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What You Should Know Before Your Tattoo Removal

Whether it’s your first or fourth, getting a tattoo can be an exciting and thrilling experience. In fact, nearly twenty-five percent of the U.S. population has a tattoo. There’s nothing quite like seeing your vision for a tattoo design finally put into place exactly where you want it.

Occasionally, however, circumstances arise and you may want to have your tattoo(s) removed. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute are able to provide tattoo removal options for those considering having them removed. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you go through the process.


How Does It Work?

Laser tattoo removal uses lasers with an extremely intense pulse of light to break down tattoo ink into tiny particles. After the ink is broken down, the particles are absorbed by your body and the tattoo eventually fades. The amount of sessions required for your laser tattoo removal will vary since all tattoos are of different sizes and colors. Most people attend 4 to 6 sessions to see complete results. Because you will likely have more than one session, it is important to take the cost of tattoo removal into account. On average, a tattoo removal session will set you back close to $450.

Once you understand the process and the cost, it is time to consult a dermatologist to schedule an appointment to begin the removal process. At your appointment, you will likely be asked to wear protective eye shields. Once the eye shields are in place, your skin’s reaction to the laser will be tested to determine the most effective laser energy for the treatment. The treatment will begin by activating the laser light on your skin and the tattoo. Many patients describe the feeling as something like rubber band snapping against the skin. While most patients do not require any anesthesia for the pain, topical anesthesia can be applied if necessary.

At the end of the session, an ice pack should be applied to the treated area.  This is followed by a topical antibiotic and a bandage. The tattoo will become lighter after each treatment and will eventually disappear.


What Are the Side Effects?

Luckily, laser tattoo removal is relatively safe and includes minimal side effects. Nevertheless, if you are deciding whether or not to move forward with tattoo removal, here are a few side effects to consider.

First, your tattoo removal area will be at risk for infection. It is important to treat and properly bandage the area as suggested by your doctor. Second, the pigment may not be completely removed since it is often too deep to be reached by the lasers. Third, the treatment could leave a scar because of the lasers. Lastly, the treated skin may be left paler or darker than the surrounding skin.

Laser tattoo removal may not be for everyone. If you are a good candidate and live in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding areas, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at the Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute.

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