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Are There Alternatives to Laser Tattoo Removal?
If you are not ready to invest in laser tattoo removal, you can try to camouflage your tattoo using heavy-duty makeup kits. It is also possible to buy over-the-counter tattoo-fading creams. However, the chemicals in these creams may cause skin reactions and many dermatologists and skin care professionals caution against their use.
Talk to your skin care professional before you make any decisions about tattoo removal. Your skin care professional can evaluate the size and coloration of your tattoo, along with your natural pigmentation, and estimate how many laser treatment sessions may be necessary for safe, successful removal.
Getting a tattoo may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but if that tiny star on your back or the tribal band around arm is a piece of body art that you’re ready to live without, then tattoo removal can help. Unfortunately, tattoos are meant to be permanent. This means that the success of different tattoo removal techniques can vary depending on the size and pigmentation of your tattoo as well as your skin’s color. The good news is that thanks to advancements in laser technology, tattoo removal techniques are more effective than ever before.
Quality-switched lasers, also known as Q-switched lasers, are now widely used for tattoo removal. These lasers use a targeted beam of light to search for contrasts between skin tone and ink. The light beam then pulses intensely on the skin, breaking the ink down into particles that are small enough for the body to absorb. Today, laser tattoo removal is the de-facto standard for tattoo removal.
Black ink on light-skinned individuals is the easiest to removal. Smaller tattoos and older tattoos are also easier, since the ink in these tattoos will break down more readily. On the flip side, fluorescent colors, especially greens and purples, are nearly impossible to erase. If your dermatologist or skin care professional does not think that it is possible to fully remove your tattoo, he or she may recommend fading the tattoo slightly in order to cover it up with another.
Laser tattoo removal can be painful and may require multiple sessions – in some cases, as many as 20 -- depending on the colors and size of the tattoo. For the first few days after the procedure, the skin will look like a healing burn. Patients must carefully care for their skin following the laser removal process by applying antibiotic ointment and keeping the skin bandaged. Finally, while laser tattoo removal causes minimal to no scarring, especially when compared with older treatments, the skin around the tattooed area can also become discolored or infected if not cared for properly.
Laser tattoo removal can also be expensive. While a small tattoo might cost as little as $80, tattoo removal could be as expensive as $300 or more per session, significantly outweighing the cost of the initial tattoo. However, the results are often great and permanent.
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