It’s an unspoken tradition for us to individually prepare for one of the most fun times of the year. We’re talking about swimsuit season, and it’s rapidly approaching! It’s time we all make sure our skin is flawless, and that includes the removal of an unwanted tattoo. Here's how you can start your tattoo removal journey.
Despite what you may have heard, there is only one truly safe and effective tattoo removal method, and it’s laser therapy. Laser therapy is a dermatology procedure that utilizes laser light to affect the cells below the skin in various ways.
The laser that works best for tattoo removal is the ND:YAG laser (Neodymium yttrium aluminum garnet). This laser is a crystal that has been placed inside of a laser machine. Laser light is passed through this crystal in short, repeated bursts to create light that emits a specific wavelength. It is this light that interacts with the ink that rests on top of your skin. When the light meets the tattooed skin, it converts into heat. This heat is absorbed by the pigmentation cells in the ink, and eventually, those cells rupture, shattering the ink into tiny pieces. As time passes, the small fragments are eventually reabsorbed back into the body, lightening up the initial area.
While the procedure itself may take no longer than a half hour, it’s the post-procedure wait that can be lengthy and requires true commitment. Given how tattoo removal works, it is really up to the body to determine how long it takes to clear out the broken fragments of ink. Even still, tattoos may bleed deeper into the skin than the laser can reach. Because of this, you may need multiple treatments to zap all of the ink away and for your body to clear it. Some individuals may undergo up to 8 treatment sessions before their tattoo has fully disappeared. This will depend on the tattoo's size, age, and color. However, younger small tattoos may still take multiple treatments if they are dark. Your dermatologist will walk you through this so you can make an informed decision.
Though several treatments may not sound like fun, laser therapy is truly a safe and effective tattoo removal method. Other methods, like creams and injections should be avoided at all costs. Creams usually contain skin-bleaching ingredients that have been considered unsafe and dangerous by the FDA. Injections are also thought to be dangerous and can even leave behind scarring. Not only are they ineffective, but leave behind a lot more damage than multiple laser therapy treatments can. It’s very important that you speak to a licensed dermatologist about your expectations for tattoo removal before you take any action on your own and to have them administer any removal method on which you decide.
If you are ready to get rid of a tattoo before swimsuit season and you live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, we can help. Our experts at The Dermatology Group can offer you advice, resources, and treatment. Give us a call today!