more worrisome because it could be permanent. Versus hyper pigmentation tested to have resolved in time. Finally, infection which generally results from poor wound care if you had laser therapy. Therefore it’s imperative to follow your doctor’s orders on wound care. So also important to express to your doctor about any history that you have of developing herpes infections. Or cold sores etc. In general, they might elect to put you on antiviral therapy before and during the laser procedure to avoid such outcomes. All in all best means for you to protect yourself do your homework on your local doctors. And choose the doctor that you feel has the experience & is most suited to your needs.
Scarring & the Machine
Coming to the main concern a lot of people have is will I have scarring from laser tattoo removal? The answer is this, with their proper laser in the hands of the proper technician, there should be no scarring. Now you need to make sure the facility you attend has the proper laser equipment. You should look for a laser that is less than five years old. Look for a laser that was made specifically for tattoo removal. Look for a Q-switch laser which is already in most of the facilities nowadays since it works fantastic and is up to date.
Now that you have the proper laser, it also needs to be in the hands of the proper technician. There are several things you should look for in a technician before having a tattoo removed. Make sure that the technician showed passion for what they do. Making sure they show compassion to me and my removal process. Also to make sure they answer all my questions adequately. So, proper laser in the hands of the right technician there should be no scarring.