How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

by Yenny (SU)

There are many people walking around with tattoos they wish they could be rid of. The tongue-in-cheek phrase “think before you ink” has become popular among people who have gotten a tattoo and later wind up truly regretting it.

There are three main ways to have a tattoo medically and safely removed: laser surgery, dermabrasion, and traditional surgical removal. (Creams do not work in effectively removing a tattoo.) Let’s talk about laser tattoo removal and how it works.

Q-switched Laser Tattoo Removal

In recent decades, Q-switched lasers have been the go-to removal system for most types of tattoos. Lasers, when aimed at tattoo ink, remove the tattoos by breaking up and exploding the pigment with a high-intensity laser beam. 

From there, the lymphatic system will carry it out of the body naturally. Certain types of tattoos can be removed more easily than others, because certain colors are easier to remove from the skin. 

The patient will have a consultation with the doctor in which they will discuss approximately how many visits it will take and how long each session will be to eradicate the tattoo. 

How a Tattoo Is Removed via Laser Surgery

The patient’s skin will first receive a local anesthetic to numb the area before the procedure. The doctor will then use the Q-switched laser system to apply energy pulses directly to the tattoo. This process will warm up and break up the ink particles. Depending on the colors used in the tattoo, different types of lasers with various wavelengths may be used to remove the tattoo.

The surface layers of the tattoo will be targeted first. Once they dry up and fade away, the next layers below will be treated in future visits as necessary. Once a tattoo has had its upper layers treated, then the physician can treat the bottom layers. After each treatment, the site of the tattoo may have swelling, bleeding, and/or blistering, and you can apply antibacterial cream to help lessen the reaction. 

More than one session may be needed for full tattoo removal. However, the laser system may not be able to remove all traces of a tattoo due to the complexity and chemistry of certain colors and how they fuse with the skin.

Skin Reactions After Laser Tattoo Removal

After multiple sessions of having a laser applied to the skin in the same area, it will likely blister and sting quite a bit. These reactions will show up more during the procedure, but afterward it is best to leave the scabs alone and treat the area as a new tattoo.

Do not pick, rub, or do anything with the laser results, because that will cause a permanent scar. Your doctor will tell you how to handle any discomfort on the site of the tattoo, and you may be given a prescription cream to help calm the irritation. 

Tattoo Removal Physician in Houston 

If you are one of the thousands of people with a tattoo you regret, and you want to have it removed for good, contact our friendly team at The Vein Institute. Call us today at (281) 312-0208 or request an appointment online, and let our medical team help you get rid of that tattoo.