The word “tattoo” comes from the Tahitian word tattau; meaning, to mark. It has been around for ages. Tattoos have been found on Ice Age remains and Egyptian mummies. More than 20 million Americans have one or more tattoos.
Just as the demand for getting tattoos has increased, so has the demand for having the tattoos removed or faded. A survey by the American Society of Dermatological Surgery found that around 50 percent of the people who get tattoos eventually regret having them. And look for ways either to fade their tattoos or have them removed altogether.
Tattoos were meant to be permanent, so removing or fading them was difficult until now. However, with the recent advances in technology, laser therapy has become the preferred method for removal of tattoos.
The Q-switched ruby laser is considered the first preference for most of the tattoos, except for red ink, which is best treated with an Nd: YAG laser. Some people prefer laser treatment for tattoo fading rather than complete removal, as fading tattoos is less painful and less expensive.
Procedure of laser tattoo removal
Laser works by emitting short but intense pulses of light that pass through the epidermis and get absorbed by the tattoo pigment. The laser energy breaks the ink pigment into tiny particles which are then easily removed by the body’s immune system a few weeks or months after the laser treatment.
The amount of time and the number of laser treatments require to remove the tattoo depends on several factors such as:
• The color of the ink is a big factor in determining how many laser treatments you require. Black and blue colored tattoos get removed easily whereas green and yellow pigments are the hard to remove.
• Professional tattoos are harder to remove as compared to street tattoos as professional tattoo makers use better quality ink and equipment.
• It is tougher to remove a new tattoo rather an older one as the pigment in the new tattoo is likely to be denser
• Size of the tattoo
• How deep the ink is injected
• Location of the tattoo and
• The individual’s ability to heal
If you’re going to get your tattoo removed or faded through laser procedures, remember to do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Question you must have answers to before you go in for the treatment:
Cost of the Treatment
Prices for laser removal depend upon the size of the tattoo, type of inks used etc. The bigger the area; the higher the charge. Fix up an appointment with the removal practitioner or the dermatologist and get the estimate.
Fortunately laser removal or fading is relatively painless procedure. But still the amount of pain felt will depend on the type of tattoo, the level of treatment and your own tolerance level. Some people feel more pain than others. The truth is that you will only know how painful it is until you try it.
Chances of Side-effects
Normally the area blisters after the treatment. The skin returns to normal within 4 to 6 weeks. The possibilities of side-effects are few but it may include hyper pigmentation, hypo pigmentation, infection or a little chance of permanent scarring. Get all your doubts cleared before going for the treatment.
Number of Treatments
If you think that one fine day you would go in to the clinic, and walk out the very same day tattoo free, then you are dreaming in vain. It takes a number of sittings for tattoo fading or removal. Generally the number of treatments depends upon the depth, color and the composition of the ink.
Relation between Tattoo Removal and Breastfeeding Mothers
There is no evidence suggesting that tattoo fading or cover up tattoo affects breastfeeding in any way. The body filters the ink particles via the white blood cells and mothers are unlikely to face problems if they follow the recommended aftercare procedures. But if there are concerns about a tattoo, then the mother should consult the dermatologist or her physician for proper advice.