It’s that time of year! Coughs, colds, and sniffles are going around.
Because laser tattoo removal as well as laser skin rejuvenation and sun spot removal actively involves the immune system, if you become ill or think you may be getting sick, our laser specialists suggest you postpone your laser treatments until you are feeling better. In most cases, there would be no harm to treat while you aren’t feeling 100%, but an illness, even just the sniffles, can keep your immune system occupied which can slow healing and the removal of shattered ink. For skin rejuvenation and sun spot removal, the concept is the same. The immune system is active in causing the skin to turn over, flushing out impurities, and removing broken pigment from the skin. To see the best results, it is advised to be feeling healthy and well the day of treatment.
As always, if you have any questions regarding your treatment or the recommendations of our staff, do not hesitate to talk to one of our certified laser specialists. We’re here to ensure you have the best experience possible at Vanish.
*photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici via www.freedigitalphotos.net
With laser tattoo removal, is there an amount of time that is too much to have between treatments?
The short answer is, no. With laser tattoo removal time is a good thing. It t takes time for the skin to heal. It also takes time for the immune system to work on the ink that has been shattered by the laser’s energy. The majority of this process does occur in the first 4 to 8 week after treatment. This is when the immune system is most active, however as long as there are shattered ink particles in the skin, the immune system will continue to work to flush them out. It is not uncommon to continue to see fading several months after treatment.
On the other hand, we know that once the decision is made to remove a tattoo, you want it gone as soon as possible. We recommend treatments be done every 4-8 weeks to allow time for your skin to heal and give your immune system an opportunity to flush away the shattered ink. Sooner than 4 weeks is not advised. As treatment progresses and we begin targeting ink deeper in the skin, treatments may need to be spaced further apart. This is to ensure you are seeing the best possible result from each treatment. If you ever have questions or concerns about your treatment, the way your skin is healing, the way or tattoo is fading, etc please feel free to speak to one of our laser specialists. We are here to answer your questions and ensure your satisfaction.
The photos below show a tattoo that required more than 4 weeks for healing. The first photo was taken prior to the first treatment. The second photo was taken about 6 weeks after the first treatment. An area of the tattoo was not fully healed, and thus we deemed it necessary to wait longer before treating a second time. Just over one week later the tattoo was ready to treat. It's amazing the difference a week can make on how much ink is flushed from the skin. Notice in the third picture the area where the scab had been. More ink has faded from that spot than just about any other area of the tattoo. The longer a scab or blister is intact, the more active the immune system is and often times more ink is flushed away from those areas than from areas that heal more quickly. So while scabs and blisters are no fun to deal with, just know that their presence can help to remove more ink from your tattoo.
What is hyper/hypo pigmentation? Both hyper and hypo pigmentation are changes to the skin’s natural color typically caused by trauma, especially burns, to the skin. Hyper pigmentation refers to the darkening of the skin. Hypo pigmentation is the opposite, the lightening of the skin. Laser tattoo removal can cause hyper and/or hypo pigmentation. This is especially noticeable in patients with darker skin tones. Hispanic and Asian skin tones tend to see hyper pigmentation, where African skin tones tend to see hypo pigmentation. Treating tattoos of certain colors can impact how much or little hyper/hypo pigmentation may be noticed in the patient’s skin.
Because the wavelengths we use to treat colorful tattoos are also attracted to colors that are naturally occurring in our bodies as well as to melanin, treating these colors can increase the incidence of hyper/hypo pigmentation. In most cases the hyper/hypo pigmentation is not permanent. It can take a good deal of time for the natural pigment to repopulate the area, though. It is important to allow enough time between treatments to see an improvement in hyper/hypo pigmented skin. This may mean waiting 2 months or more between treatments, but rest assured this is to ensure you have the best possible results from laser treatments.
As always, feel free to discuss your concerns with our laser specialists. At Vanish we want to make sure you are satisfied not only with the results you are seeing, but also with the care and treatment you receive.
Laser treatments are definitely the way to go for tattoo removal, but there are a few uncomfortable side effects you may have to deal with while the treated area heals. One of the biggest complaints we hear is that the skin in and around the treated area is extremely itchy after treatment.
The laser tends to cause some dehydration to the skin. This in and of itself can be quite itchy. Add that to the fact that the healing process can cause some itching too, and you’ve got the potential for some very itchy skin. In most cases the itchiness is not too bothersome. A moisturizer, preferably without much fragrance, is often all that is needed to rehydrate the skin and relieve the itch. In some cases, however, the itch can be quite intense. If a basic moisturizer is not helping, try one that contains vitamin E oil or pure vitamin E oil. These seem to help in more severe cases. If you are still not getting relief, try combining vitamin E oil and an anti itch cream. That should do the trick.
When you do apply moisturizer, do so with a deep massaging action. This will not only help the moisturizer to penetrate deeper into the skin, it will also increase the blood flow to the area which will in turn aid in the healing process and allow the immune system to flush away shattered ink more quickly. We recommend that all of our tattoo removal patients do this at least once daily after the area begins to heal, but especially if your tattoo is in an area with reduced blood flow such as the hands or the feet.
As always, if you have questions about your treatment, want to know if your experience is normal, or would like to know if there is anything you can do to speed the process, please feel free to ask our laser specialists while you are in the office or over the phone. We strive to ensure you achieve the best results possible with each laser treatment.