Laser Tattoo Removal: Finding the right facility, FAQ's, What to Expect, and MORE
Vanish DFW Laser Tattoo Removal
When deciding on a facility to perform your laser tattoo removal, there are many factors to consider. It can be very confusing. The most important criteria in choosing a laser facility are:
What type of laser is the facility using?
Vanish, Fort Worth's premier laser tattoo removal and skin aesthetic center, uses an Astanza Trinity Nd:YAG and Ruby Q-switched laser that is designed specifically for tattoo removal and aesthetic skin laser treatments, such as rejuvenation and discoloration (age spots, sun damage, birth marks, etc) removal.
How current is the laser?
Laser technology is changing fast. Vanish is using cutting-edge technology.
Is there a certified laser technician on staff?
While not necessarily required by law, Vanish has certified laser technicians on staff that are specifically trained on the laser we use.
Is there a medical director on staff?
Vanish is a medical laser facility. As such, we maintain higher standards of care and have a medical director that oversees our patients' treatments.
What is the atmosphere of the facility?
Vanish offers a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere where you can be comfortable.
Before and Post-treatment PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Laser Tattoo Removal
Our Astanza Trinity laser targets the pigmentation, not the skin cells, leaving the skin intact and undamaged. Our laser is also specifically designed to only travel deep enough into the skin to target the ink and pigment, not the deeper skin cells that cause scarring.
There is some discomfort associated with the procedure. It depends on the body area receiving treatment and the color of the tattoo as to how much discomfort is felt. Many patients state that it feels about the same or less painful than having the tattoo put on originally. When asked after the first session, many patients respond with "it didn't hurt as much as I thought."
Check out laser tattoo removal in progress
Would you be more inclined to get laser tattoo removal treatments if the clinic offered a service like CareCredit to help you finance the cost of treatment?
Do Laser Treatments Hurt?
One of the first questions people ask when considering any form of laser treatment is "does it hurt." Unfortunately there's not a simple answer to that question. Pain is a relative term dependant on several factors.
1.Pain Tolerance: Not everyone experiences pain in the same way. Some of us have a higher threshold to pain than others.
2.Area of the body where the treatment is being performed: It's no surprise, some areas of the body are more sensitive than others. The top of the foot for example may hurt worse than the forearm.
3.The color of the tattoo or skin pigment that is being treated: Black typically has less pain associated with it, while reds and yellows are typically more painful.
So while it's hard to answer "does it hurt" with any certainty or clarity, we can say, there is some discomfort associated with laser treatments. Many patients describe the feeling as a snapping sensation. Imagine putting a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it. That's a pretty accurate description of the discomfort associated with the laser. Almost unanimously, however, patients tend to state "that didn't hurt as much as I thought it would."
On the plus side, even if you are more sensitive than others, we have a cryo machine which can be used to cool and slightly numb the area before we get started. Also we can work as fast or as slowly as you are comfortable with going. A typical session lasts 5-30 minutes with the average being 10-15 minutes, so even if there is some pain, it won't last long.
How to Care For Your Skin After a Laser Tattoo Removal Session
1. Keep the treated area clean, dry and covered for the first 3 days after treatment. Showering is acceptable no sooner than 2 hours after treatment, but don't soak the area and only pat dry.
2. Blistering is common with laser treatments. Be sure to keep the blister intact as long as possible. The body is healing itself naturally. When/if the blisters "pop" be sure to use an antibiotic ointment over the area for at least 24 hours.
3. Discomfort and inflammation are common. To alleviate discomfort, you may use a cool compress as necessary. Tylenol is also acceptable, but avoid aspirin as it can increase the risk of bruising/bleeding.
4. Do not pick at scabs or allow the skin to become scraped. This can result in infection and scarring. Avoid shaving the treated area until completely healed.
5. Exercise is generally safe after treatment.
6. Weare sunscreen with at least an SPF of 25 for 3 months following treatment. Treatment causes new skin to form that is extremely sensitive to the sun's rays.
7. Itching is common due to the dehydrating effect of the laser. Keep the area moisturized with Aquaphor, vitamin E ointment or hydrocortisone.
8. If the area looks infected, you experience an unusual discomfort/bleeding, any other complications arise, or you have any questions or concerns, contact the office immediately.
9. In case of extreme reaction call 911.
We want to know what you think.
Have you ever thought of trying laser tattoo removal to get rid of an unwanted tattoo?
Does Insurance Cover Laser Tatto Removal?
Because laser tattoo removal is generally an elective, cosmetic procedure, insurance companies do not typically cover the procedure. If however there is a medically necessary reason your tattoo must be removed, there is a chance your insurance may cover it. In such situations, it would be best to seek advice from a dermatologist, your insurance company may even require seeing a dermatologist for your procedure.
We, at Vanish, do strive to provide our services at reasonable prices. Laser tattoo removal sessions start at $125 each. Call our office to schedule your free consultation where one of our certified laser specialists can answer your questions about your specific situation.
Why do older tattoos appear faded and sometimes blurred?
I'm sure we've all seen older tattoos that seem to have faded or blurred over time. What causes this phenomenon? Is it preventable?
All tattoos are susceptible to fading and "migrating." One of the main reasons tattoos fade and spread over time is simply that tattoo ink is a suspended solid placed into the skin which is a living organ. Though the dermis, where the tattoo ink resides, does not change anywhere near as rapidly as the epidermis; it still changes.
