Tattoo Removal FAQ Redlands

How does tattoo removal work?

Laser tattoo removal is non-invasive light therapy designed to safely eliminate unwanted tattoos from most areas of the body. The laser generates a pulse of intense, concentrated light directed through a small hand piece which lasts only a fraction of a second. The laser energy passes through the skin to the tattoo ink where it is absorbed by the pigment. The absorbed light energy is converted to heat very rapidly and it bursts the ink droplets into tiny pieces that the body’s trash cleanup cells (macrophages) will gobble up.

What areas can be treated?

Theoretically, any area can be treated. For safety reasons, we do not attempt to destroy tattoos that are very near the eyes (e.g. eye liner). We do not treat skin colored inks because they occasionally can turn black irreversibly.

What are common reasons for laser tattoo removal?

Bad memories associated with tattoo, lifestyle/career change, color change of ink, outdated artwork, fading tattoo for a cover up.

Which patients will benefit from laser tattoo removal?

Most darker tattoo colors treat very well i.e. black, dark blue, red, purple. Unfortunately, bright inks are very hard to remove i.e. aqua, light green, fluorescent colors, yellow. Even these inks will fade somewhat but they rarely are completely absorbed.

How does laser tattoo removal compare to other tattoo removal methods?

Tattoo removal has been performed for centuries, even millennia. Burning, sanding, excising, salabrasion, dermabrasion and ablative laser resurfacing have been used but the leave unacceptable scarring. Nd:YAG laser tattoo removal is very safe in all but the darkest skin types. Scarring is rare and the success rate is high.

What laser is used at Senza?

We use the Palomar Q-YAG 5 laser system. This is an Nd:YAG Q-switched laser system. Having used other systems (medlite) in the past, we are very happy with the treatment response with this laser. We have noticed more fading per treatment and less treatments overall with the Q-YAG 5.

Is laser hair removal FDA approved?

Laser tattoo removal with our laser system is FDA approved.

What kind of results can I expect? Is it permanent?

There are many factors involved in the success of tattoo removal. The most important are, color, age, whether tattoo is professional or amateur, genetics etc. As a general rule, professional tattoos are more difficult to remove than amateur or (garage) tattoos. Old tattoo are easier than recent because some ink is naturally absorbed over time in any tattoo. We cannot guarantee how much of the tattoo will be removed. Sometimes there is a shadow or ghost of the original tattoo that cannot be improved on and other times the tattoo is completely gone. Your results will be somewhere in that range.

How many treatments does it take?

Most patients will require 6 to 10+ treatments depending on the above factors. Keep in mind that each patient is different and some patient to patient variation in response does exist.

How long between treatments?

Treatments should be spaced at least 8 weeks apart to allow sufficient time for the cellular garbage crew to absorb the disrupted ink. Any sooner would be a waste of time and money. Waiting longer is actually better and if time is not an issue, it is better to wait up to 4 months.

What are the risks?

High performance laser systems such as those we use have made laser tattoo removal very safe. Nevertheless there is a risk of complications whenever laser treatment is performed. These include but are not limited to: blistering, prolonged irritation, hyperpigmentation (spots of darkened skin), hypopigmentation (spots of lightened skin), and burns. Allergic reactions can occur after treatment of certain metallic dyes. Again, these complications are rare and even if they do occur, they typically resolve in a few days to several months. It is extremely rare to have true scarring after laser tattoo removal although there is occasionally slight texture change which is typically due to the tattooing not the laser treatment.

I have dark skin; am I still a candidate for laser tattoo removal?

Yes. We are excited to be able to offer laser tattoo removal to just about all skin types.

Can I have laser treatment if I am pregnant?

Technically it is safe to treat a pregnant patient. At Senza we do not treat pregnant patients.

What if I love tanning beds/the beach/the river?

Tanning and lasers do not mix. Your risk of complication is increased substantially if you are tanned or are exposed to sun/tanning booth around treatment time. We sometimes treat mildly tanned skin for patients who accept the additional risk but we recommend no exposure for 2 weeks before and after treatment.

Does it hurt?

Yes. Some patients have a better pain tolerance than others, but to be honest, you will look forward to the results not the treatments. We have anesthetic (numbing) cream for certain sensitive areas which can be topically applied before your treatment and does a great job of making the treatment more comfortable. Other options are to inject the area with anesthetic at an additional cost or on the budget side is an ice pack. The good news is that the treatments are typically fast from as little as 10 seconds to a few minutes depending on the size of the tattoo.

How much “down-time” can I expect?

You will be able to resume your normal daily activity after laser tattoo removal. The treated area will need a few weeks to heal.

What will the treated area look like after the treatment?

The treated area will initially turn white then red along with sometimes considerable swelling. Some areas can develop a blister especially areas with red/green ink. The tattoo will sting for a few hours and will be sore to the touch for a few weeks.

Am I a candidate for laser tattoo removal?

The best way to determine how good a candidate you are is to schedule a consultation with us. We will assess your individual needs and develop an appropriate treatment plan.