A tattoo is living art on your skin, but over time, you may not be as enamored with the appearance of your tattoos when you first got it. Whether it’s your personal taste or your artistic appreciation that has evolved, you should know that tattoos don’t necessarily have to be permanent art installations. At MacMed Spa in Milford, MA we know that tattoo removal treatments can eliminate unwanted tattoos and refresh the appearance of your skin.
How Many Sessions of Laser Tattoo Removal Do You Need?
Laser tattoo removal is a gradual process that progressively destroys the special tattoo ink in your skin to scatter and fade the pigmentation of your tattoo. This is because the special technology in laser treatments will disrupt and damage the ink in the skin, which will then prompt your immune system to eliminate the tattoo through skin shedding.
But while most people will see a significant improvement in tattoo appearance in as little as one treatment, most people will need roughly six to 12 treatments to fully remove an unwanted tattoo. The number of treatments your tattoo removal will require will depend on several factors, so we will be able to give you a better idea of how many treatments you will need during your consultation.
How Should You Prepare for Treatment?
Because laser tattoo removal involves the use of technology that can trigger melanin production in the skin, it’s important to avoid any activities that can darken your skin tone for at least two weeks before your appointment. This means you should limit your exposure to direct sunlight, tanning beds, and self-tanning products. You will also need to avoid using chemical exfoliants on the desired treatment area.
On the day of your appointment, please do not apply any lotions, perfumes, or other skincare products. We encourage patients to wear loose, lightweight clothes on the day of their appointment.
What Can You Expect From This Treatment?
Your treatment will take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete depending on the size of your tattoo. This treatment is very comfortable. During your treatment, one of our expert staff will use the laser system to direct energy onto your unwanted tattoo.
The energy of the laser will target the pigment in the tattoo ink and heat the pigment to shatter the ink into small particles that can then be flushed by your lymphatic system. Over several weeks and with repeated treatments, your tattoo will be eliminated through cellular turnover and your immune system.
What Factors Determine How Many Treatments You Need?
Several factors will dictate how many treatments you will need to eliminate your unwanted tattoo. For example, the size of your tattoo, the location, the colors of the tattoo, and even the age of the tattoo are all factors that will affect how quickly the laser treatment can eliminate your tattoo.
One of the biggest factors for how many treatments your tattoo removal will take is the size of your tattoo. In general, it takes fewer treatments to remove a small tattoo and more sessions to remove a larger tattoo. Your treatment appointments themselves will also have a shorter or longer time based on how large your tattoo is.
The location of your tattoo will determine the density of your skin and how much pigment the tattoo holds. For example, tattoos that are placed on thinner skin may fade more quickly than pigment on denser skin. Additionally, tattoos that are located closer to major vessels may fade more quickly than tattoos near smaller veins because of proximity to blood flow.
The type of tattoo ink and the color of the tattoo will also determine the length of your treatment plan. Tattoos that have darker pigment will fade more quickly than tattoos with lighter pigment since darker ink absorbs more laser light. In other words, dark tattoos are easier to remove than lighter tattoos because laser technology works better with rich pigments. Tattoos with lighter pigment may simply need additional treatments to achieve your ideal results.
Contrary to popular belief, it actually takes more treatments to remove a fresh tattoo than a new tattoo. If you have a tattoo that is less than one year old, you will need more laser treatments than you would for a tattoo that is several years old. In fact, for newer tattoos, we recommend you wait at least six weeks before you start laser treatments so your skin has adequate time to recover.
So why are older tattoos easier to remove? Basically, the ink used in tattoos fades after several years through basic pigment aging. Because the pigment is not fresh in the skin, it’s easier for the laser treatment to break up the pigment and eliminate the ink from the skin.
You might not think so, but the skill of your tattoo artist and the quality of the equipment used to create your tattoo will affect how my sessions are required to remove your unwanted tattoo. Professional tattoo artists use high-quality ink and tattoo machines that deposit pigment deeper into the skin, which is why professional tattoos will take longer to remove than tattoos created by amateur artists or low-quality tools.
What Should You Do After Treatment?
After your laser treatment, you will not have any significant downtime or restrictions. Laser tattoo removal treatments are relatively gentle, so you will be able to go back to work or your other daily activities without needing to schedule resting time off.
