Tattoos are everywhere; they appear to be a big trend for this generation. But what do you do when you cannot stand staring at the pin up girl on your upper arm, the butterfly on your lower back or the profound word you've been trying to hide from your mum for years? Your options are to get a cover up (that you could potentially regret at a later stage) or to get the tattoo removed completely.
Before you make a decision on the future of your skin its best to do your homework and get as much information as possible. So to make this easier for you, here is my go-to guide for everything you need to know about tattoo removal.
1. Tattoos can be easier to remove than thought
A tattoo is a form of body art where indelible ink is inserted into the dermis layer of the skin where the pigment is retained indefinitely. Contrary to popular belief, in most cases, tattoos are not permanent and can be removed if they are no longer wanted. This does depend on the ink and colours being removed as well as the technology being used.
2. How it works
Tattoo removal methods have come a long way over the past 10 years with newer Tattoo Removal Lasers making the process easier than ever before.
The laser penetrates the dermis layer of skin (where the ink has been set) breaking the ink down to make the particles small enough for the lymphatic system to dispose of. The body will then begin absorbing the broken down ink, which then gets flushed out through your lymphatic system.
3. Fast tattoo removal increases the risk of scars
Fast tattoo removal requires aggressive techniques meaning you will have a higher risk of scarring. All credible clinics care about the skin being treated therefore opt for gentle removal in order to minimise scarring - however this takes time.
Scarring is a very real risk of this procedure. With the right techniques, an experienced practitioner and good aftercare, you're giving your skin the best possible chance of recovering.
4. Tattoos won't disappear after one session
As mentioned above, if done correctly, the risk of scarring is minimised. But this can take anywhere from 8 to 15 treatments, which require a minimum of an 8 week gap. The time in between treatments will give your skin time to heal and for your lymphatic system to flush out the ink particles. However, timings can vary - some tattoos take less than 8 treatments but others take more than 15 to remove. Some skin types require longer than 8 weeks between treatments for the optimum results, this all depends on the individual and the tattoo.
5. Every case is different
Tattoos vary greatly; older ink and black ink is usually easier to remove whereas strong colours can be more challenging. To achieve the best results during and after; only an expert who is experienced in both laser and non-laser techniques can advise on all the options that are available to suit your needs.
6. It hurts.... A lot
Laser tattoo removal hurts. It feels like oil splatter on your skin without the nagging pain after. Post treatment area needs to be kept clean, as your post-lasered skin is extra sensitive making it more susceptible to infection. Areas such as lower arms and hands are especially difficult to keep clean, and therefore are more susceptible to infections and you will need to be extra vigilant keeping the area clean.
7. It's not cheap
If you thought getting your tattoo was expensive, removing can be far more costly. The price will depend on the size and design of the tattoo, but will generally start at £50 per session - meaning 15 sessions can cost upwards of £750.
So the tattoo you got in Magaluf for €40 will cost a lot more to remove.
Tattoo removal is offered by a wide range of professionals; as well as skin clinics, doctors and tattoo artists who readily offer the treatment. It's important that you choose a technician you trust and that you're realistic in that this will be long drawn out process. The two easiest ways to be left with scarring are to push your technician for results and to get an infection by not keeping the area clean. Remember that once you've had your treatment, it is your responsibility to follow the prescribed aftercare to be able to obtain the best results possible.
To find out more about Lorena Öberg Skincare, Tattoo Removal and other available treatments visit: www.lorenaoberg.co.uk