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6 Myths about Laser Tattoo Removal Debunked

December 20,2019 | Posted by: CMC

You’re 18, in love and you get a tattoo on impulse as the ultimate symbol of your love. Fast forward, the relationship breaks down and you realise you have one of the worst tattoos in existence. Removing your unwanted tattoo is possible, however, common misconceptions about laser tattoo removal may be preventing you from taking the next step.

Myths surrounding laser tattoo removal procedures have created unnecessary fear among people who initially consider getting one. Whether it is a decorative or cosmetic tattoo (ie eyebrow or eyeliner) you want removed, the fact remains that these myths are completely unfounded. It is important to have a clear understanding of procedures and facts to help set expectations and outcomes. We have compiled a list of six commonly understood myths about laser tattoo removal and the actual truth about the procedure. 

Common Removal Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Did you know that the first laser tattoo removal session took place in 1967? It’s been over 50 years since then, with many advancements applicable across the range of tattoos that can be removed and the comfort level for the client. Here are some of the most common myths about laser tattoo removal and the actual truth about the procedure: 

Myth #1: Tattoo Removal Is More Painful Than Getting a Tattoo

Uncommon. This is one of the myths that has greatly discouraged people from getting laser tattoo removal. 

Getting a tattoo can be a painful experience. If you believe that removal would result in further pain you may opt for keeping that ugly tattoo indefinitely. 

The fact is, laser removal is much less painful than the actual application of ink. People commonly liken the sensation to being snapped by a rubber band on the skin. 

Generally, discomfort can be managed by the administration of a numbing cream, local anaesthetic or using a chilled air blower to help reduce unpleasant sensations to the area. The use of these measures really depends on your pain tolerance and the surface area that needs to be treated. 

Myth #2: Laser Tattoo Removal Leaves Scars

Uncommon.   The corrective procedure targets the skin, so scarring is uncommon. There are a few things to keep in mind, however.

Pre-existing scarring is a common thing. Sometimes scarring has already been produced during the tattooing process itself and this will still be present after colour has been removed. Getting your tattoo assessed by a professional before treatment will help set clear expectations and avoid unpleasant surprises. In order to minimise chances of future scarring, ensure that additional trauma doesn’t occur to the area during the recovery phase. 

Despite laser tattoo removal side effects being minimal, as with any type of skin procedure, side effects can occur. These include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling 
  • Bruising
  • Blistering
  • Infection
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hypopigmentation

It is important to minimise exposure to sun and ensure good post-procedure care to avoid aggravating side effects.  Although high density light energy is used to shatter pigment in the tattoo, it can take up to 2 – 6 weeks for your body’s lymphatic system to remove the ink from your system. As such, schedule future appointments at least 6 weeks apart to ensure minimal damage to the skin. 

Myth #3: Old Tattoos Are Harder to Remove Than New Tattoos

False. The ink in older tattoos has already reduced in amount through the years, which makes them easier to remove than newer ones. 

Myth #4: All Tattoos Are Equally Easy to Remove

False. Not all tattoos are created equal, therefore not all require the same amount of time or process to remove. Surprisingly, size is not the main determinant of how hard a tattoo can be to remove, it’s the colour. Depending on the location, age, ink density and colouring within a tattoo, different wavelengths of lasers will be required. For example, 

  • Black tattoos are easier to remove because the lasers interact effectively with it, however not all black inks are the same therefore some are easier to remove than others.
  • Coloured tattoos like green and blue are harder, although different wavelengths of laser will be used to target these better,
  • White, pink or flesh coloured inks can be very challenging and may periodically darken with some forms of laser treatment.

Multiple treatments may be required to avoid “ghosting” of the previous tattoo. 

Myth #5: Laser Tattoo Removal Is Perfect for Everyone

False. Even with new technological advances, laser tattoo removal comes with certain limitations and isn’t ideal for everyone. 

Laser tattoo removal can be more difficult to carry out on darker skin types. This is why the healing period is also longer in these instances. People who have a dark skin produce a lot of melanin – the skin agent that gives it colour. The laser treatment could target melanin, leading to some issues like hyperpigmentation, or hypopigmentation especially with red tattoo removal.

Myth #6: You Can Get a Safe Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure Everywhere

False. There are lots of laser centres and spas that have mushroomed around that to offer laser tattoo removal. 

The type of machine used and the qualifications of the staff members, however, should be examined before you fall for a bargain offer. The clinic you choose should be licensed and have the procedure performed by a licensed operator. The availability of the right safety gear is also essential.

You can also check online reviews to see what the experiences of others have been. Asking direct questions about the safety of the equipment and the training of the staff will give you valuable information about the service you’ll be receiving should you choose to become a client.

Don’t be afraid of the procedure because you’ve heard somewhere that it hurts or that it could leave a permanent mark on your skin. Take some time to research. Even better – go see a doctor and ask your questions. This way, you will benefit from a reliable source of information that will put your mind at ease and help you decide if laser tattoo removal is the right choice for you.

Tattoo removal may be common nowadays but it is still important to be careful about how to get it. Knowing the facts and understanding them will help you make the right decisions. Call The Cosmetic Medicine Centre to discuss how Picoway laser technology can help you get the results you desire.