Laser tattoo removal is a relatively carefree affair. It’s an outpatient procedure performed with a local anesthesia. We remove tattoos quickly and painlessly in the comfortable atmosphere of our Pearl District office.
Many people find going to the dentist more stressful than having a tattoo removed by laser. That said, knowing what to do before and after laser tattoo removal can keep you more comfortable.
How Laser Removal Works
We like to get to know clients before a procedure. Schedule a consultation. We’ll meet, evaluate your tattoo and let you know what to expect from treatments. After the consultation, if you’re ready to move forward, you can schedule an appointment. For a small tattoo, we sometimes complete a treatment at the end of the consultation.
Before a laser treatment, we numb the skin with an anesthetic. We remove tattoos with a Cutera Enlighten and a CynoSure PicoSure laser. These lasers break up the ink.
We have had success eradicating many colors including some shades of green with our Enlighten. With the recent purchase of the Picosure 755 laser, we’re ready to work on a greater range of colors, including green.
In the weeks after your treatment, the tattoo will fade as your body rids itself of the ink fragments. You may need several appointments if your tattoo is large or densely colored.
How to Prepare for Tattoo Laser Removal
Prepare for your appointment by being well rested, nourished and hydrated. Here are some additional tips:
- Get a goodnight’s rest the day before the treatment.
- Cancel the procedure if you become ill.
- Come to the appointment wearing comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the tattoo and won’t chafe the site after the procedure.
- Tell us about any medical concerns. Let us know if your health changes between appointments.
- Tell us if you’re pregnant or nursing.
- Before an appointment, inform us if you have cold sores or herpes. We’ll prescribe an antiviral medication if you need one. Take the medication according to instructions before the appointment.
- Bring a friend with you for support if you like.
- Don’t expose your tattoo to the sun, use self-tanners, spray tans and tanning beds for four weeks prior to laser removal.
- Don’t wax or use a depilatory for 1-2 weeks before a treatment. Avoid skin irritants.
- Don’t engage in overly strenuous activity before a procedure. Feeling rested is important to recovery.
Taking Care of Yourself After Laser Tattoo Removal
You can return to your regular routine after laser tattoo removal. The one caveat is that you should allow yourself time to rest and recover. Keep your schedule and activity level light for a day or two after a procedure.
The tattoo site may swell and skin may feel irritated. Here’s what you need to do to speed your recovery.
- Stay hydrated and eat healthily. The stress associated with laser removal is akin to a strenuous workout or tough day at work. Take it easy while you heal.
- Shower or bathe as usual.
- Exercise as usual, but go easy for a day or two.
- Wear clothing that won’t rub or put pressure on the tattoo site.
- Use broad spectrum sunscreen or protect the site with UV clothing.
- Let us know if you are concerned about swelling, blistering or bruising. While these symptoms are common, contact us if you have questions.
- Don’t use a hot tub, sauna or spend time in other hot environments for 1-2 days after a treatment
- Don’t expose the site to the sun.
- Don’t engage in vigorous activity immediately after an appointment.
- Don’t pick at the treated area.
- Don’t use Neosporin on the area. Bacitracin is our recommendation should you need an antibacterial ointment.
- In a day or two following a treatment, don’t use topical treatments containing retinol, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic or salicylic acids and astringents.
We’ll remind you of these dos and don’ts during your appointments. Larger, more densely inked tattoos require more extensive treatment and longer recovery times. However, in general, tattoo laser removal is relatively straightforward. Most people experience only minor soreness and irritation.