That said, after your treatment, your skin will be sensitive and you will need to take care of the treatment area so your skin heals well between appointments. This means you may need to apply a topical ointment to your skin and avoid any activities that can trigger melanin production, including sunbathing, tanning booths, and self-tanning products.
What Is the Ideal Treatment Frequency?
Because your skin will require time to heal between your laser treatments, we generally recommend your appointments be spaced about four to six weeks apart. Between your appointments, you will notice that your tattoo will gradually fade as your skin heals. For people who have sensitive skin, your laser appointments may be more spaced apart to allow for adequate skin healing time.
Do You Have To Remove the Entire Tattoo?
For many people, the goal of tattoo removal is to eliminate the entire tattoo. But for others, the goal of this treatment may be to remove flaws in the tattoo or elements of the tattoo that you don’t like anymore. The ability to remove select parts of a tattoo is essential for those who have sleeves or several tattoos in one area of the body.
If you are interested in removing only a portion of a tattoo, then you should be sure to discuss this with our staff during your consultation so we can build the correct treatment plan for you.
Can You Speed Up the Process?
Because removing an unwanted tattoo isn’t a one-and-done process, it’s understandable if patients want to know how to speed up the entire process. The good news is that you may be able to shave a few weeks off your cumulative treatment time by taking care of your skin and making lifestyle choices that will make your body’s healing response more efficient.
After all, the faster you heal between appointments, the closer together your appointments will be, and the faster you will be able to complete your treatment process.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your body relies on adequate hydration to function – and this is especially true when it comes to your skin and your immune system. By drinking enough water each day, you are supplying your body with the hydration necessary for your lymphatic system to remove the pigment of your tattoo from your skin.
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Certain lifestyle habits, like smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol, can negatively impact your body’s natural healing response. You may be able to speed up your immune response by abstaining from tobacco products and only drinking alcohol in moderation.
When it comes to laser treatment, the sun is your most prominent opponent. In particular, if you get a sunburn during the course of your treatment, your next treatment session will need to be delayed until the burn is healed so the laser treatment does not damage your skin. Limiting sun exposure to the treatment area and regularly wearing SPF can be crucial to sticking to your laser removal sessions.
Can You Remove Unwanted Tattoos By Yourself?
Some people try to use at-home removal kits and topical creams to remove unwanted tattoos, but the fact of the matter is that these kits aren’t effective means to remove an unwanted tattoo.
The ink in tattoos is deposited directly into deep layers of the skin that topical creams can’t reach, which means these at-home treatments are effectively wastes of both time and money. If you want to remove an unwanted tattoo, the best thing you can do is seek professional treatment with a laser treatment system.
Why Might People Want to Remove Tattoos?
Typically, getting a tattoo is a personal decision related to sentiment, memories, or other ideas that you want to immortalize on your body. It stands to reason that, in the same way, wanting to remove a tattoo will also not be a choice decided on a whim. So, why might people want to remove a tattoo? There are a few reasons, such as:
Whether it’s a design, a color choice, or a concept, there may come a time where you outgrow the tattoo you got in your 20s. If you’ve outgrown a tattoo and you don’t want to cover it up with a new tattoo, then laser treatments may be a good option for you.
Tattoo Damage or Error
Errors in the tattoo design or even injuries that break the skin and create scars on the tattoo can be another reason people may want to remove a tattoo. Some tattoos that have been injured can’t be repaired, so the only option you may have is to remove the tattoo.
People may also want to remove an old tattoo to replace it with a new tattoo. While a skilled tattoo artist may be able to cover up an old tattoo, the fact is that adding pigment on top of pigment may make for a very dark tattoo that may not be visually appealing. By fading or removing an old tattoo, you will create a clean slate on your skin for a new tattoo to take its place.
Get Rid of Your Unwanted Tattoo
Tattoos are designed to be permanent, but they don’t have to be if you use the right laser tattoo removal treatments. In as little as six to 12 sessions, you can remove even the most colorful or largest tattoos. Please contact MacMed Spa in Milford, MA to schedule your consultation today and learn more about our laser treatment.