Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Laser Treatments

Please review our list of frequently asked questions below. Should you have any additional questions, contact us at (816) 263-8140.

Laser tattoo removal works by using high-intensity laser beams to break down the pigments present in the tattoo ink into smaller particles. The body’s immune system can then naturally remove these smaller particles over time. The specific wavelength of the laser targets the colors within the tattoo ink without significantly affecting the surrounding skin.

During the procedure, the laser emits short pulses of light energy that are absorbed by the tattoo pigments. The energy heats up the ink, causing it to shatter into tiny fragments. These fragments are eventually cleared away by the body’s lymphatic system, primarily through the skin’s natural healing processes.

Multiple sessions are required for complete tattoo removal, as different pigments respond to different wavelengths of laser light.  In addition, the immune system can only process removal at specified rate which cannot be increased through more treatments.  Darker colors like black are generally easier to remove, while lighter colors might require specialized lasers. The number of sessions needed varies based on factors such as the size, color, age, and depth of the tattoo, as well as individual variations in skin type and the tattoo’s location on the body.

Laser tattoo removal can range from uncomfortable to very painful.  Most individuals experience some amount of discomfort during the procedure. The sensation has been described as the feeling of a rubber band snapping against the skin or in more severe cases, the sensation of bacon splattering on your skin.  The level of discomfort can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s pain tolerance, the location of the tattoo, the size of the tattoo, the colors used in the tattoo, and the type of laser being used.

Laser tattoo removal clinics often use cooling techniques such as chilled air or topical numbing creams to help minimize discomfort during the procedure.  WE USE ALL OF THESE INCLUDING A PROPIETARY PAIN CREAM WITH ENHANCED ABSORPTION FOR BETTER PAIN CONTROL. 

Our cooling techniques blow cold air (-20 C) on the skin while the procedure is in progress.  This minimizes pain and damage to the area being treated.

We also offer all of our patients PRO-NOX analgesic gas.  This safe and effective technology assist with significantly reducing anxiety and pain during the procedure and affords you the ability to drive after the procedure.

Because our physician is available, in severe cases, we may pre-treat with lidocaine injections or even systemic sedation.  MINIMAL PAIN IS WHAT WE ARE KNOWN FOR!  If you are concerned about this, you ARE in the right place.

 

The duration of a laser tattoo removal treatment can vary depending on the size of the treatment area, complexity of the shape, and variations of color.  Generally, sessions can range from 5 minutes to 20 minutes.  Small tattoos generally are completed in a few minutes.  Your provider will discuss the estimated treatment time during your consultation.

Be aware that we like to apply the pain creams 30-60 minutes before the procedure (you can pre-arrange to apply this yourself before you come). 

PRO-NOX analgesic gas begins working immediately, however, you will generally need to wait 10-15 minutes after the procedure prior to driving. 

While laser tattoo removal is generally considered safe and effective, there are potential side effects that you should be aware of. Keep in mind that individual reactions can vary, and not everyone will experience these side effects. Here are some potential side effects of laser tattoo removal:

1. **Pain and Discomfort**: Laser tattoo removal can be uncomfortable, often described as feeling like rubber bands snapping against the skin or a hot, stinging sensation. The level of pain can vary depending on the individual’s pain tolerance, the location of the tattoo, and the size and color of the tattoo.  OUR FIRST GOAL IS TO MINIMIZE THIS COMMON SIDE EFFECT.

2. **Redness and Swelling**: After a laser treatment, it’s common to experience redness, swelling, and tenderness in the treated area. This is a natural response to the laser energy and usually subsides within a few days.  THIS IS THE MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECT WE SEE.

3. **Blistering and Crusting**: Blistering and crusting can occur after laser tattoo removal treatments. This is more likely to happen with higher energy settings or aggressive treatments. These blisters should be left alone to heal to minimize the risk of infection and scarring.  BLISTERING IS NOT AN UNCOMMON SIDE EFFECT ESPECIALLY AROUND THE BREAST OR THE ANKLES.

4. **Scarring**: While modern lasers are designed to minimize scarring, there is still a risk, particularly if the treated area is not properly cared for during the healing process or if there are complications. Individuals with a history of keloid scarring may be more prone to scarring after laser tattoo removal.  FOR ESPECIALLY DARK COMPLEXIONS, WE MAY ALTER TREATMENT PROTOCOLS TO GO SLOWER AND MORE GENTLY TO MINIMIZE THIS POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECT.

5. **Changes in Skin Pigmentation**: Temporary or permanent changes in skin pigmentation can occur after laser tattoo removal. Hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin) or hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) can happen, especially in individuals with darker skin tones.  HYPERPIGMENTATION IS NOT AN UNCOMMON ADVERSE EFFECT AFTER A TREATMENT BUT THIS TYPE OF PIGMENT CHANGE OFTEN DISSIPATES.

6. **Infection**: Any procedure that breaks the skin barrier carries a risk of infection. It’s important to follow the aftercare instructions provided by the medical professional to minimize this risk.  THIS IS VERY RARE AND WHY WE ASK YOU LEAVE BLISTERS OR WOUNDS ALONE AND KEPT CLEAN.

