When that tat just has to go...
Tattoo removal is the fastest growing segment of the tattoo industry. With a sucky tattoo like mine, I sure can believe that! Thankfully, tattoo removal isn't nearly the traumatic event that it used to be, especially with awesome new methods like laser tattoo removal. However,keep in mind that tattoo removal is still a significant medical procedure that should be entered into with all necessary precautions and responsible research.
Tattoo removal is far from an exact science, and just about any doctor will tell you that there is no guarantee that a tattoo can be removed completely. There most likely will be some scarring or pigment change in the area where your tattoo used to be.
The Truth about Laser Tattoo Removal
Another misconception is that laser tattoo removal is an over-night type fix to erase a tattoo. This is far from the truth. Fact is, laser tattoo removal is not performed all in one single treatment. Laser removal of your tattoo requires many sessions of laser treatment and each session requires breaks of four weeks or more between each laser treatment session. Slowly, throughout these spaced out laser treatments, your tattoo will be removed with final results being based on the color of the tattoo, the pigment type and the depth.
Don't forget, tattoos are meant to be permanent! All tattoo aftercare advice is designed to help prolong the life of your tattoo and keep it as perfect as the day you got it, right? To make things even more challenging, all the recent advancements in ink technology and in the skill level of professional tattoo artists, tattoos received in the last decade or so are very difficult to remove. Tattoos are permanent because the needle used penetrates below the epidermis and places ink into the dermis layer of your skin.
Fact is, all tattoos are meant to be permanent, and that is why tattoos are so difficult to remove. Difficult, but not impossible! The good news is, tattoos CAN be removed from all areas of the body. Better yet, tattoos given by very experienced tattoo artists are the easiest to remove because the pigment has been evenly injected into your skin.
Laser Tattoo Removal - How Does It Work?
Laser tattoo removal targets the pigment of the tattoo with short bursts of high-intensity light from a laser. While the laser penetrates the skin, it is also is a direct target to the pigment of the tattoo and leaves the surrounding tissue free from damage. The laser itself does not actually remove anything; it simply disrupts the pigment of a tattoo. Laser tattoo removal breaks up the pigments for the body to absorb. Basically, laser tattoo removal makes your body into an "eraser".
What About Scarring and Other Risks of Laser Tattoo Removal?
The risks that could occur following laser tattoo removal include infection, sunburn-type burns of the area, scarring (from heavy scarring to minor), and an itching sensation around the treated area. In the past, tattoo removal was done using various undeveloped surgery techniques, all of which left tattoo removal patients with a lot of scarring and empty pockets. These days, laser technology is more refined. While there is still the chance of scarring from multiple laser treatments, doctors have developed their treatments to minimize scarring. Keep in mind, that no matter what form of tattoo removal you choose, some scarring or color variations of your skin are likely to remain.
Laser Tattoo Removal - The Bottom Line
Laser tattoo removal is a booming business and the fastest growing area of the tattoo industry. The most popular form of tattoo removal is laser treatment. Using laser treatment for tattoo removal is the preferred medical technique by both patients and practitioners. Although most dermatological practitioners will caution that the complete removal of a tattoo is not fully possible, using laser surgery for tattoo removal has been proven to be highly-effective. Regardless of each persons personal reason to have a tattoo removed, laser tattoo removal is a popular and effective way of getting rid of an unwanted tattoo.
New tattoos require attentive aftercare to promote healthy healing. A tattoo is an open wound and requires the same attention throughout the healing process. Tattoos must be kept clean and exposed to least amount of germs as possible.
The healing stages of a tattoo will be as unique as the individual who is experiencing it. Different skin type, body location, and tattoo artist techniques can all cause a variance in your personal tattoo healing process.
Tattoo aftercare is critical to the healthy healing of your new tattoo. The aftercare instructions below should be started as soon as possible following your tattoo appointment and make sure that you take proper care of your tattoo as there is nothing worse than getting a great tattoo and then having it heal poorly and mess up the finished tattoo. For additional resources on the proper care of a new tattoo click here.
None of this article should be taken as medical advice, for all medical advice consult your physician.
How to Care for a New Tattoo -
Your new tattoo will be bandaged when you leave the tattoo parlor. It is recommended to leave this bandage on your new tattoo for a few hours, to protect it from any outside contact. A brand new tattoo is similar to having minor surgery so don't be surprised if your tattoo bleeds a little for the first 24 hours. This is normal and your bandage will help absorb any bleeding from your tattoo initially following your procedure. One thing to note is to be extremely careful when removing your bandage and to not let a large amount of blood dry on your bandage.
