Of all the cosmetic dermatology services you could invest in with your dermatologist, it's likely you haven't thought of laser tattoo removal as one of them. Here's what you need to know before setting up a laser tattoo removal appointment with your dermatologist.
Laser tattoo removal is a relatively common procedure. While almost 30% of people in the U.S. have a tattoo, 25% of people with tattoos report regretting at least one of them. While laser tattoo removal is more intense than light therapy for vitiligo, it can be more closely compared to laser stretch mark removal. The idea is that the light from a specially designed laser breaks up the pigment used in tattoo ink. This method has allowed people who may not want their tattoos anymore an option for safe ink removal with minimal side effects. It may take multiple treatments, but advances in laser tattoo removal technology have made it possible to remove even some of the most stubborn tattoos.
Unfortunately, there's no concrete answer as to how long it will take to remove a tattoo. The only thing that's certain is that it will take more than one session. Laser tattoo removal may break up the pigment of your tattoo, but it's up to your immune system to flush the remaining pigment out of your system. In addition, there are several other factors that your dermatologist will consider. These include:
Taking each of these factors into account will help your dermatologist determine how many sessions you may need to remove your tattoo. They'll also determine how long you may need to wait between sessions to ensure safe removal.
Yes. A consultation is the best way for your dermatologist to determine how many sessions you'll need. In addition, it gives them a chance to see what your skin is like, take down your medical (and medication) history, and make recommendations for your laser tattoo removal preparation and aftercare.
Depending on the area where you have your tattoo, laser removal may be more or less painful. It's certainly not a painless procedure. Most practitioners will administer a topical numbing cream for smaller or simpler tattoos. Larger tattoos with multiple colors may require a lidocaine injection to help lessen your discomfort.
As with any invasive medical procedure, there are going to be some side effects from laser tattoo removal. These can range from light or dark spots on the skin to changes in skin texture and scarring. In order to mitigate these side effects, make sure you follow your dermatologist's recommendations for pre- and post-procedure care. Doing so could make all the difference in your results.
Seeking out cosmetic dermatology services like laser tattoo removal with a dermatologist is the safest, most effective route to take. For questions about this procedure or to set up a consultation, contact North Pacific Dermatology today.