7. **Allergic Reactions**: While rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to the tattoo ink or to the laser treatment itself.  RED INKS ARE OFTEN A PROBLEM.

8. **Incomplete Removal**: Complete tattoo removal may not always be possible in a single session, especially for tattoos with multiple colors or deep ink. Multiple sessions are usually required for optimal results.  LOTS OF WHITE OR YELLOW INK CAN BE A PARTICULAR PROBLEM

To reduce the risk of side effects and complications., it’s important to choose a reputable and qualified medical professional or technician to perform the laser tattoo removal. They can assess your individual skin type, tattoo characteristics, and medical history to create a treatment plan that minimizes the risk of adverse reactions. Additionally, following proper aftercare instructions is crucial to promote healing and reduce the likelihood of complications.

Laser tattoo removal can be performed on a wide range of skin types, but the effectiveness and potential risks can vary depending on the individual’s skin tone. Different skin types have varying levels of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color, and this can impact how the laser interacts with the skin during the tattoo removal process.  There are generally fewer problems in those with less melanin, especially Fitzpatrick skin types I to IV.  That does not mean V and VI cannot be treated.  It does mean a conservative approach may be necessary to eliminate problems.

The Fitzpatrick skin type has less to do with ethnicity and more to do with skin response UV light.  They can be grouped as:

  • Type I: Very fair skin (nearly ivory), always burns in the sun, never tans. Often has red or blonde hair, and blue or green eyes. FRECKLES COMMON.

  • Type II: Fair skin, burns easily, tans minimally. Usually has light hair and light-colored eyes.

  • Type III: Light to medium skin, burns moderately, gradually tans to light brown. Common among those of various European descent.

  • Type IV: Medium skin, burns minimally, tans easily to a moderate brown. Often found in Mediterranean or Asian backgrounds.

  • Type V: Darker skin, rarely burns, tans well to a darker brown. Common among people of Middle Eastern, Latin American, or Indian descent.

  • Type VI: Very dark skin, almost never burns, tans deeply. Typically seen in people of African descent.

Before undergoing laser tattoo removal, it’s crucial that you consult with our qualified medical professional or technician who can assess your skin type and evaluate the most appropriate laser technology for your situation. We can determine the optimal treatment approach and develop a personalized treatment plan that aims to achieve the best results while minimizing the risk of side effects, such as changes in pigmentation.

NOTE: Individuals with darker skin tones (V and VI) are at a slightly higher risk of experiencing pigmentation changes, such as hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, after laser treatments. However, with the right equipment and proper settings, experienced practitioners can minimize these risks. To ensure the safety and effectiveness of the procedure, it’s recommended to choose a reputable and skilled professional who has experience working with diverse skin types.

The cost of laser tattoo removal depends primarily on the NUMBER of treatments and the SIZE of the tattoo.  Obviously, the bigger the tattoo, the more square area that requires treatment.  Skin type, age of ink, color of ink also affect the number of treatments which as a result affect the cost.  Also, your goals will determine the number of treatments.  For example, if you are fading a tattoo for revision or change, you will need fewer treatments vs complete removal.  We can assist you in coming up with a general estimate at consultation.

VISIT OUR TATTOO REMOVAL PAGE FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON PRICING.

FIRST, TATTOOS ARE NOT REMOVED IN ONE TREATMENT.  IT IS A PROCESS.

The number of laser tattoo removal treatments required to completely remove a tattoo can vary widely depending on several factors.  Some of the main factors that influence the number of treatments needed include:

1. **Tattoo Characteristics:** The size, color, depth, and density of the tattoo’s ink can affect the removal process. Darker colors like black are generally easier to remove, while lighter colors may require more sessions.

2. **Skin Type:** The Fitzpatrick skin type can influence how well the skin responds to laser treatments. Lighter skin tones often respond more effectively to laser removal.

3. **Tattoo Age:** Older tattoos might require fewer treatments as they may have naturally faded over time.

4. **Tattoo Location:** Tattoos on certain areas of the body may take longer to fade due to differences in blood flow and skin thickness.

5. **Individual Response:** Each individual’s immune system and ability to clear away fragmented ink particles can impact the rate of tattoo fading.

As a general guideline, it’s common for individuals to require anywhere from 6 to 8 treatments (but can be as many as 15) sessions to achieve significant fading or complete removal.  These sessions are usually spaced 6 weeks apart to allow the body to heal and the immune system to process the fragmented ink.  PLEASE REMEMBER PROPER EXPECTATIONS ARE IMPORTANT.  TATTOO REMOVAL IS A PROCESS.

It’s important to consult with a qualified and experienced tattoo removal professional who can assess your specific tattoo and provide a personalized estimate of the number of treatments required based on your individual characteristics. Keep in mind that while laser tattoo removal can be effective, complete removal may not always be guaranteed, and some faint traces of the tattoo might remain.

THE RATE LIMITING STEP IN TATTOO REMOVAL IS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.  WE WILL SUGGEST WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM TO POTENTIALLY IMPROVE THIS WAIT TIME.

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