FAQ – Laser Tattoo Removal
Can laser tattoo removal cause post inflammatory erythema (redness)?
A: Redness after tattoo removal. Redness (erythema) following laser tattoo removal is not uncommon. I would expect that you would see continued resolution of the erythema without any intervention. I would recommend returning to your provider for an examination of the site and further reassurance. At LeBeau Clinic, we carry special concealer formulated to reduce redness and coverup a tattoo during the removal process.
How many laser sessions will it take to make this tattoo light enough for cover up?
A: Tattoo lightening. You should expect good results if seen by an experienced provider using a quality Q-switched laser. On average tattoo removal will take between five and ten treatments, but this could vary based on multiple factors. You may begin treatments as soon as the site is completely healed but an accurate estimate of the number of treatment sessions required can only be provided after an examination and further history obtained by your provider.
What should I do for aftercare tattoo removal with a Q Switch laser?
A: Closely follow the guidelines provided after your first removal treatment for after care. Our patients leave the office with aquapor and gauze dressing over the treatment site. We typically recommend gentle cleansing with soap and water twice daily followed by reapplication of aquaphor until healed.
If you experienced pain during treatment, consider using a provider who uses a Zimmer chiller device during the treatment as this greatly decrease the discomfort without the need for any topical anesthetic creams.
Is it easier to remove a newer or older tattoo?
A: Older tattoos typically require fewer treatments for clearance compared to newer tattoos. This can be the result of the ink quality as well as the presence of an already present immune response in the area of the tattoo for older tattoos which facilitates clearance of the ink particles following treatment. The Picosure is a single wavelength laser, Alexandrite 755nm, and provides a shorter pulse duration but less overall energy than other systems and due to the single wavelength is not optimal for treating tattoos with certain ink colors (primarily reds) Systems such as the Astanza Trinity laser provide three wavelengths (1064nm, 532nm, 694nm) with adequate energy to treat tattoos of all colors.
Is it possible to remove a tattoo through excision?
A: My recommendation for a tattoo of this size and location would be to strongly consider laser tattoo removal. A surgical excision is certainly an option for smaller tattoos in certain areas of the body but a larger tattoo on the forearm would not give an acceptable scar given the excellent cosmetic appearance typically obtainable with removal using an appropriate laser. An excision in this area would likely cost as much or more than removal with a laser by an experienced provider.
Does tattoo removal hurt?
A: The vast majority of our patients are treated for laser tattoo removal with the use of our Zimmer Chiller skin cooling device. The Zimmer Chiller cools the skin before and during the tattoo removal process and allows for a quick and nearly pain free tattoo removal experience. In the rare instance when a patient experiences discomfort, I may add a topical anesthetic or use injectable anesthetic such as lidocaine, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Can tattoo removal leave scars?
A: Laser tattoo removal typically provides an excellent cosmetic outcome when a performed by a skilled and experienced provider. There is certainly the possibility of hypo or hyper pigmentation when treating tattoos in individuals with darker skin types but this has been a very rare occurrence in my experience.
Amateur tattoos are often cleared more quickly than professional tattoos due to placement and quality of the tattoo ink. Various colored tattoo inks (Yellow, green, blue) may also prove difficult to completely clear unless your provider has a laser with the applicable wavelengths and necessary energy for the colored ink absorption and thus clearance. Do your research and find a provider you trust and I am sure you will be very happy with the cosmetic result.
What is the cost of tattoo removal?
A: The cost for your tattoo removal is dependent on the size and the number of treatments required for complete clearance. 98% of all tattoos contain black ink, which typically has a excellent capacity for complete clearance, but there are some black inks which have proven resistant and require more treatments than others. You can expect to undergo anywhere from 5-15 treatments to obtain complete clearance of your tattoo with each treatment in the $150 range. Claims of decreased treatment sessions using specific lasers or protocols are unproven and no physician can definitively say how many sessions you will require as clearance will depend on the quality and characteristics of the tattoo ink in question. Find a provider you trust and I am sure you will be very happy with the cosmetic result and value of the services provided.
What if my tattoo removal blistering is getting worse?
A: Blistering of the skin is not uncommon allowing laser tattoo removal. I would recommend you return to the provider who performed the treatment to have the area checked if your are having a significantly different response that your initial treatment.