laser tatoo removal
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There is nothing more exciting than getting inked. It is also one of the most dangerous things you can do to yourself. Not many people know that there is a real risk involved with tattoos – getting them as well as getting them removed.
We all know a tattoo can come with a real risk of blood-borne diseases and allergies, and a bad job by the tattoo artist. If the tattoo needle is not new and has been used on an infected person, you run a real risk of getting infected with herpes, tetanus, fungal infections, hepatitis and even HIV. The health risks of tattooing are not so well known in India but they are real.
But tattoo removal can be even more dangerous, time consuming and expensive than getting a tattoo. If you have outgrown your tattoo and want it removed, read this carefully to understand the process while keeping yourself safe.
Tattoo removal involves a process opposite to inking. It’s done using lasers. Pulses of light from the laser are directed onto the tattoo to break up the pigment which has been deposited in the dermis or deep layer of the skin during tattooing. This process breaks down the tattoo ink. Over weeks, the broken down ink gets absorbed by the body.
Different lasers are used to remove different types of tattoo ink and it’s usually the doctor doing the procedure who decides which laser to use.
Laser treatment differs from patient to patient based on the age, size, and type of tattoo. The colour of the patient's skin, as well as the depth of the tattoo pigment also influences the technique used for removal. Lasers are not benign so your doctor must test the laser to check out the most effective energy for tattoo removal. Laser consists of pulses of light. Smaller tattoo removal requires less pulses of light and bigger ones more pulses. Sounds easy and painless. But it is not. The breaking down of the tattoo pigments takes weeks and repeated visits to the clinic. If the doctor removing your tattoo is not good, even the removal of a small tattoo can cause permanent scarring or discoloration of your skin. Parts of the body with thin skin (ankles, wrists, and spine) are more likely to scar than thicker- skinned areas. Other side effects are infections and hypo-pigmentation.
Even though doctors and laser practitioners claim more than 95 % removal of tattoos is possible, the reality is that complete removal may never be possible.
Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure-
The number of treatments or sessions you require depends on the colour and size of your tattoo. It may take about two to four sessions in the case of normal tattoos, while for those having large tattoos; it may take more than 10 sessions to get the tattoo removed. A consultation session with a trained professional is required to help you in evaluating your situation and whether you should go ahead with the procedure.
The laser treatment varies from person to person and depends on factors such as age, size and type of the tattoo. The patient’s skin colour and depth to which the tattoo pigment extends also affects the removal process.
Here are the steps involved in a laser tattoo removal process:
Protected eye shields are placed on you.
Your skin’s reaction to the laser is tested for determining the amount of energy to be used.
A handpiece is placed again on your skin surface, which activates the laser light. This process is extremely painful to undergo.
Small tattoos require less pulses while large tattoos require much more. After every session, your tattoo tends to get lighter, progressively.
Right after a treatment session, an ice pack is applied to your skin to soothe the areas treated. You will have to apply a topical antibiotic ointment and a bandage is used to protect the treated skin region. You must cover the area using a sunblock whenever you go out in between the treatment sessions.
In some cases, local anesthesia is used during the treatment procedure.