When it is time to remove the bandage from your tattoo, do so carefully. It is possible that blood has dried to the bandage and if you just rip it off, you could possibly screw up the appearance of your new tattoo.
Your tattoo is tattoo is going to be sore, red, and possibly a bit swollen. You may also experience a slight stinging sensation that is similar to the feeling of sunburn. Tattoo artists will tell you that getting a tattoo feels like a strong sunburn, the truth is that a healing tattoo will often feel like a sunburn. If you're a wimp, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate these temporary symptoms of tattoo healing.
Your primary focus when taking care of a new tattoo is to keep the tattoo clean. After the initial bandage is removed, gently wash your tattoo with water and a tattoo aftercare cleanser such as Tattoo Goo (or anti-bacterial soap). Do not use a washcloth or anything other than your hand. Wash gently, don't 'rub' but pat the tattoo. Try to remove all blood. Do not scrub. Rinse your new tattoo completely with clear water then blot slightly with a clean towel. Allow your tattoo to air dry for 15 minutes or so.
After your tattoo has dried, gently apply a tattoo aftercare lotion such as Tattoo Goo or Aquaphor Healing Ointment. A minimal amount will be sufficient - if your tattoo appears overly-shiny, you applied too much. Too much lotion traps germs in to your new tattoo which can potentially lead to infection. Just a dab will do.
Repeat the tattoo aftercare instructions for cleaning your tattoo 3 times a day.
Be sure to wear clean, loose-fitting clothing around your tattooed area and to sleep on clean sheets.
Tattoo Care - Peeling, Is it Normal?
The tattoo healing process is similar to recovering from a bad sunburn. It is quite common for a new tattoo to peel after a couple of days. Allow the tattoo to peel away naturally - do NOT peel the dry skin away yourself. This can pull the ink out of your tattoo leaving it discolored or uneven in appearance. You will also notice that your new tattoo feels tight, dry, and itchy. Keep applying your tattoo aftercare lotion to hydrate the tattoo and alleviate these symptoms. It is normal to see small flakes of colored skin flake away from your tattoo as your tattoo is healing.
What Does a Healthy, Healing Tattoo Look like?
New tattoos will appear red and swollen immediately following your tattoo procedure. This appearance will continue for a few days throughout the tattoo healing process. Within a week to ten days, the skin surrounding the tattoo area should be more back to normal. Most tattoos are completely healed in three weeks time.
Healing Stages of Tattoos
Everyone heals differently making it difficult to give an exact time line for the tattoo healing process. it is impossible to predict exactly how everyone will heal from a tattoo experience being that no two human bodies heal at the same rate. Those with sensitive skin may take longer to heal, and may experience a longer period of flaking or peeling, than those that have normal skin. Location of your tattoo can also cause the healing time to vary. Tattoos on the hands or feet may take up to two weeks longer to heal than a tattoo on another body part.
Below is a general over-view of the healing stages of a tattoo.
Tattoo healing stage - Week 1
New tattoo will be sore and red.
Slight bleeding is common during the initial 24 hours following your procedure.
Minor symptoms such as swelling and stinging can be eased with the use of over-the-counter pain relievers.
Proper tattoo aftercare must be started immediately following procedure to ensure healthy healing.
Tattoo healing stage - Week 2
Tattoo may begin to flake or peel.
Tattoo may become itchy
Important to NOT scratch or pick at tattoo
Tattoo healing stage - Week 3
Scabbing and/or peeling has subsided
Tattoo area may still feel sensitiveTattoo Care - Tattoo advice to preserve the quality of your tattoo.
Tattoo Care - Tattoo advice to preserve the quality of your tattoo.
your healing tattoo
Tattoo Aftercare Video
Tattoo Aftercare Products
You probably spent good money getting that great new tattoo, didn't you? Now is not the time to get cheap and skimp on tattoo aftercare products. The Original Tattoo Goo Tattoo AfterCare Kit is full of high-quality products designed to aid in the proper healing of a new tattoo, and to preserve it's beauty for a lifetime.
If you change your mind, then you can always look into Tattoo Removal. I've searched around a few places in Atlanta for a good Tattoo Removal Atlanta doctor and am considering getting mine laser removed. We'll see as time goes by what I decide to do there.