As permanent tattoos grow in popularity, so too have requests for laser tattoo removal. In the past, tattoos were removed by surgical excision- a technique which resulted in severe scarring and downtime. Latest generations of Picosecond Lasers (“PicoLasers”) are able to remove tattoos effectively and safely- laser energy is absorbed by the tattoo pigments which shatter- allowing for them to be cleared by the circulatory system. The number of sessions required would depend on several factors- patient’s skin color type, tattoo color type, amount of ink used, degree of scarring and location of tattoo on the body. The Kirby-Desai Tattoo Removal Scale (named after two Dermatologists who focused their work on Tattoo removal) provides a convenient estimate of the number of treatments needed. Typically 5-10 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart are needed to achieve 80-90% clearance of the tattoo. At Bay Aesthetics Clinic- we use the PicoSure – the only US FDA approved 755nm Alexandrite PicoSecond laser. to target a wide range of tattoo inks. Black, blue, brown inks can be effectively treated. White, pink, green, red and light blue inks are difficult to treat.
Topical numbing cream will be applied to the treated area for 15-20 minutes. The treatment takes 5-15 minutes (depending on tattoo size). After treatment, the skin will become swollen and red for 3-5 days.
You will be given creams and serums to apply to your skin for 3-5 days. Avoid sun exposure to the treated area for 2 weeks. Avoid contaminating the skin for a week- no swimming or contact sports or outdoor activities.
Done correctly, laser tattoo removal does not cause scarring. In many cases, scarring is already present- it developed at the time of the tattoo and becomes more obvious after the tattoo ink has faded.