Laser Tattoo Removal – How to Prepare and What to Expect
Located in Raleigh, North Carolina and serving patients Nationwide
Preparing For Your Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment
Follow these guidelines unless your laser technician directs otherwise.
- We ask that you are freshly showered or bathed with completely clean skin, without lotions, oils, creams or fragrances of any kind before coming in. If there is excessive hair in the treatment area, we recommend shaving the area prior to treatment.
- Avoid sun exposure to the treatment area, and do not use UV tanning beds at all for four weeks before treatment. The use of self-tanning skin care products must be discontinued 2 weeks prior to treatment, and any residual self-tanner must be removed in order to perform the treatment.
- Numbing agents may not be used in the treatment area as it can interfere with the efficacy of treatment.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or above on a daily basis (rain or shine).
- Do not use any topical products that cause photosensitivity (e.g. hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, retinols, and benzoyl peroxide) in the treatment areas for three days before treatment. Use a gentle cleanser and lotion on treated areas.
- Follow instructions regarding all oral prescription medications that we provided at your medical laser consultation. If you are taking any new or different medications, including antibiotics, contact our office prior to your appointment.
- If you have received any medical spa services in the treatment area, such as Botox®, dermal fillers, laser or spa services, please contact our office to ensure that treatment may still be performed.
What to Expect During Your Laser Tattoo Removal Appointment
Following the consultation, if we determine you are a good candidate, we will proceed with treatment. Your laser technician will begin by asking a few pertinent questions about your recent health history to ensure there are no contraindications for treatment. The technician will discuss your treatment desires and at that time you can specifically let us know what tattoos you would like to treat. The treatment area will be cleansed and prepared for treatment. Your technician will talk you through the treatment to ensure you won’t experience any surprises.
While receiving laser tattoo removal, you will be required to wear protective eyewear. You may still be able to see a flash of light, but your eyes will be completely covered. The laser technicians wear protective eyewear, as well. During the treatment, all areas of the body that will not be lasered will be covered with clothing. Only the areas to receive laser treatment will be exposed. We are always mindful of your comfort and your peace of mind; we will let you know ahead of time what to expect.
The treatment can be performed in as little as 15 minutes, depending on the size of your tattoo and type of ink that was used. Most patients compare the treatment discomfort as comparable to when they got the tattoo. Following treatment you may feel a little discomfort, but generally people experience redness, mild swelling and/or tenderness in treatment area that will resolve in a quick manner. The post treatment area response will vary from patient to patient depending on the extent of treatment.
After Your Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment
- Erythema (redness), edema (swelling), scabbing, flaking, irritation or blistering in treatment area will most likely occur. This may persist for several days. A white-gray discoloration of the treatment area may appear immediately following treatment and last for a few minutes to a few days. Your tattoo may darken, lighten, fade or even appear to have no change immediately post treatment. On average, it takes 6-12 weeks for your body to process the pigment of the tattoo. Tattoo removal works by eliminating pigment in the tattoo through the body’s lymphatic system, therefore, treatment results will not be visibly evident for 8-12 weeks.
- Discomfort may be relieved by taking an over the counter pain reliever or by using ice packs in 20-30 minute intervals.
- Avoid sun exposure to the treatment area throughout the course of your laser treatments. If sun exposure is necessary, keep treatment area covered with a non-adherent bandage. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, and do not use UV tanning beds at all for four weeks after treatment.
- Once per day use a gentle soap to cleanse treatment area and pat dry. To keep the treatment area moist, apply Post Laser Gel or a triple antibiotic ointment twice per day and cover with a non-adherent bandage for 7-10 days post treatment, or until the treatment area is healed.
- If scabbing occurs, it is very important not to pick, shave, rub, scratch or aggressively wash the area to prevent possible scarring. If blistering occurs, do not drain blisters. Allow them to dry and heal on their own. Care should be taken to prevent trauma to the treated area for the first 7-10 days following treatment.
- Physical exercise (aerobics, sport activities) should be discontinued for 1 to 2 days. Rough physical activities (playing football) should be discontinued for 10 days post treatment.
- Do not immerse the treatment area in water for the first three weeks post procedure, or until the skin completely heals. This includes bathtubs, Jacuzzis, swimming pools, lakes, the ocean, etc.
- If the tattoo is on a lower extremity, keep the leg elevated to increase blood circulation which encourages the healing process.
- Return in 8-12 weeks for assessment.
If you have any concerns or questions, please call our office at (919) 870-6066
Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Tattoo Removal
Can All Tattoos Be Treated?
We can treat professional and amateur tattoos. It is possible to treat cosmetic, traumatic and medical tattoos, along with genital tattoos. However, we do not feel that there is enough consistent data to prove that it’s safe. There is no one laser that can effectively treat all tattoos. At Blue Water Spa, we offer two different types of tattoo removal lasers to provide our clients with FDA approved technology that will effectively and safely treat tattoos of the entire color spectrum on patients of all skin types.
Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?
The degree of discomfort varies with each person depending on the nature and location of the tattoo on the body. Most patient’s feel that it is comparable to getting the tattoo in the first place. Patient’s report that the discomfort is well worth the results!
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number of treatments will depend on how large the tattoo is, what inks were used, and how deep the tattoo was inked into the skin. On average, patients will need 5–8 sessions for complete removal.
How Often Can Treatments Be Performed?
The frequency of your tattoo removal appointments will be based on clinical judgment. For most patients this ranges between 8-12 weeks.