Once reserved for sailors, tribesmen, and ex-cons, tattoos have been growing in popularity in recent years. While the desire to express oneself through art is appealing, beware, this aesthetic procedure is quite permanent! While tattooing can be considered to be a profession, it is above all an art. And like most art forms, for best results, it is best to leave it to the professionals. Not only do they receive training in health and safety, but if done by an amateur, you run the risk of having a tattoo that will age poorly, heal badly, get infected and swollen or worse. An infection can come from cross contamination, poorly maintained or cleaned instruments, and improper techniques.
For best results, there are a few ways you could prepare your body ahead of getting inked. Eating a good meal 2 hours in advance, avoiding any drugs and alcohol, and drinking adequate fluids are a few of the things you can do to avoid making your blood too fluid and the process more difficult (not to mention that drugs and alcohol often lead to bad decisions when it comes to getting permanent body art). However, if you come to regret your tattoo, or if it has healed badly, there are now procedures that destroy the ink under the skin effectively erasing the tattoo. Depending on the size and depth of your tattoo, it might not disappear completely, but it will clear up significantly.
What options are available?
To date, there are two options methods that dermatologists use to remove a tattoo; creams and lasers. Laser treatment is recommended because it tends to provide patients with the best results. This technique rarely leaves scars since it targets the ink itself and not the skin. The laser allows the ink particles to burst making them small enough for your body’s white blood cells to clear up the mess on its own. Meaning that the laser is used to engage your own lymphatic system to remove the foreign particles.
How much time does this take?
The amount of sessions required to remove a tattoo varies depending on the size and location of the tattoo, but in general it can require anywhere from 4 to 12 sessions spaced at least 6 weeks apart. The power of the laser varies from one session to the next and is modified to reflect your skin type and tone. Not all inks are of the same quality, higher quality ink will deform into smaller particles more readily making it easier to remove with a laser.
Once the laser has interacted with the ink, the skin will whiten over the following several hours and can become red and irritated in the following days. Eventually the skin will start to crust, but do not hesitate to ask the practitioner any questions if you feel that your recovery period is out of the ordinary. A session is relatively short, lasting roughly 10 minutes. Beware that the removal process is painful (often described as more painful than the tattoo itself), and costly. It is best to avoid the process altogether by ensuring that you are sober and aware of the consequences of undergoing a permanent procedure before getting a tattoo.
PS: Check out our healthy living articles HERE!