Why Winter Is The Best Time Of Year To Get Laser Tattoo Removal

One of the most common questions we hear from individuals considering tattoo removal is, “What is the best time of year for laser tattoo removal?” You may get responses like “now” or “sooner is better than later”, but in reality, we like to focus on the season. Believe it or not, Winter is widely considered the best time to get most beauty and skin treatments done, including laser tattoo removal.

Generally speaking, it is best to start laser tattoo removal treatments sooner rather than later, and we don’t necessarily recommend waiting 9 months to get started, but Winter is the easiest time of year to recover. Winter gives you a good time frame for healing but also is a time where inflammatory heat is absent. Here are a few more reasons why we think winter is the best time of year to get laser tattoo removal.

Enjoy Your Fun In The Sun

During your first visit, a professional medical laser technician will create a customized treatment plan for your specific skin type, color, and sensitivity level, but they will also tell you the importance of staying out of the sun for several weeks before and after each treatment. Tanned or burned skin can alter your laser tattoo removal results. For example, having a tan or sunburn will change the sensitivity to your skin meaning you will more than likely experience irritation during and after your treatments. Exposure to the sun increases your body’s production of melanin, which also makes your skin more susceptible to burns during laser tattoo removal. Exposure to the sun during the healing process in between treatments can also cause peeling and blistering which can lead to scarring.

There is also a risk of hyperpigmentation which is the permanent removal of skin pigment. In order to prevent the risk of hyperpigmentation, it is important to avoid the sun for several weeks after a treatment to give the skin time to heal.

It is much easier to avoid the sun during the colder months because you are not spending as much time outdoors and your skin is almost completely covered when you are. When you choose to have your tattoo removed in the Winter, you can rest easy knowing you will be able to fully enjoy your summer the way you want to and feel comfortable not forcibly covering up your freshly cleaned skin.

Hairy Doesn’t Have To Be Scary

After any laser tattoo removal session, the treated area of your skin will need time to heal, and it cannot be shaved, waxed, or even plucked. Hair removal methods should be avoided because they can easily open up scabs and create blisters. This is yet another reason why winter is the best time of year for laser tattoo removal. Longer and warmer Winter clothing will easily conceal treated areas, relieving any worries you might have about going “au naturel” while your skin heals. Letting your hair grow out in the winter is not a big deal, it’s just hair after all.

Your Progress Will Be Less Obvious & More Exciting To Reveal

One thing to always keep in mind before starting laser tattoo removal is that it is not just a one-time procedure. Your sessions will be determined by a professional during your initial consultation, but there is typically an 8 to 12-week interval between sessions. During this time, your tattoo will begin fading steadily and may start to look spotty depending on your specific treatment plan, the ink colors in your tattoo, and the laser used during the procedure. Most people will cover up these treated areas anyway especially if it’s in visible areas on their body, but this becomes less of an issue during the Winter months. Winter makes it easier to naturally hide recently removed tattoos and you don’t have to feel obligated to answer questions like, “What’s going on with your tattoo?” It’s like a caterpillar transformation in a way. After Winter you will be shedding your layers to reveal something new.

Laser Tattoo Removal and Melanoma

At The UnTattoo Parlor, we are frequently asked how the process of tattoo removal can either help or hurt screening for Melanoma.

What is Melanoma and how can we get it?

Melanoma is commonly thought of as a pigmented lesion of the skin that can result in disfiguring excisions, metastatic disease, and on occasion death. Many may not know that melanoma can also occur on mucosal surfaces such as the intestines and even in the eyes. Risk factors for melanoma include fair skin, a history of sun exposure (for example severe sunburns in childhood), a family history of melanoma, and rare genetic disorders such as xeroderma pigmentosum. Melanomas can also appear on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet (some may know that Bob Marley died of melanoma that originated on the sole of his foot).

A diagnosis of melanoma can only be made by obtaining tissue that can then be examined by a pathologist. The prognosis or expected long-term outcome of melanoma is directly related to the depth that the malignant melanoma invades the dermis. The deeper the invasion the more likely for metastasis and a poor outcome. As with any malignancy the earlier the diagnosis the better the prognosis.

If I have had or think I might have Melanoma, is it safe to undergo laser tattoo removal?

Individuals diagnosed with Melanoma in the past or think you may have Melanoma it is best to consult with a licensed dermatologist before undergoing laser tattoo removal. The laser used to treat tattoo pigment also has the potential to lighten pigmented lesions which can sometimes indicate the presence of Melanoma. If your doctor cannot see the Melanoma it can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages when the survival rate is highest. If you are at high risk for Melanoma many doctors will recommend that you hold off on getting tattooed. If you already have tattoos, the safest course of action is to keep your tattoos and get regular check-ups from a physician trained in melanoma screening. Dermoscopy and photo mapping are often used to screen and follow patients at risk for melanoma.

Melanoma self-screening Guide

A – Asymmetrical Shape
Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

B – Border
Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

C – Color
The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D – Diameter
Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).

If you exhibit any of the above signs consult a physician right away. See the links below for more information:

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/index

http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/are-there-skin-risks-associated-with-tattoos

http://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/melanoma/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/tattoos-moles-and-melanoma-201308056578