By Dr. Geetika Paliwal, Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery
Statistics show that about one-third of the people want to remove their tattoos. However, you cannot remove a tattoo using an ointment or a cream without eroding the superficial layer of your skin. The only efficient way to remove a tattoo is by the laser removal technique.
How does the laser remove the tattoo?
Lasers are high-intensity beams of light which are utilized to break up the constituent pigments which make up the tattoo. Black pigments absorb all wavelengths and are easiest to remove. For the other colors, selected wavelengths of the laser will do the job.
What to expect
Your treatment will vary, mostly depending on the color and size of your tattoo. It may take you anywhere between 2-10 visits to remove the tattoo. The color of your skin, as well as the depth of the skin to which the tattoo has extended, also play a role in the removal technique.
What happens during laser removal?
1. Your eyes are protected by placing eye shields on them.
2. The way your skin reacts to the laser is tested in order to regulate the effective wavelength for the treatment.
3. A handpiece will then be held against your skin and the laser light shall be activated. According to the people who have undergone laser removal technique, the experience feels like a splatter of grease or a rubber band snapping against your skin.
4. Immediately after the treatment, an ice pack will be applied on your skin and a cover shall be placed over it to protect it.
Are there any side effects?
Yes, there can be infections at the tattoo site, but only if it is left uncovered or unprotected; especially while going out in the sun.
Surgical removal of permanent tattoo:
Apart from the laser, there is also a surgical way of removing a permanent tattoo. In this method, tattoos may be removed by direct surgical excision. In this process, the skin that contains the tattoo is removed directly by cutting. This type of tattoo removal may require local, regional or even a general anesthesia as per the size of the tattoo.