Common Misconceptions about Tattoo Removal

When it comes to laser tattoo removal, there are a number of misconceptions floating around out there. Vanish Laser Tattoo Removal and Skin Aesthetics would like to set the record straight on some of them.

  • Laser Tattoo Removal Leaves a Scar…While scarring is a possibility with laser tattoo removal, it is very unlikely. Unless you have a high history of abnormal scarring (ie: keloids) or you already have scar tissue from the tattoo process, or you are one of many who picks at scabs as a wound heals; it is highly unlikely that you would develop scarring from laser tattoo removal treatments.
  • Tattoo Removal Creams Work…Well they certainly are readily available and most can be used in the comfort of your own home, but the fact is that tattoo removal creams just cannot penetrate deep enough into the skin to where the ink resides. Tattoo removal creams can at best speed the “aging process” of your tattoo and fade it, but complete removal will never be possible with a topical cream.
  • Black is the Hardest to Remove…It may seem as though darker colors especially black would be hard to remove because they are so dark, but that’s a good thing when it comes to laser tattoo removal. Dark colors and especially black absorb many different wavelengths of light making them easier to target and break up. The downside to dark colors is that they are often applied more densely than their lighter counterparts. Very dense, dark ink can require a few treatments more than a light pink or blue, but still are easier than say lime green or yellow that are very selective with the wavelengths they absorb.
  • New Tattoos are Easier to Remove…To an extent this is true, simply because the newer the tattoo, the less time the ink has had to settle into the deeper layers of skin. On the downside, newer inks are much more stable than older inks. Also older tattoos have had time to be broken down by the sun and other natural elements which often make them more vulnerable to laser treatments.
  • Laser Tattoo Removal comes with a Lengthy Downtime between Laser Treatments…While treatments are spaced a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks apart, the actual “downtime” of healing is just a few days. Typically active scabbing and blistering dissipates within 5-7 days at most, though each person and each tattoo is different.  During this time it is best to keep the area clean and dry. Showering is fine, but soaking in a bathtub or swimming pool should be avoided. Also exposure to the sun should be avoided during this time as well.
  • Each Treatment Takes a Long Time…When many people think about laser tattoo removal, they think each treatment is going to be like getting the tattoo in the first place. This simply is not the case. The laser works very quickly through the tattoo. Most treatments require just a handful of minutes. Even a larger tattoo can take as little as 15-20 minutes.
  • Partial Removal is not possible…Because lasers are very accurate, if you would like just a part of your tattoo removed, we can do that. We have a 2 millimeter spot size to target some of the most intricate details. Need a name removed from a banner, or a few swirls removed from around a flower? It can be done. Keep in mind, however, if an area you want removed shares a line with an area you want to keep, that line may need some touching up once the unwanted area is removed. Be sure to talk to your artist to know exactly what he or she is capable of in that situation.
  • You Cannot Get Your Tattoo Wet After Laser Treatment…While you do want to keep the treated area clean and dry during the healing process, showers and hand washing are not going to cause problems for a healing tattoo. You do not want to soak your tattoo during the first few days to a week after laser tattoo removal treatments as this can increase the potential for infection and keeping an area too moist can hinder the healing process.
  • Absolutely No Sun Exposure to a Tattoo after Laser Tattoo Removal Treatments…Immediately after laser tattoo removal treatments and for the first few days to a week after this is true, but beyond that minimal to light sun exposure is acceptable and even encouraged. You do want to use sunscreen and avoid allowing the area to burn, but sun exposure after laser treatments (once the area has healed) can be beneficial in correcting any hyper pigmentation (darkening of the skin) or hypo pigmentation (lightening of the skin). The sun can also help to continue to break down ink in your skin, of course this is a much slower breakdown than that of laser treatment, but every little bit helps.
  • You Should Not Touch Your Tattoo after having Laser Tattoo Removal Treatments…This is far from the truth. You do want to make sure that when you do touch the treated area that you do so with clean hands and a gentle touch, but you need to clean the area daily and moisturize with a gentle moisturizer. Also once the tattoo is no longer tender to the touch; give it a good, deep massage with a mild moisturizer. Not only will this help with any itching associated with the healing process, it will also help to increase blood flow to the area which in turn will increase the immune system response and flush out more of the shattered ink.

As always, if you have any questions about your treatment or the healing process of your tattoo, do not hesitate to ask one of our certified laser specialists. We want to make sure you are seeing the best results possible with each treatment and want you to be fully informed and comfortable with the process.