1. The ink isn’t just ‘zapped’ or burned off your skin
In reality what is happening is the ink is being broken down into tiny molecules so the body can safely remove them via you blood. Some people believe that the lasers are there to
‘burn’ the tattoo off the skin. However the lasers are not burning the skin, they are firing at the ink molecules located in the dermis layer of skin. Obviously to reach this second layer
of skin the laser does need to go through the top layer of skin which is that can look a bit unusual during the treatment. This layer does return to normal over time for most people.
There are some occasions where some slight discolouration can occur in the short term.
Check out this inspiring story of a former gang member who is having regular sessions on the tattoos on his face.
2. What does it feel like?
This is probably the number one concern/question. It is believed that the laser is extremely painful and everyone has read or heard about horror stories. however it would be rash to
listen purely to these stories. Some may have even been concocted by companies trying to sell you magical tattoo removal creams, that don’t work by the way (but thats a discussion
for another post). These ‘horror’ stories, are 99% of the time caused by a client going to a sub par clinic who have neither the training or experience needed to safely carry out the
procedure. Due to this it is a shame that people are put off the idea of having a tattoo removed. In terms of what it actually feels like, many people say it is similar to having a rubber
band snapped against your skin. Which is bearable for a short time, and is all that is required for the lasers to work.
3. Certain colours can be harder to remove than others
However there are various machines available on the market that can help remove different types. It is recommended to check the
clinic you plan to use is equipped to remove the colours you have. The lasers are manufactured to emit varying wavelengths of light that
can be used to target different ink varieties.
4. Your body is constantly trying to help you remove tattoos, this is why they fade over time
To explain in more detail, the body is always looking for ways to remove foreign or alien substances from your body in order to help you return to a state of equilibrium (which is a
fancy way of saying, ensuring everything is in balance and as it should be). Therefore when a foreign substance such as alcohol or tattoo ink enters into the body, our blood cells
are working to remove them. These blood cells work by engulfing the foreign molecules to then be able to carry them away from where ever they were in the body, and to our livers
to allow them to be naturally excreted.
The reason tattoos don’t completely fade on their own is because some of the ink, which is actually metallic molecules, are too large and therefore can not be easily removed. This is
where lasers come in. As explained in more detail on here, the laser breaks the molecules down into smaller substances. Which can then be removed via our blood.
5. It can take quite a while to get a tattoo removed
Some people think a tattoo can be removed in 1 or 2 sessions so a week or two. Unfortunately it’s not the case. It almost always requires more time because. A, the average number
of treatments required is 5-7 and, B, the average time required between each session is 4-6 weeks. So you can see how it would add up quickly over time. This is going to be an
important consideration for anyone who is planning a wedding or looking to apply for a new job that does not allow tattoos.
6. The location of that tattoo can make a difference
Amazingly the location of the tattoo can play a role in how quickly you can have it removed. As your blood is the vehicle from which the ink molecules are removed the nearer the
tattoo is on your body in relation to your heart, the more powerful the hearts influence will be. For example, if you had a tattoo on your chest it would naturally fade slightly quicker
than if you had one on you ankle or hand.
7. Amateur vs professional
This is probably not a consideration for most people as I would hope most of you have tattoos from professional tattoo artists, though if you are looking to get it removed then perhaps the amateur work was the root of the problem!
The main difference between removing an amateur and professionally inked tattoo is the depth of the ink and the amount used.
Generally professional tattoo artists use more ink that an amateur would in order to make the tattoo look as good as possible. Although this does require more effort from the
laser to break down the molecules, the ink is usually embedded at a consistent depth, therefore making it fairly easy for the practitioner to target the ink. Amateur tattoos on the
other hand do tend to have less ink used, but they are also often erratic in their depth. The unseasoned / untrained hand of an amateur can make it much harder for the laser to pin
point the ink molecules. So both have their draw backs, but if I were to pick one, I’d say removing a professional tattoo would be slightly easier.
8. Suns out guns out? Nope not if you’re about to have some ink taken off
Exposure to UV sunlight before or after a tattoo is a bad idea. If you are preparing for a session then it is best to either cover up the tattooed area or if you must be exposed to the
sunlight you must wear a high spf suncream, 50+ is a good choice. The same applies for the days or weeks following a session depending on what the clinic advises as your skin may
react differently to other peoples.
9. Treatments can be quick to do per session
As briefly mentioned earlier, people are worried about the pain associated with the sessions. We cannot say that the treatments are completely pain free (however the pain can be
reduced with numbing gels / creams), the reassuring fact is that the sessions themselves are very quick. Obviously it depends on how large your tattoo is, but some can be as quick as 20 seconds.
10. Smoking – errr, don’t do it
As if you didn’t need another reason to quit, so this is probably a waste of words, though perhaps this is the straw that breaks the addiction camels back.
You know the common reason for quitting smoking but this is a more niche one to add to your list. Smoking can
make it more difficult for your body to remove the ink particles from your body. This is due to you blood vessels being more constricted
in smokers than non smokers. This isn’t to say you can’t get a tattoo removed if you smoke, but it just means it might take an extra session or two to get there.
11. Exercise – news flash, its good for you!
In a similar vein to the smoking point above, here comes Captain Obvious again ’exercise is good for you’, yep we all knew that already. Though what you might not have considered
previously is that if you exercise you can help your body to remove the broken down ink particles as the increased blood flow to that area can help to flush away the ink particles quicker.
This won’t be a dramatic effect, so don’t expect to do one or two runs after your first session and watch that ink drain away. Yet if you needed another reason to exercise, then here it is!
12. Size of the tattoo
The size of the tattoo doesn’t really make much of a difference in term of the total time, e.g. weeks, months, for how long it takes to have the tattoo removed. This is because
regardless of the size of the tattoo, generally each session you have, the practitioner will run the laser over the whole tattoo therefore it will take the same number of weeks/months to have it removed.
What would vary would be the length of time each session takes. Obviously with a larger tat, it will require more time to run the laser across it. For smaller tattoos it will be quicker as mentioned previously.
And thats it, hope you learned something new from this post. If you liked it please share it with anyone else who may be interested in banishing their skin from unwanted ink!