How A Dermatologist Can Remove Your Old Tattoo

Posted on: 14 April 2017

Getting that tattoo back in college may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but you may regret it now. If you're embarrassed by your tattoo and you're tired of trying to cover it all the time, then you should see a dermatologist about removing it. Tattoo removal has improved over the years, and it's possible the ink can be removed without a trace. Here are a few things you may want to know about getting your tattoo removed.

Why You Should Go To A Dermatologist

If you're embarrassed by your tattoo now, imagine how you would feel if you had a big scar there instead. That is a very real risk when you have a tattoo removed in a parlor or using a kit at home. Side effects are rare when a dermatologist removes a tattoo with a laser. The risk of complications is much higher when you go to someone who is not medically trained or if you try a remedy at home such as a salt scrub. A skin infection is one possibility, but the bigger concern is a permanent scar. It's better to protect your health and the appearance of your skin by letting a dermatologist remove your tattoo in a controlled and safe way using laser technology.

How The Procedure Is Done

A laser treatment can be uncomfortable, so your dermatologist may apply numbing cream first or give you a shot of local anesthetic. Once your skin is ready, the area with the tattoo is zapped by the laser. The laser doesn't erase the tattoo. Instead, it busts up the ink into tiny particles. Your body has to absorb and eliminate the particles to clear the tattoo. It will probably take multiple laser treatments to fully erase the tattoo, so you should be patient with the process.

Your dermatologist may give you cream to apply to your skin to help it heal and to protect it after each treatment. You'll also need to keep the area covered and out of the sun until it heals. You should notice a lightening of the tattoo after the first treatment. Several factors determine how many treatments you need, such as the depth of the ink, the age of the tattoo, and where the tattoo is located. The dermatologist also considers your overall health and the condition of your skin when choosing the best treatment plan for your tattoo removal.

Fortunately, lasers do an excellent job of removing tattoos, even though it may take several sessions to get the job done. When you work with a dermatologist, you have peace of mind that your skin will be clear and smooth when the tattoo is gone. The goal is to look like you never had a tattoo, rather than replace it with a faded image or a scar, which is a real risk if you try to remove the ink yourself.