There are many reasons you might decide to remove a tattoo, so if you decide you’re unhappy with your tattoo for any reason, laser tattoo removal in San Diego is the best option for removing it. This is the only way to permanently remove most or all of your tattoo with very little discomfort. Here’s what you need to know about how this aspect of cosmetic laser dermatology works.

How It Works

Laser tattoo removal works by breaking up the pigment in the tattoos with a high-intensity light beam, or laser. The colors may require a different type of laser because not all pigments absorb the same laser wavelengths. Black tattoos are the easiest to remove because black absorbs all wavelengths. Other colors may require specific lasers to break up the pigment. A trained technician or dermatologist chooses the right lasers and then passes the laser across the skin. The high-energy light pulses the skin for just a short amount of time. The pigment fragments and is eventually absorbed and removed by the body.

Treatment Time

A laser session only takes about 30 minutes, but this amount of time typically isn’t enough to completely remove a tattoo. Most people need anywhere from six to eight sessions depending on many different factors. Sessions are usually scheduled four to six weeks apart to allow the skin time to recover between treatments. This downtime is important because scarring can occur if the skin doesn’t have ample time to heal between treatments.

Removal Factors

The number of treatments you need as well as how successfully the tattoos can be removed depends on numerous factors. One of these is the ink density and age. Older tattoos tend to be easier to remove because the colors become less dense. There are lasers to remove nearly every color of tattoo ink, but the most difficult colors to remove are light colors, such as green, turquoise, and yellow. The location of the tattoo also impacts how quickly it will fade away. Areas with lower circulation, such as the hands, feet, and face, may take longer for the body’s processes to remove the fragmented ink. Health conditions or habits like smoking that affect circulation also impact how quickly the tattoo fades away. Light or medium-toned skin responds better to laser treatments because it can absorb the light more quickly.

What to Expect during Treatment

Tattoo removal can be uncomfortable for some patients, but most patients don’t need anesthesia. Some clinics will use chilling devices or a numbing cream to help reduce discomfort. But most people explain the pain as minor, similar to a rubber band snapping against the skin. After the treatment, there may be some mild irritation or itching in the treated area. There are creams that can help alleviate these minor discomforts. You can return to regular activities right away, but it’s a good idea to keep the treated area covered to prevent sunburn.

Tattoo Removal Recovery

Recovery from laser tattoo removal is generally quick and painless when done by professionals of dermatology in San Diego, CA. There may be some minor blistering, redness, or swelling. You won’t need to avoid activities such as exercising or showering, although you can expect the skin to take six to eight weeks to completely heal. Academic & Aesthetic Dermatology Consultants offers same-day appointments, so if you’re interested in learning more about having your tattoo removed, give us a call today!