Tattoo removal – should you go for it?
Do you know that one in three people suffer from tattoo regret? Are you one of the three who intended to remove your ink and needs help on your decision? There are many reasons why people come to us to lighten or remove their tattoo. It might be a result of an impulsive decision in your younger days, you have ended your relationship or you need to remove it for more employment opportunities. Whatever your reasons may be, we are here to provide you with information on how you can remove your ink and get a fresh new start.
What is a tattoo?
A tattoo is a permanent kind of body art. A design is usually made by injecting ink deep into our dermis so that the ink is not shed away with the skin cells on the upper layers of our skin. However, tattoos can still fade when our immune system sends their (macrophages) cells to absorb and remove the ink gradually over time. Lighter tattoos such as yellow, green and pink fade faster than the darker colours. Other factors which determine the longevity of a tattoo include the experience of the tattoo artist, the quality of the ink used and the location of the tattoo. Tattoos on sun exposed or high friction areas tend to fade faster.
What are the methods for tattoo removal?
Laser tattoo removal has now become the first choice for people considering to remove their ink. This is because it is a relatively safe and effective procedure, especially for tattoos with predominately black or brown ink. The lasers used for tattoo removal are the same used for pigment removal. The high intensity laser beams break down the ink into smaller particles so that our body can eliminate them through our own natural processes.
Before the invention of lasers, people used home remedies to remove tattoo on their own without success. DIY chemical peels or tattoo removal creams are risky and may lead to skin irritation or deep chemical burns which require skin grafts.
When will I see results from tattoo removal?
You may need multiple sessions of laser tattoo removal, usually at 4 to 6 weekly interval. On average, most patients see good outcomes after 8 to 10 treatments. The number of sessions depend on the type, depth and colour of ink used. Consult a doctor to understand treatment options available to you.
Call us now for more information on tattoo removal and see if it is the right treatment for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will I expect during the tattoo removal?
Before we begin the procedure, we will apply numbing cream to your skin for about 15-20 minutes. It takes a few minutes to remove your tattoo via laser. It may take longer if your tattoo is of a larger size or more complex in design.
During the laser, you may feel a light prickling sensation on the skin. Sometimes, we will apply a hand piece which emits chilled wind to make you feel more comfortable. You will hardly feel any discomfort.
Is there any downtime after tattoo removal?
You may notice that the tattoo immediately look darker after your first treatment. This is due to oxidation of the tattoo pigments caused by the laser. Also, you may see redness, swelling and small amount of bleeding. Blisters are common as they are an indication that your immune system is healing and beginning to remove the ink from your tattoo. As the blisters heal, your skin may feel dry or itchy. Brown scabs will start to form. Try not to remove the scabs on your own as it may need to unnecessary scarring. It may take up to 2 to 3 weeks for the skin to heal.
How do I manage my skin after the procedure?
You will be given clear instructions on wound care and be given an antibiotic ointment to apply for a few days. Complications are extremely rare. Follow the advice of the doctor and use the cream according to directions given. If you are unsure, do not be afraid to call us for clarification.
How do you monitor my progress after procedure?
We will take photos of your tattoo before the treatment session and at each follow-up visit. Hence, we are able to monitor your progress and compare outcomes. We will keep your photos secured within our medical records database.
Can I remove my tattoo completely?
It is difficult for us to predict how much ink we can lighten or remove from your tattoo. But majority of patients see up to 90 percent removal of their tattoo after repeated sessions. Black tattoo is the easier to treat because laser is able to target black pigment more precisely. On the other hand, red, blue and green tattoo are more difficult to remove and require more sessions. We will also be able to show you photos of our results when you visit us at our clinic.
Are there any side effects of tattoo removal?
Common effects of tattoo removal include hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation of the treated skin. While laser beams are targeted at the tattoo pigments, they may also alter our skin’s natural pigment, known as melanin. Hyperpigmentation refers to a darkening of the treated area due to excess deposits of melanin under the skin. Hypopigmentation is the reverse, where the skin is lighter in colour than the surrounding skin. These effects are usually temporary and improve with the use of lightening creams (for hyperpigmentation).
Are there any risks of scar after tattoo removal?
Scarring from laser tattoo removal is unusual if you follow our aftercare instructions. Improper care of blisters or picking on the scabs can lead to scarring. Therefore, we will emphasize to you on how to care for your skin before you go home. If you are unsure, do not be afraid to call us for clarification.
On the other hand, there are some patients who are prone to keloid scars. These are raised scar tissue that forms after a wound has healed. It commonly occurs at areas such as neck, shoulders, chest, back and ears. If you have a history of keloid formation, remember to discuss this with your doctor.