It is quite common to develop blisters after laser tattoo removal 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. Blisters with blues and greens typically occur in about half of the patients treated. Blistering from black ink is not as common, but still a very normal reaction to laser tattoo removal.
When blisters do form, the size of the blister is 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 is that 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 when you are changing the dressing and applying ointment, that 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 is an example of a tattoo that was treated with our Trinity Laser. After 24 hours the orange areas of the tattoo developed large blisters. Four weeks after the treatment, the tattoo was completely healed and ready for a second treatment. We encourage our patients to wait at least 4 weeks between treatments. More time allows for greater flushing of ink as well as more time for the lower layers of skin to heal before another treatment is performed.
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.