Does Tattoo Removal Leave Scars Or Blisters?

The question “Does tattoo removal leave scars or blisters?” is a common one

One of the most common concerns people have before committing to laser tattoo removal is whether or not tattoo removal leaves scars or blisters.

In recent years, the technology used for laser tattoo removal has advanced significantly, and the risk of ending up with tattoo removal scars or blisters has reduced considerably. Tattoo removal lasers are now faster, cheaper, and more effective than in previous years. But, does that mean tattoo removal scars and blisters are no longer something you should worry about at all?

Many people are concerned about scars and blisters resulting from laser tattoo removal because they want their skin to look as natural as possible once the process is said and done. This is not an unreasonable expectation. Nobody wants to pay for a tattoo to be removed only to be left with damaged skin, which makes one regret the entire process. The process of tattoo removal is a unique one, and even though scarring is rare, there are extra steps you can take to ensure your skin looks and heals properly.

Preventing tattoo removal scars

Educate yourself on the laser tattoo removal process

Do the research and ask questions before you do anything else. Patients informed in all areas of laser tattoo removal are more likely to continue treatment, handle side effects properly, and be satisfied with their tattoo removal experience. However, expectations should be realistic, and you should be encouraged by the tattoo removal process as you learn how to get the best results and ensure your skin remains happy and healthy.

Hire a trained professional

When a trained professional doesn’t perform laser tattoo removal or uses outdated technology, there is a greater risk for tattoo removal scars. Older equipment can quickly heat the skin tissue to the point of causing permanent damage and scarring. Newer lasers shatter ink particles more efficiently with shorter pulses of light, leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.

It’s a good idea to seek out a registered nurse or physician who has the experience and expertise to ensure the tattoo removal process doesn’t result in pain or scarring. The right equipment in the hands of a well-trained professional will reduce your risk of tattoo removal scars exponentially. A properly trained and experienced technician will want to gather specific information from you during your initial consultation. They will then determine your skin type and ink density which will help them adjust the laser settings accordingly for your treatments. Be curious, be cautious, and ask questions until you have little or no doubt in your mind you’ve found the right person for the job.

Follow laser tattoo removal aftercare instructions religiously

Proper laser tattoo removal aftercare is crucial for preventing laser tattoo removal scars or blisters. These details will be explained to you in detail by your technician. Don’t rush to the finish line. Allow proper healing time in between treatments. Expect that time to be between 4 and 8 weeks. Patience will return better overall results. The more time you allow your skin to heal, the less chance you’ll experience side effects like scars or blisters.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water will help your skin before and after your treatments as well. This will speed up the healing process and your skin will thank you for it later.

Don’t pop, pick, or itch

Blistering is normal and a sign your immune system is doing its job to heal the affected area by removing the ink from your skin, it’s just part of the healing process. Blisters are most likely to appear after your first couple of treatments due to ink density, but do not pop them! If they do pop, let the skin flake off on its own. Do not pick or itch the skin away. Picking and itching can ultimately lead to scarring or infection.

Keep it clean

Your treatment site needs to be kept clean, but that does not mean it needs to be kept covered. With that being said, dirt or grime can interfere with the healing process, inducing skin-related side effects. We recommend gently cleaning the area with light, mild or anti-bacterial soap and water a few times a day. Avoid scented soaps; scented soaps can irritate and/or inflame the healing skin. We even suggest avoiding high pulsating water around the healing area.

Do not soak or swim in baths or hot tubs until the blister or scabs are fully healed. Areas of water like these contain bacteria that can invade the healing process, leading to infection and scarring.

Stay out of the sun

It’s no secret that the sun and UV light is the enemy of healthy skin. The sun can also increase blistering and slow down the healing process. Your skin will be sensitive to direct sunlight for several weeks or even months after your treatments.

If you plan on going outside, keep treated areas covered to avoid burning or related scarring. Carry at least an SPF 25 sunblock with you at all times to protect the treated area as much as possible. Be aware — most sunblocks contain fragrances that can affect the healing process. Look for a sunscreen that contains zinc. Wear it even if your clothes cover the treated area as the sun can penetrate through clothing.

Alcohol and smoking are not your friends

Alcohol can dehydrate your skin and impede the ability of your kidneys and liver to flush out ink. Ensure your vital organs are operating at maximum capacity by drinking more water instead. You’ll feel better and have faster results.

Smoking can reduce the success of tattoo removal by as much as 70%. This is because smoking restricts circulation, lowering the chance that the shattered ink particles will be carried away from the tattoo. This results in slower fading and a longer recovery time.

 

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 and is a time when 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. In addition, exposure to the sun increases your body’s melanin production, making 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, leading 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. You should avoid hair removal methods as 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 more exciting to reveal

Before starting laser tattoo removal, one thing to always keep in mind 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 visible on their bodies, but this becomes less of an issue during the winter months. Winter makes it easier to 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.

Does Tattoo Removal Cream Work?

So you’re ready to part with your tattoo. Of course, you want to make the process as simple and successful as possible, and you’ve probably considered tattoo removal cream. The idea of an at-home tattoo removal cream that works by erasing your unwanted tattoo art is appealing, but how does tattoo removal cream work, and is it effective? We’re here to tell you what we know.

