A good friend of mine got a tattoo as soon as he turned 18. He probably thought he was the coolest person in town at the time. Now almost 10 years later, he really regrets getting that tattoo.
This particular person decided to get a tattoo on his arm that many people would categorize as offensive. Now that he’s in his upper 20s he wanted to cover up the tattoo with something a little less offensive…a Penn State logo.
The problem is that the Penn State logo is mostly round and the tattoo that it’s supposed to cover up is square. Not to mention, the person that covered up the tattoo is NOT a professional.
We were talking with him about options he should consider and laser tattoo removal came into the conversation. I was surprised how little people knew about tattoo removal. Some of the statements I heard about tattoo removal included:
- Tattoo removal is painful
- The process doesn’t work
- The laser leaves really bad scars
- The procedure cost thousands of dollars per treatment
So what is the truth about tattoo removal?
Tattoo Removal Process
When you get a tattoo, you deposit ink into your skin. Everyone knows this. However, what you may not know is that ink is made up of compounds from heavy metals. Some of the metals contained include lead, copper, and manganese. Some red inks even contain mercury.
These metals are what make tattoos permanent. The other piece of this puzzle is that from the instant a needle deposits ink into your skin your immune system is trying to get the particles out. Ink isn’t natural to the skin, so the body works to get it out.
The white blood cells are able to escort small particles to your liver where they are excreted. However, many particles that make up the ink are too large and too heavy for the white blood cells to move.
This is the exact reason why you will see tattoos fade, but not completely disappear. The pieces that are permanent and left behind after years and years are the particles that are just too heavy for white blood cells to get rid of.
Where does a laser come into this situation?
When you undergo laser tattoo removal you direct an ultra hot laser beam at the tattoo. This laser also pulses on a scale of trillionths of a second.
The heat and pulse cause thermal-expansion to the ink particles. This thermal expansion causes the ink to break down into tiny little pieces that white blood cells can carry. Before you know it the white blood cells carries the particles to your liver and your body excretes them naturally!
This treatment seems simple, but the process may take several rounds of treatments to have a full effect.
As far as pain…if you can bear the pain of a tattoo, then you can definitely take the pain of tattoo removal.
When tattoo removal was first introduced there were more occurrences of scarring and pain. However, with advancements in laser technology, there is now little to no scarring. However, since the laser pulses are hot, even though it may not be painful, you have to treat the area like a burn for best healing results.
To learn more about tattoo removal give us a call today!