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Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work? Understanding the Process


Posted April 25, 2024 in Tattoo Removal

Your once beloved ink may have you feeling otherwise, and if erasing a tattoo sits high on your priority list, we understand why. Even though laser tattoo removal is the best way to lighten up an unwanted tattoo, plenty of people still ask, “Does laser tattoo removal work?” for several reasons. But truth be told, laser tattoo removal works to eliminate an unwanted tattoo, no matter the reason. So, before you head into your first tattoo removal appointment, here’s everything you need to know about the process. 

The Effectiveness of Laser Tattoo Removal 

If you’re wondering just how effective laser tattoo removal is and if it works, the answer is yes. Not only is laser tattoo removal effective, but it’s also the only method currently working to lighten pigment in your tattoo.  Because the treatment relies on lasers to noninvasively lift up and away the ink in a tattoo, the surrounding skin is left unaffected. However, that doesn’t mean that every tattoo is easy to remove and some respond quicker and better to the treatment than others.

In order for laser tattoo removal to work its magic, you’ll need to undergo multiple sessions depending on the color, size, and age of your tattoo. The more colors in a tattoo, the more difficult they are to remove, but that doesn’t mean they are impossible. It’s also important to stay consistent with your scheduled treatments and follow all pre- and post-laser directions that are given to you.

How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

Laser tattoo removal works by harnessing the power of a specific laser wavelength to break down pigment embedded within the skin. The laser used sends light, which is transformed into energy, into the skin to disrupt the pigment ink and break up these solid particles in the skin. By disrupting the pigment and turning it into tiny pieces, they are made small enough to filter out of and process through the body’s natural elimination system via the immune system. Despite the strength of lasers and their ability to lighten up tattoos, they may not make all tattoos entirely disappear due to the composition of the tattoo ink.

The nice thing about how laser tattoo removal works is that even if the laser targets pigments within the tattoo and penetrates the skin, it only affects the ink, not the skin itself. That means that the surrounding skin is not affected. So, as the body flushes out the ink particles, the tattoo will fade, and your skin won’t be compromised. 

The Factors Influencing Laser Tattoo Removal Success

Several factors influence the overall success of laser tattoo removal. Color and density are the most important factors to consider because the more color within your tattoo, the more difficult it can be to remove. White tattoos can turn dark, so you may need more treatments to lift them as much as possible. Bright colors and yellow are two of the most complex tattoo pigment colors to pull from the skin. Although dark tattoos are the easiest to erase because they absorb the most amount of light, thick black tattoos, tribal bands, and those that are used as cover ups can also be challenging to erase due to the amount of pigment in the skin and the deep saturation. 

Also important is the age of your tattoo. Fresh, new tattoos are easier to remove (although if you just got it, you’ll have to wait for it to heal before you can remove it) than older tattoos that have been on the skin for years. 

Where your tattoo is on your body can also influence the results. Tattoos on the wrist, hands, fingers, toes, feet, and ankles tend to fade away slower than areas like the chest, shoulder, or back. You may require more than normal amounts of sessions to get the skin as close to tattoo-free as possible.

Before getting laser tattoo removal, you’ll want to keep the skin out of the sun since sun exposure, sunburn, and tan skin can all interfere with the laser and the removal process. Avoid the sun at all costs before and after your appointments so that the treatment is as effective as possible. 

On average, anywhere from six to 12 treatment sessions may be needed to remove a tattoo. Since every tattoo is different, we recommend a consultation first for a more accurate number of treatment sessions and the overall cost. Just keep in mind that laser tattoo removal is a process.

Have Realistic Expectations for Tattoo Removal

It will take some commitment if you’re ready to get rid of an unwanted tattoo once and for all. While there’s not much you need to do to prep your skin beforehand (other than avoid the sun), multiple sessions are needed to gradually fade the tattoo and break it up. Some tattoos can be erased entirely with next to no trace of their existence, while others may only fade by about 80 to 85 percent, depending on their age, size, location, and color. 

To make the most of the treatment and reduce the risk of adverse effects like skin burns and the darkening of your tattoo, only have laser tattoo removal done by one of our laser professionals. Taking good care of the treated area post-treatment is also essential. It’s normal to experience some minor redness, swelling, tenderness, sensitivity, or bruising, and to encourage healthy healing; you’ll want to prevent your body from producing too much heat. Protecting the tattoo with sunscreen is also essential as it fades. As long as you are diligent with your appointments, follow your post-care instructions, and are patient with the procedure, you’ll benefit from the effects of laser tattoo removal for clearer skin.

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Plastic Surgery Center of Atlanta

5673 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30342

Alchemy Aesthetics

5667 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd #285
Atlanta, GA 30342

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