How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

At our Fairfax office, our doctors use Enlighten, the most advanced laser therapy known to safely and effectively remove tattoos. Most laser tattoo removal systems offer short, nanosecond laser pulses to break apart the ink that lies deep within the skin. Our Enlighten system uses short but powerful picosecond laser pulses, which means that it can remove the tattoo more effectively than traditional laser tattoo removal treatments.

Tattoos are on the rise right now. Some get them just for fun or as part of a dare while others get them for symbolic reasons. While they seem like such a great idea at the time, many people often choose to have their tattoos removed later on.

The Process

When you get a tattoo you’re basically getting ink injected in the dermal layer of your skin. Your skin is composed of two layers: epidermis and dermis. The epidermis is superficial and regenerates while the dermis is the deeper layer.

Once pigment is injected into your dermis certain cells called macrophages arrive at the site of ink injection and “swallow” the ink particles. As your body forms an inflammatory reaction, instead of clearing the ink particles and the macrophages it’ll instead trap them where they are.

This is why tattoos are permanent and don’t fade with time. The ink is inside macrophages and both are embedded into your skin. Perhaps as a person gets older the tattoo starts to lose some if its quality and details because the ink penetrates deeper into the skin.

Hazards of Tattoos

The pain is what most people worry about and getting tattoos is relatively harmless otherwise. How much pain a person feels will depend on their pain threshold as well as the tattoo artist’s skill.

Another complication one should be aware of is the possibility of developing an allergic reaction. This can happen during a person’s tattoo or on subsequent ones if the body starts developing an allergy to the ink used.

Allergic reactions could be mild with some skin redness and itching or they may be so severe that they result in an anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylaxis is potentially lethal since it stops a person from breathing and could end in death if not treated immediately.

Infection is a very mild risk nowadays since tattoo parlors sterilize and renew their equipment regularly to avoid being the reason someone got infected with a disease. Pathogens that can be transmitted by getting a tattoo include hepatitis B and C, herpes, HIV, and even tetanus.

There’s no reason to worry though because tattoo artists are very careful when it comes to sterilization and disinfection. These issues still exist due to unclean tattoo practices such as getting a tattoo in prison.

Taking Care of Your Tattoo

The tattoo artist will cover it with petroleum jelly and a bandage once he or she is done. That bandage should be removed after 24 hours and the tattoo washed with water and antimicrobial soap then dried lightly.

For the next 3-4 weeks, you should wash the tattoo a couple of times per day while applying antibacterial ointment twice a day without adding a bandage. It would also be a good idea to not go swimming or expose your tattoo to the sun for a couple of weeks. Also try not to shower with very hot water as that can wash off some of the ink.

You might experience some pain or pricking over the tattoo but you shouldn’t scratch it or try to peel it. This should go away for a few days. Picking at it will remove the ink and might result in an infection. You definitely don’t want either.

Tattoo Removal

25% of people with tattoos say they regret their decision and would like to get their tattoo(s) removed. This can easily be done at a trained professional’s office using laser therapy. Laser works by emitting high intensity light beams which destroy the pigment colors.

Black tattoos are the easiest to remove because they simply absorb wall wavelengths so the effect of laser is maximized. If your tattoo has other colors then your doctor will determine the right lasers for those colors in order to ensure a complete and successful removal.

Naturally the smaller a tattoo the fewer laser sessions it’ll take to remove it while larger ones will need more sessions. Nonetheless you should notice the color of your tattoo fade a little more after each session indicating that the treatment is working.

Laser therapy is often a little uncomfortable and local anesthesia might be used by your doctor. Applying ice to the area after a laser session will definitely help reduce the pain and discomfort too.

Side Effects of Removal

You got a tattoo then decided to get it removed, that’s a lot of trauma to the skin considering the introduction of ink followed by an inflammatory reaction then the trauma from laser.

First of all, there’s a risk of infection. We’re not talking about serious disease transmissions such as hepatitis or HIV, what we mean here is local skin infection and inflammation. It’s not pleasant and might affect your treatment but it’s not really dangerous.

There are also a few skin complications that might happen affecting the pigmentation of that skin area. First, your tattoo might not be completely removed especially if it has several colors. If it contains darker colors like black and blue then it has a greater chance of being successfully removed completely since these absorb almost all laser wavelengths.

The other issue with pigmentation is that skin exposed to the laser might suffer from hypo or hyperpigmentation. This means that in place of the tattoo you could end up with slightly lighter or darker skin.

All of these side effects can be avoided by using advanced laser techniques and visiting an expert.

Enlighten Laser

Enlighten laser tattoo removal is one of the best laser options out there. This is because the device uses picoseconds laser pulses to destroy the ink in your dermis. These pulses are shorter but more powerful than most other lasers available. You have a better chance of getting your tattoo completely removed and in fewer sessions using Enlighten Laser.

This method may also result in some patient discomfort but according to those who have experienced Enlighten and other laser therapies: Enlighten is associated with less discomfort. Anyhow it can be avoided by applying a topical anesthetic.

You might also notice that the area exposed to the laser is a little swollen and red but this is temporary. Generally, you will be able to resume your normal activities in no time.

Why Go with Enlighten?

Simply put, Enlighten is less painful, more effective, and faster. Whereas Laser Tattoo Removal can take many treatment sessions, Enlighten can get rid of a tattoo within two treatment sessions–and you’ll heal from it faster when everything is said and done.

Want to know more about the best laser tattoo removal service in Fairfax, VA and learn more about how Enlighten works? Contact us today to schedule an appointment (703)854-1298

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