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Whether it’s an ex-lovers name or a questionable piece of art you had from your youth, tattoos can be an incredibly significant experience in one’s life or a very regrettable one. With the mainstream popularity of tattoos thanks in part to televisions shows like “L.A. Ink,” the rise of body art comes with consequences for some people.

For those who don’t think before they ink, tattoo removal is a growing procedure available at most cosmetic surgery offices. Regrettably, not all tattoos can be completely removed, but the majority of the artwork can be. The difficulty in removal is due to recent ink technology and professional tattoo artists improving their skills. With a few patients, some residual scarring remains even with the best tattoo removing technique applied.

The most effective way to remove unwanted tattoos is with a laser. Lasers work by directing highly concentrated colored light beams toward ink in the skin. The laser beams break up the ink particles into tiny fragments; over time, they are disposed of by your own body’s scavenging cells. Depending on the depth of the ink, fragmenting the ink particles via a laser requires numerous sessions. The good news is that the procedure is bloodless and no incisions are made.

Another benefit is that the laser selectively targets the pigment of the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin. However, the deeper the laser needs to go and the more treatments required will cause the heat generated by the lasers to induce pain and form blisters. Multiple treatments can also produce scarring. Every tattoo and skin pigment is different, so these side effects will vary from patient to patient.

A successful tattoo removal is based on several factors, such as the size, location, application, age, and color of the tattoo. Also, like most cosmetic procedures, the health of the patient and their body’s ability to heal is another major factor. As mentioned above, newer tattoos are generally more difficult to remove.

Although it may not be as painful as when you received the tattoo, getting it removed is not a painless procedure. The lasers generate rapid pulses, which feel and are tolerated differently for each patient. Luckily, each session only takes a few minutes. For those with a low threshold for pain, I usually recommend taking Tylenol a few hours before the procedure, but under no circumstances should anyone take pain medications that might thin the blood.

Please contact us to schedule a consultation at our Pasadena, California office.  During your visit, we can further discuss the number of sessions needed to remove your tattoo based on the factors previously mentioned.