A tattoo can be a lovely work of art. Until you change your mind, that is. Then, the masterpiece you loved so much becomes an unwanted burden. You might have considered laser tattoo removal at one time but dismissed it because you feared your tattoo was too extensive or the time required was too great. The truth is that at the office of Ingrid E. Trenkle, MD, in Redlands, CA, we have the tools and skills to effectively erase your tat as soon as you’re ready.
Can You Get Rid of Any Type of Tattoo With Laser Tattoo Removal?
If you suffer from tattoo regret, you’ve likely explored different ways to remove the artwork you no longer want. Dermabrasion, surgery, and salt applications may promise results, but the best option by far is laser removal. This method works quickly and safely to dissolve the tattoo from sight. In addition, the right laser can remove any tattoo – even an elaborate one that covers your back, arm, or leg.
What is considered the right laser? Our office uses the PicoWay to penetrate far below the skin’s surface, where tattoo ink resides. The PicoWay specifically targets ink pigments without harming your skin’s outer layer. This means a more comfortable treatment than that provided by earlier lasers. Thanks to its innovative design, the PicoWay is safe for a variety of skin tones and types. In short, you do not have to live with a tattoo that has lost its previous meaning.
An Exceptional Laser Treatment
The PicoWay delivers ultra-short, high-power energy pulses that burst ink pigments into pieces so fine they cannot be detected by the human eye. This laser can even eliminate orange, yellow, and red ink that, in the past, proved difficult if not impossible to remove. As a result, most tattoos can be eliminated with a short series of treatments. Others may require more visits to our office to shatter all of the tattoo pigments.
Unlike most lasers that heat the skin from the surface down, the PicoWay produces energy that breaks down natural and unnatural pigments below the skin’s surface. This explains why the treatment works so effectively without damaging surrounding skin tissues. This laser boasts the shortest pulse duration by almost half of any competing laser in its class. It also provides the highest peak power, meaning you will see faster results with fewer treatments.
How It Works
The PicoWay emits a light beam that disintegrates tattoo ink. Blank ink is the easiest to treat because it absorbs all laser wavelengths, but as mentioned earlier, PicoWay can treat a spectrum of colors. The ink bursts into tiny pieces as it absorbs the laser’s energy, and the body harmlessly flushes those pieces out through the lymphatic system. Meanwhile, surrounding skin tissues remain intact.
Most lasers work slowly because they emit a single beam of light with only one color. Healthcare providers who use these tools sometimes need up to four different lasers to treat tattoos made with multiple colors. The PicoWay allows us to treat a range of tattoo inks with one convenient handheld device.
A Versatile Way to Transform Your Skin
The PicoWay is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to remove tattoos and treat skin conditions that include:
- Acne scars
- Age spots
In addition, the PicoWay is the only laser system in the world that can deliver dual wavelengths (532 nm and 1064 nm). This explains why the laser can be safely used on a variety of skin colors and types. The system also comes with several different handpieces to effectively address your unique skin concern.
To better understand laser tattoo removal, it’s important to know what happens to your skin when you get a tattoo. The ink gets injected into the dermis, a layer of tissue that sits just below your skin’s outer layer, known as the epidermis. The epidermis is designed to constantly shed to renew itself. A tattoo placed here would disappear in a matter of weeks, which is why a tattoo artist’s needles are designed to penetrate the dermis.
The dermis is a highly sensitive, delicate layer composed of blood vessels, glands, nerves, and collagen fibers. Ink particles injected into this area either spread throughout the dermis to create the tattoo or get consumed by fibroblast cells. Because fibroblasts produce collagen, they are essential to the body’s healing process, meaning they also play a role in tattoos.
A Complex Process
Tattooing causes tens of thousands of micro-wounds in the skin’s deeper layers and essentially pushes the immune system into high gear. The body enters a healing mode in which macrophages, clusters of blood cells, mobilize to the site of the tattoo and fight to eliminate the ink particles that have invaded the dermis.
Macrophages explain how tattoos become permanent and why they fade. Some of these cells swallow the ink particles and push them into the body’s lymphatic system for removal. Other macrophages allow the tattoo ink to become visible by remaining in the dermis. As you can see, this is a fairly complex process that demonstrates why tattoos diminish over time.
More than two words used in jest, tattoo regret is a real emotion that can be the result of many different factors. A 2016 Harris Poll found that around 25 percent of people with tattoos regretted getting them, largely because they felt they were too young when they initially chose the artwork. Others believed their tattoos no longer aligned with their lifestyles, and still others felt a visible tattoo negatively impacted their employment prospects.
Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone in wanting to remove your inked artwork. Tattoos are linked to numerous complications, including errors in medical diagnoses and testing. They can also cause skin infections if the area to be tattooed and equipment are not properly prepared.
Ways to Help the Removal Process
We’ve already said it once but feel the need to say it again: laser offers the most compelling laser tattoo removal available. You can help this process with a few simple steps at home, starting with taking your time. You may feel an unwanted tattoo needs to disappear at once, but it’s crucial that you wait the recommended six to eight weeks between laser sessions.
Research confirms those who abide by this recommendation enjoy clearer results and need fewer sessions than those who try to rush the process. The lesson here is that you need to be patient, allow your skin to properly heal after each session, and watch your ink effectively disappear.
Slathering on sunscreen is good practice in general, but it can also help the laser tattoo removal process. Here is how it works: when the skin surrounding the tattoo is kept as pale as possible, the laser’s energy can more easily grab and destroy the tattoo’s ink.
In other words, the greater the contrast between your unwanted tattoo and the surrounding skin, the faster the PicoWay can go to work. We, therefore, recommend you avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen daily throughout the removal process.
If you’ve been looking for a reason to stop smoking, now is your time. The chemicals contained in cigarettes can interfere with your tattoo removal time by constricting blood vessels. As blood flow is impeded, the shattered ink particles cannot move through the lymphatic system. The healing process also slows, meaning every cigarette you continue smoking can increase the number of removal sessions you need.
Enjoy a Little Exercise
Although we administer laser therapy here in our office, most of the removal process happens after you leave. It takes a bit of time for the ink to burst and circulate through the body. You can help this process by increasing your rate of circulation with a little exercise. From walking in the fresh air to lifting weights, exercise can get the blood pumping. It’s a great way to assist the tat removal process.
Listen to the Doctor
Throughout the removal process, our staff will provide you with a list of aftercare instructions. To illustrate, we might recommend you keep the area moisturized or provide specific cleansing directives. Following these guidelines will help the removal process go more swiftly and easily.
Bid Your Unwanted Tattoo Goodbye
Rest assured you can eliminate unwanted tattoos. We make it simple with the most advanced laser system in the world, the PicoWay. You’ll enjoy fewer and safer treatments that effectively remove even the most stubborn ink colors – without damaging surrounding skin tissues. Schedule your consultation today by calling the office of Ingrid E. Trenkle, MD, in Redlands, CA.