Tattoo removal has become one of the most popular laser procedures offered at The Laser and Rejuvenation Center of Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville. Advances in laser technology have made it easier than ever to erase regretted body art. While we would still encourage each new patient to schedule a personalized consultation prior to any laser procedure, these are a few of the most common questions we receive regarding laser tattoo removal treatments.
Will My Tattoo be Gone After Today?
While many patients come to us following weeks or months of internet research, an equal number come to our clinic with minimal knowledge about the actual process. One of the most common misconceptions about laser tattoo removal is that the tattoo will disappear in one treatment.
Unfortunately, that is almost never the case. Laser tattoo removal works by using wavelengths of energy to break up the pigment molecules under the skin, in turn allowing your body’s lymphatic system to carry the pigment molecules away and filter them out. The most important thing we express to new patients is this is a process, and it won’t happen overnight. Multiple treatments will almost always be necessary, and we space those out every 6-8 weeks to allow your body time to heal and to carry out its job.
How many laser tattoo removal treatments you will need will depend on a variety of factors, including the color of the tattoo, the age of the tattoo, the size of the tattoo, where on your body the tattoo is located, if the tattoo was placed by an amateur or professional, and what is underneath the tattoo (such as another tattoo). For instance, black pigment and other dark pigments absorb more energy, making them much easier to remove than lighter colors, such as yellow and orange. Likewise, tattoos on areas of the body that receive the most blood flow, like the abdomen or chest, will be much easier to remove than tattoos in places like the fingers and ankles, which get far less blood flow. Unfortunately, this means that dreaded ring finger tattoo may take considerably more treatments than you were anticipating.
Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt? Getting the Tattoo Wasn’t That Bad.
In short, yes, tattoo removal is uncomfortable. I would compare it to the sensation of a grease splatter.
However, do NOT let the fear of pain deter you. We have a few tricks up our sleeves to decrease the discomfort, including ice, cold air, and even local anesthetic. I have some patients who swear an over-the-counter dose of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) half an hour before their treatment makes a big difference, as well.
How Will My Tattoo Look and Feel After My Treatment?
Immediately following the treatment, your tattoo will often look gray or white, which we refer to as “frosting.” This is a superficial reaction to the laser and will only last a few minutes. As soon as your treatment is over, we will bandage the area with a cool, clean gel patch, covered by a special tape. You will be given extra supplies as well as instructions on how to replace this dressing, as we ask that you keep it bandaged for 48-72 hours.
Following the procedure, you may feel a stinging or burning sensation of your tattoo and the area around it, similar to a sunburn. It is not uncommon to experience blistering or scabbing, either. Most patients report the worst part of the healing phase is the ITCHING! As your skin recovers, you will be tempted to scratch the area … do NOT do it! In order to decrease the likelihood of infection, it is important that you keep your hands away from the treated area until it is fully healed. You will also need to keep your tattoo protected from the sun at all times; if your tattoo is on an area frequently exposed to the sun, we will require you to bandage it before and after the removal process, as SPF is often not enough. And while this should go without saying, do NOT get in a tanning bed, either. If we feel that your skin has recently been exposed to UV rays (indoor or outdoor), we will not be able to perform the treatment.
How Much Will It Cost?
This is probably the most common question we receive regarding the procedure, and also the most difficult to answer without an in-person consultation. Tattoo removal treatment prices are based on the size of the tattoo, the color(s) of the tattoo, and the type of laser used to treat the tattoo. While it may have only cost you $75 in 1995 to get that cartoon character on your ankle, you might easily spend twice that amount each time you have the tattoo treated. Unfortunately, laser tattoo removal is also considered an elective “cosmetic” procedure, meaning your insurance will not pay for these treatments. However, we offer multiple discounts on tattoo removal treatments throughout the year. We also offer laser tattoo removal packages, which allow you to receive a generous discount for paying for multiple treatments up front.
As mentioned earlier, this is just a brief overview of a few of the most common questions our office answers regarding tattoo removal treatments. If this is something you have considered, we encourage you to find out more by contacting The Laser and Rejuvenation Center to schedule a complimentary consultation in Nashville.