Risks of Laser Tattoo Removal

January 10, 2019

Risks of Laser Tattoo Removal

Approximately 45 million Americans are tattooed, but eventually, at least 50% of them will have a tattooed removed. For those who have changed their mind about their tattoo decisions, removal is done safely and effectively via advanced laser technology. Laser tattoo removal is a non-invasive procedure that utilizes a variety of high-powered lasers to penetrate deep into the skin and break up ink particles within your cells, without causing long-lasting damage. Sessions are typically 15 to 30 minutes, and patients usually need 8 to 20 sessions to completely remove their tattoo. However, the number of sessions needed depends on a few factors such as age, size, location, and coloring — black tattoo pigment absorbs all laser wavelengths, so it is the easiest to remove. Although technology has vastly improved in recent years, some colors are more difficult to remove and there are still risks and side effects involved.

1. Infection

It is very important to follow proper aftercare instructions following your laser tattoo removal treatment. To avoid possible infection, patients must keep the area clean and dry. It is also important to avoid prolonged sun exposure, especially if the treated area is uncovered. If the area must be exposed, it is in your best interested to apply a non-scented, high-quality sunscreen. While you are healing from your tattoo removal treatment, do not pick at scabs or scratch the area because this can also increase the chance of infection and scarring.

Laser Tattoo Removal2. Blistering

One of the immediate side effects of laser tattoo removal is swelling, and the other is blistering. Although patients may be alarmed by the sight of this, its presence is actually a good thing as it is a sign of healing. The high temperature of the lasers used in the treatment causes your skin to blister, just like it would if you had been sunburned, but the cardinal rule to properly healing the area is to avoid popping them! If your blisters crack, cover them loosely with a clean bandage or cloth and watch closely for signs of infection. If you have a fever, pus-filled blisters, and enlarged lymph nodes call your doctor immediately.

3. Hyper and hypopigmentation

As you go through your laser tattoo removal treatments, you will start to notice some distinct changes in your skin. Slight changes in texture, especially for those with darker skin, and changes in pigmentation are normal. Hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation are not life-threatening and do not have a direct impact on your health. Although the discoloration can be bothersome for many to look at, over time it will most likely resolve itself. This could take anywhere from months to years, and there are occasional instances where the pigmentation never returns to normal.

Laser tattoo removal is an extremely safe and regulated procedure, but there are still risks and possible side effects. Before you undergo any removal procedures, it is important to know what to expect. Keep these three side effects and a strict aftercare regime in mind, and you will have a successful and speedy recovery.

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