Don't get us wrong, tattoos are absolutely fabulous. Who doesn't love a little body adornment? But if you're regretting the one you have, the whole idea of tattooing can become more nuisance than work of art. Just ask Heidi Klum. Like many men and women, Klum opted to get the name of her then-husband, artist Seal, on her inner arm. This piece is pretty substantial in size and with their relationship ending in unfortunate divorce, Klum is rumored to be undergoing treatments to get Seal's name removed from her body.
Thinking about having a similar procedure done yourself? We sat down with one of our resident skincare expert physicians, Dr. Chasin, to get all your tattoo removal questions answered. Read below to see just how you can go about getting an unsightly tattoo removed for good.
So Dr. Chasin, what are the reasons people opt to have their tattoos removed for most often?
Everyone has a unique reason for why they want to remove a tattoo. But the most popular reasons include statements that the person was too young when they decided to get a tattoo, or that they have changed their minds about it. Then there's always the names - relationships come and go, but your ex's name just sits there as a reminder of love gone wrong.
Bummer. It looks like even celebs make regrettable tattoo mistakes. Can tattoos really be removed?
49-50% of people who get tattoos regret getting them, and we are very lucky to have the technology to safely and successfully remove unwanted ink. It used to be that painful and inefficient methods like dermabrasion, cryosurgery, and excision were used to remove tattoos, but today the standard in tattoo removal is through the use of lasers. Laser tattoo removal is minimally invasive, low risk, and through a series of treatments we have had great success with eliminating unwanted tattoos.
Sounds like a lifesaver! How does tattoo removal work?
The lasers work by producing short pulses of intense light that that pass through the top layers of the skin to be selectively absorbed into the pigment in the ink. The laser energy fragments the ink, breaking it apart small particles that are ultimately removed by the body's immune system. Over the course of a handful of treatments, the tattoo pigment is broken down and the tattoo fades away.
Who are the ideal candidates for this procedure that will see the best results?
The ideal candidate is a patient who is primarily in good health, has a positive outlook, and retains a realistic expectation about the process. Laser tattoo removal takes time to work - usually half a dozen or more treatments, spaced six to eight weeks apart. It requires patience and dedication on the part of the patient, but if they hang in there, they'll be happy with the result. Although all skin types can be treated, dark tattoos and pale skin usually experience the fastest and most desired results.
What are the downsides to having a tattoo removed? Discoloration? Some of the ink remains after the treatment?
We use powerful lasers for tattoo removal, and that means the possibility of complications if the treatment is administered by someone who doesn't specialize in laser tattoo removal. Make sure you see a doctor, not a technician, to get your tattoo removed. Also, different kinds of ink and different skin types require different laser wavelengths, so make sure there is more than one treatment option on hand. Be sure to do a bit of research and ask the right questions to help ensure the success and safety of your treatment. Also, not all tattoos see 100% clearance, but most can be treated to the point that the patient is very happy with the result.
Is there a lot of pain involved?
The improvements in the tattoo removal lasers have drastically decreased the pain involved in removal. The treatment is said to merely feel like a pinch or being snapped by a rubber band. It hurts a little, but it's fairly quick. We offer our patients numbing options, and most decide against it, so that should tell you something.
Doesn't sound too bad. What is the most common area tattoos are removed from?
Common areas are arms, torso and ankles.
Thanks Dr. Chasin!
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