Tattoos are vogue, tattoos are colorful, and tattoos are permanent. Or are they forever? Tattoos are meant to be ever-lasting, but in this age of modern medicine, there is a way to fix the unfixable, erase the past; clear the slate. Tattoos can be removed by a variety of methods. But the safest and most effective method is laser. The first step in this process is to seek out a qualified physician who can evaluate the tattoo and decide if it’s a good candidate for laser removal. Tattoos created by a professional artist are more difficult to remove than those done by amateurs. Color is also a factor. Black and blue tattoos respond more positively to laser removal than other colors. In my office, we use what is called a “Q switched YAG” laser. Laser light passes through the skin and breaks up the particles of tattoo pigment, which are eliminated by the body. We’ve had good results in removing cosmetic and decorative tattoos.
There are few risks in removing tattoos. As with any procedure, it’s not completely risk free. It’s very important to use a medical professional, as the site can become infected. There is a very slight chance of scarring. The treated skin may become lighter (hypo pigmentation) or darker (hyper pigmentation), than the surrounding skin. Cosmetic tattoos may become darker following treatment, but should lighten up later. Most patients do not require anesthesia. However, depending on the location and pain threshold of the patient, we may use anesthesia on the site.
Treatment length will vary. Some tattoos can be removed in 2 to 4 treatments, others are more stubborn to remove and require additional treatments. I know tattoos are trendy, and are often done on spur of the moment, without really thinking through the consequences. The FDA has an informational brochure that everyone should read before getting a tattoo.
If you already have a tattoo, but don’t want it, we’re here to help. Contact the office for an appointment, so we can make sure it’s safely removed.