A good tattoo is a wonderful work of art, but if you’ve changed your mind about your aesthetic, life events have made that work of art an unwanted burden, or you’re disappointed in the skill of your tattoo artist and want a do-over, at Bala Aesthetics & Medispa in Bel Air, MD, we can help with laser tattoo removal. Whatever the size, color, or type of tattoo you have, we have the tools to get rid of it whenever you’re ready.
Can Laser Tattoo Removal Get Rid of Any Tattoo?
The short and excellent answer to this question is: yes! If you are wanting to get rid of a tattoo, it’s likely that you have explored other methods and found them wanting. Surgery, forms of dermabrasion, and even applications of salt are offered up as ways to get rid of your tattoo, but none of them are as effective as laser removal. Laser tattoo removal can address any tattoo, even very elaborate ones, and as effective on all colors of tattoo as well.
Our office uses the Alma laser to reach the deepest layers of tattoo ink without harming the skin on the outside. The result is a comfortable treatment that gets rid of your tattoo in around eight sessions, with about 6 to 8 weeks scheduled between each session. Keep reading, and will explain how the laser works and why multiple sessions are required with a break between them. You don’t have to live with a tattoo you no longer want. In less than a year, it can be gone.
An Exceptional Laser Treatment: The Alma
We can treat tattoos of any color safely and effectively with this unique laser. It’s really quite simple for a laser to remove dark pigments from light-colored skin, and our laser can certainly do that. But modern tattoos use multi-colored inks much more than tattoos of the past, and it’s those lighter inks that are tricky, especially if you have darker skin. A great tattoo removal laser must be able to deliver energy across a wide range of absorption spectrum in order to treat every color. That’s what our laser can do.
The high-power Q-switched Nd: YAG 1064 nm laser effectively targets all the darker colors of ink, like blue, green, and, of course, black. Meanwhile, the 532 nm wavelength is very effective against lighter colors of tattoo ink, such as yellow, orange, and red. The Q-Switched laser energy shatters the particles of ink in the tattoo, allowing your own body to flush away these particles naturally. This is what makes tattoo removal with laser so effective answer safe. There’s no abrasion or surgery here, so there’s no danger of scarring or damaging the skin.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
When you got your tattoo, your body attempted to remove the ink as your immune system attacked the ink particles. This is the natural response of the body’s immune system to what it sees as an invasion. The immune system sends macrophages to the site, where they absorb the offending invading material and try to take it away to be processed by the body and eliminated as waste.
Tattoos stay because the tattoo ink particles are too large. The macrophages absorb some of them but then become stuck and simply sit there. Laser treatments break up these large ink particles into much smaller ones, which allows the macrophages to finally do their job.
Black ink is the easiest to treat because black absorbs all laser energy wavelengths, but, with time and care, the laser can be calibrated to address any ink color. The tiny pieces of ink are blasted apart and then harmlessly flushed away by your body’s own lymphatic system, while the surrounding skin remains untouched.
Why Multiple Treatments (and Some Waiting) Are Required
As described above, the process seems pretty simple and straightforward. So why do you have to wait between treatments, and why do you need multiple treatments? When you target the ink with the laser, the laser will break up the entire top layer. However, there are more layers underneath that are shaded and protected by the top layer. Your body needs time to whisk away that destroyed top layer. Once that has been done, the next layer down will be revealed and become vulnerable to the laser.
Ironically, the better your tattoo, the more time it generally takes to remove it. That’s because a skilled tattoo artist using excellent inks will put down deep layers of that high-quality ink into your skin. Meanwhile, a mediocre artist using inferior inks may have laid down fewer layers, and the cheap ink blasts apart more quickly. If it takes extra sessions to get rid of your tattoo, take it as a complement to the skill of your tattoo artist. And if you went to an artist and did not get the quality you expected, you can enjoy knowing that it might actually be easier to remove because of that.
Other Factors That Affect the Removal Timeline
The number of sessions you need and the amount of time it takes to get rid of your tattoo can also be affected by some other factors. For example, the older your tattoo is, all other things being equal, the faster you can remove it. That’s because you’re macrophages will never give up attempting to remove that tattoo ink. Over time, they will have some minor success, which is why tattoos always start to fade if you give them long enough.
Another important factor in your time frame is the health of your immune system. Since your body uses the immune system to get rid of your unwanted tattoo once we break up the ink particles, the stronger and healthier your immune system, the faster you can expect that to happen. This means that older people usually need more time to get rid of a tattoo than younger people, and those with weakened immune systems will not see the results as quickly as those who have strong, healthy immune systems.
Finally, it also matters where your tattoo is. Your immune system can only do its job as the circulatory system helps it. Therefore, the farther a location is from your heart, the longer the “travel time” for your immune system and the longer it takes to remove the tattoo. This means a small neck tattoo may be treated more quickly than an ankle tattoo, even if they are the same size and color.
How To Speed Up the Removal Process
Our laser system is one of the finest available, which is your first step and getting the fastest results. However, there are some things you can do at home to speed up the process. For one thing, you should wait for the full 6 to 8 weeks and never rush your sessions. The research shows that those who wait a sufficient amount of time between sessions actually get better results in future sessions than people who try to rush things. Give your immune system all the time it needs to get the job done. While you’re waiting, do the following:
Apply Sunscreen Faithfully
You want there to be as much contrast between your skin and your tattoo as possible for the best results. That way, the energy from the laser can easily target the ink in the tattoo. This means you want to avoid doing anything that might darken your skin, so don’t go to tanning booths, and be sure to apply sunscreen whenever you go outside. This will also enhance the overall health of your skin in the treatment area.
It is impossible to overestimate the damage that smoking does to your immune system, and to your body in general. The chemicals in cigarettes compromise your immune system in multiple ways, and they also constrict your blood vessels, forcing your circulatory system to work much harder. This slows down blood flow, meaning that the ink particles cannot move through the lymphatic system the way you want. The healing process slows down, too, and the more you smoke, the more sessions it will take to see your final results
Support Your Body
A healthy circulatory and lymphatic system will get you the fastest results, so do everything you can to support these systems. Eat well, get regular exercise, sleep well (as best you can), and be sure to stay well hydrated.
Say Farewell to Unwanted Tats
You can get rid of any unwanted tattoo, and laser tattoo removal is effective on any size, color, or style of tat. Come see us at Bala Aesthetics & Medispa in Bel Air, MD, and let’s get started.