Tattoos are a creative way to express yourself, and they're becoming more and more common. According to Pew Research, 40 percent of adults have at least one tattoo. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, some people have a change of heart. Your tattoo may hold meaning that is no longer significant, be poorly done, or contain mistakes. No matter what the reason, you have the option of having your tattoo removed. Older laser technology is capable of fading a tattoo but not necessarily fully clearing it. Fortunately today, newer laser technologies have the ability to fully remove tattoos. If you're considering having your tattoo removed, here's what you need to know.
Your Body Does the Work
The laser technology used to remove tattoos emits energy that breaks tattoo ink into smaller particles. Your immune system is then able to gradually remove the ink from your system. Older laser technology is incapable of breaking tattoo ink into small enough particles for your body to completely remove, often leaving a faded image of the tattoo. New machines emit a more intense current into the target areas, breaking the ink particles up into very small particles, and then your body does the rest.
You Need to Have Patience
It would be wonderful if you could visit a tattoo removal specialist and have your tattoo removed in one session. Unfortunately, that's not the reality. Tattoo removal requires multiple sessions. The amount of sessions depends on a number of factors, including the color of the ink, the age and size of the tattoo, and your body's natural immune response. A small to medium-sized tattoo may require an average of 10 sessions to remove. Keep in mind that black ink is the easiest color to remove because the pigment is dark, which allows the laser to penetrate better. Lighter inks, especially reds, require more treatments than darker pigments. At your consultation, your tattoo removal specialist will be able to give you an estimate of the number of treatments you'll likely need to remove the tattoo.
Common Side Effects
You can expect to feel a sensation similar to being snapped by a rubber band when the laser penetrates your skin. You may experience swelling and redness as a natural part of the process. As your skill heals, you're likely to experience some itching. However, it's crucial that you avoid scratching the treated area, as it can lead to scarring. You may also experience some drying and scabbing. Follow your tattoos removal specialist's aftercare instructions to promote healthy healing.