How does laser tattoo removal work?
To explain the laser tattoo removal process, we first need to have an understanding of the science behind tattoos. The tattoo process involves the injection of inks containing pigments comprised of heavy metals underneath our outermost layer of skin. As the tattoo heals, the ink stays at the injection sites because the individual ink particles are too large for our bodies to carry them away.
The Science of Laser Tattoo Removal
White blood cells in our bodies are responsible for the removal of foreign invaders within us, tattoo inks included. These cells work by “eating” any invaders and carrying them away to be flushed from our bodies. If you were to look at a tattoo under a microscope, you would see that the individual ink particles are significantly larger than the size of the white blood cells around them. By analogy, the white blood cells cannot eat the ink particles just as we could not eat an entire pineapple in one bite. To eat the pineapple, we first have to cut it into pieces. For our white blood cells to eat the tattoo ink, we have to “cut” the particles into bite sized pieces for them.
That’s where the laser comes in. Tattoo removal lasers work by targeting the ink particles with incredibly powerful bursts of energy, but only for a billionth, or even a trillionth of a second. The energy from these beams is so powerful that it literally causes the microscopic metals used to color the ink to shatter into even smaller pieces. These pieces are now small enough for our hungry white blood cells to eat and carry them away. The illustration below provides a useful depiction of this process.
The overwhelming majority of individuals require multiple sessions spaced six to twelve weeks apart to ensure all the ink particles get broken down and flushed. After all required laser tattoo removal sessions at our private plastic surgery office in Seattle, WA it will be close to impossible for anybody to ever even know there was once a tattoo.
Who is a good candidate for laser tattoo removal in Seattle?
In short, anybody with a tattoo they no longer want.
It is estimated that 45 million American currently have a tattoo, 36% of whom are 18-25 and 40% are 26-40. The statistics show that the overwhelming majority of individuals with tattoos received them in their younger years, with the average age of candidates at just 29 years old. The fact is, we all change over time. Our individual styles and attitudes change, partners become former partners, employment concerns may arise, tattoos fade over time and sometimes individuals simply just don’t want a particular tattoo any longer.
The majority of our laser tattoo removal patients are from Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland and the Greater Puget Sound Area. You should not be pregnant and should be in relatively good health, with realistic expectations and no skin cancers or recent wounds to the tattoo area and its immediate vicinity.
In a consultation with one of our Master Estheticians, they can examine the tattoo, may ask about the ink types or other aspects of the tattoo, and they may want to know about your medical history and skin. Once they have a full understanding of your tattoo removal needs and history, they can then determine if you are a good candidate for Tacoma laser tattoo removal.
How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
The cost of your laser tattoo removal is going to depend on a number of variables including:
- Number of treatments required for removal. It usually takes 4 or more sessions.
- Size of the tattoo. Larger tattoos take longer to remove.
- Depth of the ink. Deeper inks are more resilient.
- Colors of the tattoo. Some colors are harder to break down.
- Age of the tattoo. Inks break down on their own over time, with older ink typically easier to remove than newer ink.
- Composition of the ink itself. Some brands of ink break down easier than others.
- Your body’s overall health. Healthier individuals have stronger immune systems and can process the broken-down ink particles quicker.
Our pricing page can provide better idea of the general price of laser tattoo removal in Seattle. The best way to get the most accurate price quote for your treatment is to schedule a consultation with one of our Master Estheticians who can examine your tattoo and understand your individual needs.
Is laser tattoo removal safe?
Laser tattoo removal is a very safe procedure, with decades of research on its safety and efficacy. While the lasers used for tattoo removals emit incredibly powerful bursts of energy, we don’t receive permanent damage because our skin receives such short individual bursts at a time. The bursts are just long enough to break up microscopic pigments without causing scarring. By analogy, we won’t get burned if we briefly pass our fingers over a flame. However, we do if we hold our fingers over the flame for longer than a brief pass. It’s the same thing with tattoo removal lasers.
When seeking Seattle laser tattoo removal, it is important that you seek a professional. Our Master Estheticians come with years of experience and have trained specially to use our laser. Having your tattoo removal in Seattle performed by an experienced Master Estheticians cuts the risk of side effects or complications.
Does Tacoma laser tattoo removal hurt?
The overwhelming majority of patients report a mild burning sensation at the site of the treatment. You can apply a numbing agent 30 minutes prior to the treatment if you are particularly sensitive to pain.
What should I do to prepare for my appointment?
To prepare for your session, we ask that you:
- Avoid sun exposure at the tattoo site for at least 4 weeks prior.
- Avoid exposure to any harsh chemicals or products for 2 weeks prior.
- Discontinue taking any photosensitizing medication for at least 6 months prior.
- Shave all hairs and clean your skin of all soaps and lotions immediately before your session.
Following this pre-treatment protocol will ensure a safe and effective procedure. Laser tattoo removal in Tacoma can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and therefore avoiding the sun will help keep your skin healthy after treatment.
What should I do after a removal session?
You may notice a “frosting” appearance at the site of the treatment immediately after your session. This is perfectly normal and is caused by tiny gas bubbles forming as a result of the high energy beam. Some patients may experience minor burning, swelling, redness and blistering for the first week. We will give you specific care instructions at each session, which include:
- Keeping the treatment area covered with sterile bandages and protected with a thin layer of antibiotic ointment for the first week. Do not pick any blisters or scabs; this could cause scarring.
- You may apply cold compresses if you experience any swelling.
- You may resume showering 2 hours after treatment, but avoid water pressure directly to the treatment site. Do not submerge until healed, to avoid infections.
- Wear SPF 25+ sunscreen for 3 months after treatment.
- Avoid lotion and makeup to the treatment area for 2 days after your session.
- Full healing is usually complete within a few weeks of treatment.
Our Master Estheticians:
The providers at Seattle Plastic Surgery that perform laser tattoo removal treatments are Master Estheticians. Our Master Estheticians have extensive knowledge of the skin and medical conditions that affect it. This allows them to provide comprehensive care to laser tattoo removal patients in the Seattle and Tacoma areas.
They will advise you to pre- and post-treatment care protocols and strategies so that you see the best results from your laser tattoo removal in Seattle and Tacoma. During your consultation, they can also create a custom treatment plan for you which can include the amount of treatments you will need, specific recovery protocol, and other aspects of the procedure.
Our Master Estheticians are dedicated to helping you remove your unwanted tattoo, as well as, providing the safest environment for the procedure. Our private treatment rooms all for a quiet, comfortable experience.
Laser tattoo removal is a quick and simple treatment that can permanently remove your tattoo. The winter months are often the best time for laser tattoo removal because of limited sun exposure and we tend to stay covered up.