What is Laser Tattoo Removal?
While most of us still think that a tattoo is a lifetime commitment, the advent of the laser tattoo removal process means it’s possible – though not easy – to make that commitment less permanent. The biggest challenge is that the ink is situated under the skin, so to get rid of it, you need to either remove the skin or somehow eradicate the ink without doing too much damage to the skin.
Laser tattoo removal is one of many methods, including surgical removal and dermabrasion, that can be used to remove a tattoo. However, while it’s tempting to think that laser tattoo removal is easy, quick, and painless, it’s not the magical process most people expect. There are many myths surrounding laser tattoo removals, which can lead to unpleasant surprises.
Laser tattoo removals aren’t quick or painless, and you may find that you need several sessions – and even years’ worth of patience – to get a tattoo completely removed. Even a simple, small tattoo removal can take several sessions, with up to a 12-week break between each session. Not only is the procedure itself quite long, the recovery time afterward can be tricky as well.
Another drawback of laser removal is that it isn’t suitable for everyone. Lasers are notoriously harsh on dark skin, since the laser targets dark pigments including both tattoo inks and melanin. Removing tattoos on darker skin requires much more care, and lasers can still cause burns and hyperpigmentation.
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?
One of the most common misconceptions about laser tattoo removal is that the lasers are used to burn away the tattoo, which isn’t how the process works. In order to burn away the tattoo, you’d have to burn through your skin, which would cause severe scarring and pain. Fortunately, the laser removal process is much less traumatic than this.
Lasers are beams of light on a certain wavelength that send light energy into your skin. Certain colours can attract the wavelength of the laser, selectively absorbing the light energy. These colours include the pigments found in tattoo ink, as well as melanin. When the dye absorbs this energy, it breaks down into tiny pieces which are then absorbed by your body’s immune system and excreted. This causes what’s referred to as laser tattoo fading, and with successive procedures, most of the dye will eventually dissolve from under your skin.
The procedure itself is quite simple. After a consultation, your skin is numbed using a topical numbing cream. For larger tattoos, the doctor may use lidocaine, which has a longer numbing time to prevent pain. The laser is then used to remove the ink pigments, and several lasers with different wavelengths may be necessary if you have a multi-coloured tattoo. Afterward, many patients notice swelling and sensitivity in the area. Some people also report bleeding and blistering, which needs to heal up completely before the next session. Several sessions are usually needed to completely remove all evidence of a tattoo.
Can I Get a Tattoo After Laser Tattoo Removal?
The short answer to this question is “yes,” but that comes with a certain amount of caveats. Laser tattoo removal is an intense process for your body that can cause scarring and other side effects, which need to be completely healed before you consider your next tattoo.
Instead of rushing from your laser tattoo removal in Toronto straight to an artist’s chair, give your body around eight weeks to recover. This should be enough time for your skin to heal completely, and you should no longer have any bleeding or scarring. Make sure to talk to your laser removal specialist, as they’ll be able to confirm whether you can proceed.
Once you’ve started removing your old tattoo, you can either continue until the ink is completely removed or until it’s just faded enough for a cover-up. You should discuss your options with your tattoo artist since they’ll be able to tell you if a cover-up is a viable option. Cover-up tattoos are usually a great chance for tattoo artists to stretch their creative muscles to find the perfect design to hide your unwanted tattoo.
One aspect of laser tattoo removal that you should consider is that it permanently affects your skin and will cause some scarring, no matter how skillful your laser tattoo removal technician was. This scarring will present a challenge to your artist since scar tissue absorbs ink differently, and an uneven skin surface is difficult to work on. Scar tissue is also more sensitive, so a new tattoo on an old area may be much more painful than the original.
Make sure to find an experienced tattoo artist in order to get the best results possible. If you’re spending money on the best tattoo removal in Toronto, you should make sure to spend your money on the best tattoo artist as well. In fact, it may be a good idea to speak to the tattoo experts at Chronic Ink about both tattoo removal and getting new ink done afterwards as well.
Can I Completely Remove My Tattoo?
Yes. There used to be a time when it was very difficult to remove certain pigments, such as whites, purples, and yellows, due to the wavelength of light used in tattoo removal. However, different lasers have been developed that can target these pigments, ensuring that they break down as well. Some pigments are still more stubborn and will take longer to fade, but with enough persistence, they will eventually disappear.
The main consideration when getting laser tattoo removal in Toronto is the time and associated expenses it’s going to take. Tattoos will take multiple sessions to remove, and the entire process can easily go on for years. Laser tattoo removals aren’t cheap either, with a single session costing well over $100.
Whether you can completely remove your tattoo will depend on you and whether you’re persistent enough. It’s a painful, expensive, time-consuming process, but for those who absolutely hate their old ink, it’s definitely worth it.
Ready to Get Your Unwanted Tattoo Removed??
At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented laser tattoo removal team are ready to help you explore tattoo removal. If you’re in the Toronto, area drop by our shop and check us out for yourself.