It is quite common to develop blisters after laser tattoo removal treatments, especially with certain colors. While any color can develop a blister after laser treatment, it is most common to see blisters in reds, yellows, and oranges. Blistering with blues and greens typically occur in about half of the patients treated while black ink does not often develop blisters, though it is a normal reaction.
When blisters do form, the size of the blister is generally related to the size of the area of ink. Expect a red heart to be one big blister after treatment, where little red dots on the other hand will typically be tiny little blisters. When large blisters do form, do not panic. This is very common and very much a normal reaction to the laser tattoo removal process. The after effects of tattoo removal often mimic that of a second degree burn. The difference though is permanent tissue damage does not occur with laser tattoo removal like it does with a true second degree burn.
So what do you do after laser tattoo removal and you have developed large blisters? If a blister is uncomfortably large or you are afraid that the blister will rupture, lance the blister with a sterilized needle by poking a small hole in the bottom of the blister and allow the fluid to drain. This will help to keep the skin intact while the area heals from the inside out. It may be necessary to lance the blister multiple times. This too is quite common. Keep the area covered with a loose dressing. Change the dressing regularly and apply an antibiotic ointment gently as often as you change the bandage. Make sure that before changing the dressing and applying ointment, you have washed your hands thoroughly. All of this is to help prevent secondary infection, the most common risk associated with laser tattoo removal.
Does the skin heal normally even if a large blister forms? Absolutely. Following proper after-care procedure as described above will result in beautifully healed skin in a few weeks or so. Below are a few examples of tattoos that were treated with our Trinity Laser. Typically blisters will appear within 24 hours of the treatment, though some have experienced blistering as many as 72 hours after laser treatment. Each person and each tattoo is different, therefore varying degrees of reactions is normal and expected. In all of the examples below, the skin healed very well despite some large and often ugly blisters. On a positive note, typically when we see blistering after laser tattoo removal treatments we will see better fading from the tattoo.
As always if you have any questions before, during, or after your treatment; do not hesitate to ask. We would much rather answer your questions than to have you worry until your next appointment.