Saying Goodbye to Unwanted Ink Has Never Been Easier: Learn About Our Laser Tattoo Removal

People have been embellishing their bodies with permanent skin art since ancient times. In recent years, tattoos have seen an unprecedented surge in popularity: About 25% of adults in the United States — including nearly half of all young adults — have at least one tattoo. 

But just as more people are choosing to get tattoos, more people are also choosing to have them removed. Whether it didn’t turn out as expected, hasn’t held its colors or definition, or doesn’t suit your current life, unwanted ink can be an aesthetic nuisance.  

Removing a tattoo may not be as simple as changing your mind, but it’s definitely possible. As a laser treatment specialist, Tasneem Agha, MD, and the team at Rose Lavande Med Spa can help you say goodbye to an unwanted tattoo safely and with minimal risk of skin damage. 

Can I erase permanent body ink?

Tattoos are considered permanent because of how they’re applied to your skin — a tattooist uses an electrically powered needle to set the ink beneath the surface of your skin (epidermis) in your deeper layer of skin (dermis). 

Because dermal skin cells are more stable and protected than epidermal skin cells, the ink that’s deposited there is more stable and protected, too. But even though tattoos may be permanent by design, they’re not necessarily irreversible.

Previously, the only way to remove or diminish unwanted ink was through surgical excision or painful dermabrasion treatments. Unfortunately, surgical excision is only a viable option for small tattoos, and dermabrasion is less effective and often leads to an unpredictable outcome.  

Today, thanks to advances in dermatological laser technology, you can substantially lighten or totally erase a tattoo you no longer want with minimal risk of scarring or skin damage. 

How does laser tattoo removal work?

Laser tattoo removal uses ultra-short bursts of heat energy to systematically shatter large ink particles into miniscule particles that can be absorbed by your lymphatic system and flushed from your body.

When the laser passes over the treatment area, it targets darker ink pigments, heats them up, and breaks them apart. The laser reaches the ink deposits that are closest to the surface of your skin first; each treatment session targets the subsequent ink layer until the tattoo is gone.  

Dr. Agha performs tattoo removal treatments using a Q-switched YAG laser, a special “pulsed” device that’s been the laser of choice for tattoo removal for over two decades.

Will my tattoo disappear completely?

Even if your tattoo is relatively small or simple, it still takes several treatment sessions for the laser to penetrate and remove its varying depths of ink. As you might imagine, vibrant or dark tattoos take longer to remove than lighter tattoos that have a lower ink density.   

Blue and black ink is easiest to remove, while green, red, and yellow are more challenging. The pulsed Q-switched YAG laser that Dr. Agha uses works well on multicolored tattoos and is known for providing complete results. 

Still, there are several factors that determine if your tattoo will disappear completely. Older tattoos tend to disappear faster, for example, whereas newer tattoos can be harder to remove, especially if they contain newer pastel inks. 

Dr. Agha will give you an idea of what to expect after she assesses your tattoo.  

How many sessions will I need?

Virtually all tattoos require multiple laser treatments to achieve complete results. The number of sessions you need to remove your unwanted tattoo is determined by its size, color, quality, age, and to some extent, location. 

Complete tattoo removal typically requires at least six (but usually no more than 10) laser treatments. Each session is scheduled six to eight weeks apart to give your skin ample time to heal — and to give your body plenty of time to metabolize the shattered ink particles. 

The average laser tattoo removal session takes 30 minutes or less to complete. 

Does laser tattoo removal hurt?

Laser tattoo removal isn’t quite as intense as getting a tattoo, but it does feel a bit like having a tiny, high-powered rubber band repeatedly snapped against your skin. To keep you comfortable from start to finish, Dr. Agha may inject a local anesthetic or apply a topical numbing cream.

If you’re ready to make that unwanted tattoo disappear for good, the team at Rose Lavande Med Spa can help. Call our Houston, Texas, office at 713-352-0918 to schedule a visit with Dr. Agha today.  

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