The goal of tattoo removal creams

If you’re trying to make sense of tattoo removal methods, it’s helpful to begin with some foundational knowledge about what a tattoo is. Tattoos are essentially composed of ink particles stuck in your dermis (a thick layer of tissue that lies directly beneath your skin, or epidermis). They’re stuck because while your white blood cells (WBCs) want to carry away the foreign material, ink particles are too large for the WBCs to carry and dispose of. So the particles stay fixed and tattoos remain permanent—at least until tattoo removal methods enter the picture.

Every tattoo removal method ultimately aims to deal with these ink particles. For instance, laser tattoo removal uses high-speed lasers to break up the pigment in the skin. While it may be the most expensive tattoo removal method, it is still the most effective. Alternatively, dermabrasion sands down the skin with a high-speed brush. Salabrasion uses salt to sand down the skin and remove ink. Excision surgically removes the tattooed portion of the skin. Tattoo removal creams utilize chemicals to remove inks.

Types of tattoo removal creams

Tattoo removal creams are applied as topical treatments. They use hydroquinone or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) as the active removal agent. These two chemicals function quite differently from one another.

TCA tattoo removal induces a chemical burn—and yes, that is as scary as it sounds. TCA tattoo removal creams work by burning or peeling away epidermis layers in an apparent effort to free some of the ink pigment stuck way below in the dermis. Unfortunately, effectiveness is low, and the possibility of scarring is exceptionally high. You’ll likely be left with a significant scar. Creams that use TCA for tattoo removal are perhaps your worst option.

Hydroquinone, on the other hand, takes a less damaging albeit equally ineffective approach. Dermatologists use hydroquinone to treat epidermal melasma, which involves irregular pigmentation in the epidermis. Hydroquinone is effective in fading uneven pigmentation. However, hydroquinone is too superficial to get the job done when it comes to tattoo removal. The chemical is not capable of affecting any condition that occurs in the dermis—including tattoos. Additionally, it has been shown to cause eczema. Like TCA tattoo removal, the drawbacks of this option greatly outweigh the benefits.

There are creams out there that don’t rely on either TCA or hydroquinone as active ingredients. They are difficult to find, and as far as we have found, reviews always reveal them to be scams. In fact, regardless of their composition, tattoo removal creams turn out to be scams far too frequently. This probably has to do with the fact that their production is altogether unregulated by the FDA, allowing anyone to market ineffective treatments to hopeful buyers.

Another way to remove tattoos

It’s disappointing, but the evidence is clear: Tattoo removal creams just don’t work. We’re not the only ones who have come to this conclusion. In addition to the countless disappointed users of tattoo removal cream, the Mayo Clinic and American Academy of Dermatology both strongly recommend against using these creams. They are ineffective, unregulated, and unsafe.

Before you become too discouraged, please allow us to point you in a hopeful direction: Laser tattoo removal. It is undeniably the most effective method, and many people don’t realize that the qualities that make tattoo removal cream so appealing are offered by laser tattoo removal. Perhaps the sheer use of the word “laser” leads people to believe the process is dauntingly complex. On the contrary, we find it to be the most straightforward, logical method of tattoo removal. A laser shatters the large ink particles stuck in your dermis, making them small enough for WBCs to carry away. The WBCs do their job, and just like that, the tattoo is gone. 

Another common misconception is that laser tattoo removal costs will eat up your entire life savings. Sources promoting tattoo removal cream will tell you the procedure costs thousands and thousands of dollars. In most instances, the entire removal comes to less than $1,000.

The day an effective tattoo removal cream is invented will be a glorious day, and we will be right alongside you celebrating, but it certainly hasn’t arrived yet. If you’re thinking about tattoo removal, stay away from creams.

Can Permanent Makeup Be Removed?

Every few years there seems to be a resurgence of permanent makeup tattoos. While it seems like a great idea on the surface (who doesn’t want to look their best all the time), permanent makeup comes with a very real commitment and some severe consequences for those with a change of heart.

Like other tattoos, cosmetic tattoos are a permanent body modification. Ink inserted under the skin can only be removed through a few methods and not all of them are great options, especially when it comes to the delicate skin on your lips, eyes, eyebrows and face. In addition, many of the options available for tattoo removal simply aren’t suitable for permanent makeup removal, and, as a result, many people opt to get cover-up tattoos, which can result in even further issues resulting from poor application and fading.

Hate Your Permanent Makeup? There’s Hope!

If you have tattooed eyebrows, permanent lip-liner, or any other cosmetic tattoo that you hate, you may be asking the question, “Can permanent makeup be removed?”. The answer is yes. There’s hope to get your beautiful natural face back!

The best method for removing permanent makeup is modern laser tattoo removal technology. Therefore, choosing a clinic that specializes in permanent and cosmetic makeup removal is important. While the processes of both tattoo removal and permanent makeup removal are very similar, special care and technology must be used in order to protect the delicate area around your eyes and mouth.

Now that you have hope that, yes, permanent makeup can be removed, you may be eager and very ready to jump right in. However, before you do that, there are some questions you should ask before deciding to get a permanent makeup removal procedure:

  • Are you a board-certified dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or ophthalmologist with laser tattoo removal experience?
  • Do you have a large number of cosmetic tattoo removal procedures in your bank of experience already?
  • Can you connect me to previous patients who have undergone the treatment who would be willing to speak to me?

The Untattoo Parlor has extensive experience working with patients to remove all forms of cosmetic makeup. Dr. Garrett Vangelisti is a board-certified plastic surgeon and specializes in tattoo removal in Portland Oregon.

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