Humans have been adorning their skin with permanent art since ancient times. Today, tattoos are more popular than ever: About 30% of American adults — including 2 in 5 young adults — have at least one tattoo. In just a decade, that’s a 21% increase.
But just as more people are deciding to get tattoos, others are opting to have old or unwanted tattoos removed. Whether it hasn’t kept its color or definition, doesn’t fit your current lifestyle, or didn’t turn out as you expected, regrettable ink can be a cosmetic annoyance.
Removing a tired tattoo isn’t as simple as changing your mind, but it’s certainly possible.
As a laser treatment specialist, Nawo K. Fiamo, ARNP, and our expert team at Fiamo Aesthetics in Yakima, Washington, can help you bid adieu to undesired ink safely and with excellent results. Here’s how it works.
Tattoos are called “permanent ink” because of how they’re applied to your skin. In most cases, a tattooist uses an electrically powered needle to set the ink in your deeper layer of skin (dermis), or the layer beneath the surface of your skin (epidermis).
Given that dermal cells are more stable and protected than epidermal cells, the tattoo ink that’s inserted there is more stable and protected, too. Tattoos may be permanent by design, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be treated and removed.
Long gone are the days when surgical excision or painful dermabrasion treatments were the only way to remove unwanted tattoos. Today, advances in noninvasive laser technology make it possible to substantially lighten or totally erase unwanted tattoos with minimal risk of scarring or skin damage.
Laser tattoo removal uses brief bursts of noninvasive energy to target and shatter large ink particles into miniscule particles that your lymphatic system can readily absorb and flush from your body.
When we pass the laser device over the treatment area, it emits various wavelengths of light into the unwanted ink. This energy heats the pigments up from the inside out, causing them to break apart.
The laser’s energy reaches the ink deposits that are closest to the surface of your skin first. Each laser treatment session targets the next ink layer until the tattoo is gone.
At Fiamo Aesthetics, we perform tattoo removal with the Fotona Q-switched laser, a special pulsed device that’s widely considered the laser of choice among tattoo removal experts.
Most people who come to our office for tattoo removal have the same set of questions:
It takes several laser treatments to remove the varying depths of ink in any tattoo, even if it’s small or simple. In general, dark or vibrantly colored tattoos require more treatment sessions than light tattoos. Similarly, older tattoos tend to disappear faster, while newer tattoos can be more stubborn.
Blue and black inks are easiest to remove, while green, red, and yellow are more challenging. The pulsed Q-switched laser that we use works very well on multicolored tattoos and has an outstanding track record for providing complete results.
Nearly all tattoos require multiple laser treatments to attain complete (or nearly complete) removal. We can give you an idea of how many sessions you need after we evaluate the size, color, quality, age, and location of your unwanted ink.
It takes an average of six laser treatments to attain complete tattoo removal results. Each 30-minute session takes place 6-8 weeks apart to give your skin time to heal and to give your lymphatic system plenty of time to process and remove the shattered ink particles.
Laser tattoo removal isn’t as intense as getting a tattoo, but it does feel a bit like having a tiny, high-powered rubber band repeatedly snapped against your skin. To keep you comfortable from start to finish, we apply a topical numbing cream before each session.
If you’re ready to make that unwanted tattoo disappear for good, Fiamo Aesthetics can help. Call our Yakima, Washington, office at 509-738-1329 to learn more, or book online today for a tattoo removal consultation.