Over the years, tattoo art has become an increasingly accepted beautiful form of self-expression. Some people choose one or more small, medium or large tattoos as a permanent way to complement their personal style, advertise their career choice or promote their own artwork or the designs of other artists. Many people use tattoos to commemorate special occasions or even memorialize living or deceased loved ones. Tattoos have also become a way to mask physical imperfections like hair loss and enhance appearance with natural-looking beauty marks like freckles.
Why do people typically seek tattoo removal options?
All too often, someone gets a tattoo when they are not in a position to make a logical, long-term decision. For example, plenty of people get tattoos on impulse after they have imbibed food or drink that temporarily affects their decision-making abilities in unhealthy ways. While intoxicated, they might choose a design that they think looks fantastic that actually looks awful or that does not match their normal sober preferences.
Being in love can create a similar state of intoxication, and a lot of people get tattoos to express their love for someone. This decision might work fine if the name or artwork is about a child or parent, but quite often many people invest in tattoos that are about a romantic love interest such as a boyfriend or girlfriend or a spouse. If that relationship comes to an end, then they are stuck with a seemingly permanent reminder.
Some people try to save money with amateur tattoos that they create on their own or with the help of a friend. These marks often turn out badly and feature unsightly lines and design or spelling errors. There are also those who invest in facial, large or lower-back tattoos or partial or full arm and shoulder “sleeves” who later have buyers remorse for various reasons. These types of tattoos have been stereotyped in past entertainment mediums as markings associated with less savory and even criminal scenarios.
Visible, large and specific types of tattoos are not always permitted in every work environment. Some job seekers actually find that their tattoos limit their ability to compete against other candidates who have clear skin. Additionally, some workers who wear tattoos receive harsh criticism and miss opportunities for promotion in the workplace because successful people in their career fields are expected to look a certain way that includes having visibly unmarked skin.
More often than not, a lot of tattoo wearers either can no longer keep their tattoos because of a medical condition or simply grow bored or tired of the marks. A new or old tattoo wearer might have sudden allergic reactions to the inks, especially red, yellow, blue and green inks, or find themselves dealing with skin complications from metals in some ink formulations. For example, they might experience discomfort with certain diagnostic tests that they need to continue to have repeatedly in the future such as MRIs.
An older adult might decide that a cartoon character placed on the skin while in high school or college no longer has any meaning twenty years later. And, obviously, tattoos naturally break up to some degree as skin cells die and replenish through the years. As a result, a person might discover that their tattoo has become too fuzzy or discolored to be enjoyable any longer. Lastly, in many cases, an individual chooses tattoo removal treatment because they just do not want a new tattoo to cover an old, unwanted one.
Why should you choose laser tattoo removal?
If you have been debating whether you should invest in a cover-up tattoo or removal, consider the following: In most cases, the second tattoo must be extremely dark in appearance to prevent the original tattoo from showing through. It must also usually take up more space across your skin to provide sufficient coverage. Even then, a cover-up tattoo might fail to completely hide the original. A second tattoo layered deeply within the skin over the top of another tattoo can also make it more difficult, time-consuming and expensive for a specialist to break up the inks in the area should you later want to return your skin to its natural appearance.
The best decision to make before you choose any type of cover-up is to discuss “lightening” or complete removal of your tattoo with a skin care specialist. Partial or complete laser tattoo removal gives you more options if you want a different tattoo in place of a current one. For example, partial or full removal can make it possible for you to later choose a lighter-colored or even smaller replacement tattoo. In fact, some tattoo artists suggest to their clients, especially those clients with large and/or multicolored tattoos, that they look into laser tattoo removal to at least partially remove the original tattoo so that they do not have to perform as much cover-up work or create a larger tattoo.
How can our skin specialists help?
The professionals at our Advanced Laser & Cosmetic Center locations use the Cutera Enlighten Pico + Nano Laser for tattoo removal procedures. The Enlighten provides an all-in-one solution for removing tattoos and other skin marks. It creates pulses of light that penetrate the skin. Once the ink in your tattoo absorbs this light, it breaks up into tiny fragments that your immune system and body can then flush away as waste material.
The cutting-edge Enlighten Pico + Nano Laser works 49 percent faster than other tattoo removal lasers by using short, quick picosecond (i.e. one trillionth of a second) pulses and also by producing three different wavelengths of light, 532, 1064 and 670, in one device. Why do these three wavelengths matter? Some inks do not break apart as easily as others. Different wavelengths of light affect different types of inks. With the Enlighten, you can be assured that the combination of picosecond pulses and multiple wavelengths is better capable of removing a variety of tattoo inks than other types of ultrafast/ultrashort pulse laser systems that only produce one or two wavelengths.
What should you expect with this type of procedure?
Although the Cutera Enlighten Laser speeds up the process of removing tattoos, patients still typically require several outpatient treatments to completely remove one. Your comfort level during these sessions and the number of treatments depends on several factors, such as the size and location of the tattoo, the number and type of colors and the depth of the ink. One of our experienced laser tattoo removal technicians will supply you with a local and topical anesthetic to make the process comfortable and will take into account your comfort level as they progress with the removal during each session. Our skin care technicians know the correct wavelengths, energy levels and pulse duration to use for specific ink color, particle densities, and depths.
As with any procedure designed to alter the skin, you may or may not see noticeable results after the first session. This is no different than if you received your tattoo over multiple sessions. Always keep in mind that the outcome of this type of treatment relies not only on all of the factors above but also how well your immune system handles cleansing your body of ink. Two people with the exact same tattoo in the same spot can experience different outcomes after each session.
Of course, this is no reason to be discouraged. Due to the special design and multiple wavelengths produced by the Cutera Enlighten laser, you are again more likely to see results faster than with other treatment options. Additional factors do influence the removal and healing time between sessions, such as whether you smoke or have a health condition that causes poor circulation and/or slows healing. Tattoos closer to areas that normally experience excellent circulation, such as the torso and near the heart, tend to fade and heal faster than those near the hands and feet. These scenarios aside, patients usually see a noticeable change between the first one to three sessions.
What extra benefit can you receive from laser treatments?
It is important to remember that in addition to laser tattoo removal, the Cutera Enlighten is designed to fade benign skin lesions like liver spots that contain pigmentation that is darker than your surrounding skin. This means that any of these spots in the tattoo area are likely to also fade as a result of your tattoo removal sessions to create a more healthy, youthful looking surface.
At Advanced Laser & Cosmetic Center, we understand the challenges that a person faces when trying to decide how to deal with a tattoo that they no longer want on their skin or part of their life. Our experienced skin care teams in West Chester, Dayton, and Englewood, can help you restore your skin to its natural beauty. All of our locations feature comfortable outpatient settings, and we utilize one of the safest and most efficient removal techniques available on the market.
For more information or to schedule an initial evaluation appointment, call one of our knowledgeable specialists at any of our three locations today.