Many people today, especially millennials, choose to have tattoos. However, later many of them can regret their decisions. In such cases, techniques such as laser surgery, surgical removal and dermabrasion can be used for tattoo removal.
Tattoo removal is complicated because the ink is placed beneath the skin’s top layer. If you’re interested in this procedure, you will need to consult a dermatologist. Remember not to attempt this on your own. There are tattoo removal creams and home treatments; however, they are not likely to be effective and can also lead to skin irritation or other such reactions.
Tattoo removal is generally considered by people who regret their tattoo or people who are unhappy with the appearance of their tattoo. Sometimes when a tattoo gets faded or blurred, a person can decide that the tattoo doesn’t fit his/her current image.
Sometimes, people can consider tattoo removal, if they develop an allergic reaction to their tattoo or other complications, like an infection.
If you are considering tattoo removal, first you will need to talk to a dermatologist and discuss the options. It is important to discuss about the tattoo ink as some inks are more responsive to laser treatment as compared to others. Small tattoos are also usually fit for surgical removal, while large tattoos can require another method.
Generally, tattoo removal is usually performed as an outpatient procedure with the use of local anesthesia. The most common techniques used for this procedure are laser surgery, surgical removal and dermabrasion.
Q-switched lasers which can release energy in a single, powerful pulse are used quite often for tattoo removal. Sometimes, a special type of laser, which is termed as a Q-switched Nd: YAG can be used on darker skin. This helps in avoiding changing the skin’s pigment permanently.
Before the treatment, the skin will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Then a powerful pulse of energy is applied to the tattoo for heating and shattering the tattoo ink. Various lasers and different wavelengths might however be required for tattoos that are multicolored.
After the procedure, you can notice swelling and in some cases, even blistering or bleeding. To help promote healing, one can choose antibacterial ointment. You might need multiple sessions for lightening the tattoo and in some cases, it may not be possible to erase the tattoo completely.
During surgical removal method, the skin will be first numbed with an injection of a local anesthetic. The tattoo is then removed with a scalpel, after which the edges of the skin are stitched back together. After the procedure, you can use the antibacterial ointment as it can help in healing.
Though surgical tattoo removal is effective, it leaves a scar and might be not practical for larger tattoos.
During dermabrasion method, the tattooed area is typically chilled until it is numb. Then the tattooed skin is sanded down to deeper levels with the help of a high-speed rotary device with an abrasive wheel or brush. This will allow the tattoo ink to leach out of the skin.
After the procedure, the affected area can feel sore and raw for some days. Around 2-3 weeks is required for a complete recovery. Dermabrasion is not used as commonly as the other methods, as it generally produces unpredictable results and less effective outcomes.
Since tattoos are meant to be permanent, complete removal can be difficult. It is likely that a small degree of scarring or skin color variation will remain, regardless of the method.
After the Procedure
You will receive specific aftercare instructions from your technician.
It is best to apply an antibacterial ointment to your skin for several days after each procedure. The ointment can help in healing your skin and it reduces the risk of infection as well. Each time you apply the ointment, remember to change the dressing as well.
For a minimum of the next two weeks after the procedure:
- Keep the treated area dry and clean
- Do not expose the treated area to direct sunlight.
- Do not wear clothing that is too tight
- Avoid picking at any scabs or blisters that form.