When a tattoo is applied, the tattooing process creates an immune response to rid the body of the foreign substance. Some ink particles are removed through a lymphatic response, while others too large for the body to remove are surrounded by fibroblast cells and sealed in the dermal layer of the skin. Movement of the tattoo occurs over time as these fibroblast cells either divide or die and exit the body. Also, over time, tattoo ink settles deeper into the dermal layer resulting in a faded look. Fading and moving by these processes should take several years before a noticeable difference is seen. However, there are other factors involved.
Weight gain/loss is a huge factor. While healthy weight gain/loss may not going to cause any significant changes to your tattoo, significant weight gain/loss over a short amount of time will have a tremendous impact on your tattoo, especially if stretch marks become present. A stretch mark running through your tattoo is inevitably going to ruin the tattoo.
Pregnancy weight gain is almost always going to alter the appearance of a tattoo, usually permanently. Because the body changes so rapidly, the tattoo will stretch with the body, but often has difficulty returning to it's original state just as your body has difficulty returning to it's pre-pregnancy state. This is usually only an issue for tattoos in the middle of the body though as that is where the most significant body changes occur.
Muscle gain can also affect the appearance of a tattoo. Though as with the other types of weight gain, it is really only the significant gains over short amounts of time that cause noticeable effects on the tattoo.
Sun exposure also plays a huge role in altering the appearance of a tattoo. Even tanning can deteriorate the looks of your tattoo. Keeping skin moisturized and protected from sun damage will decrease the affects of the sun on your tattoo.
The smaller or more detailed the tattoo, the more noticeable these changes are going to be. Take that into consideration when selecting your tattoo.
If you already have a tattoo that is showing it's age, Vanish can help. We can remove of fade your tattoo further to free up the real estate and allow you to get a newer, brighter tattoo in place of the old faded, distorted tattoo you may currently be sporting. Cruise through our website for more information, and give us a call when your ready to get started.
Avoiding "Tattoo Regret"
When getting inked, there are some common mistakes you should avoid in order to illiminate the possibility of "tattoo regret" down the road. The crew of TLC's LA Ink, recently shared what they consider to be the top tattoo mistakes made when getting a tattoo. Avoid those mistakes, and you should have a tattoo you can love your entire life.
1. Too Small: Make sure the size of the tattoo fits the area of the body it is going on. You don't want a tiny little something on the wide open space of your back. Alternatively, you probably wouldn't want a very large something on your dainty little ankle.
2. Cheap Tattoos: As the saying goes "A good tattoo isn't cheap, and a cheap tattoo isn't good." Don't set out to find a bargain basement price for your tattoo. You almost always get what you pay for.
3. Ode to Love: Tattoos often outlast relationships, unfortunately. Names probably contribute to more tattoo regret than matching tattoos. At least with a matching tattoo you can showcase a part of your life history. With a name, the next significant other, is going to be constantly reminded of exactly who came before. That can be hard on both of you.
4. Being Impulsive: You're going to have that tattoo a very long time. You want to make sure you get something that represents who you are, not just how you feel right now. Moods change, tastes change, and so on. You want something that is going to be meaningful to you for years to come.
5. Being Drunk: Being drunk often leads to the other mistakes on this list. Unless your tattoo's already planned out, you've thought it through, you've planned it out, and you know exactly what you're getting, walking into the tattoo shop drunk is not advisable. It's probably still not a good idea, so make sure you take a sober friend along to make sure you don't end up making one of the other mistakes on the list.
Avoiding these mistakes can lead to a tattoo you thoroughly love for years to come. But if you've already got a tattoo you regret, there is help. Laser tattoo removal can remove the tattoo or fade it for an easier cover-up. Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.
To see the actual quotes from the LA Ink crew, visit http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/body-art/5-tattoo-mistakes.htm
Times Change, Life Happens. Now What?
Flip through an old family photo album and it's plain to see that what was fashionable yesterday has been tossed aside today. Even those of us guilty of big hair and parachute pants laugh when we see our old photos. What we once thought was cool, is verging on ridiculous now. Not only do we as individuals, but society as a whole changes. As I was surfing the web this morning I came across an article talking about "why be skinny" ads of the '60's and '70's. There were ads encouraging women and men to gain 10-25 pounds in order to be more appealing. Those same magazines and newspapers are still around today, but now they're touting a different message. We need to lose 10-25 pounds or more to be more appealing.
With changing ideas of beauty, fashion, and what is or is not appealing, it's no wonder that eventually nearly 50% of all people with tattoos end up regretting them on some level. Sure that band was all the rage when you got the tattoo, but where are they now? Are you comfortable with their logo on your arm now? I know there are bands, TV shows, fashion statements, and more that we whole heartedly love, but sometimes something happens and we are suddenly embarrassed to admit that we ever loved that band or whatever it was. I was so excited the night I went to my first concert, but a few short months later that band was shunned and the mere mention of their name caused uncontrollable laughter.
The point is that times change. Life happens. We grow up. We grow apart. Fashions evolve. So what do we do when our once loved tattoo no longer fits our life, our personality, our tastes, or what society deems appropriate? There are many options for removing an unwanted tattoo. The safest and most effective option is laser tattoo removal. The laser is designed to target and breakup the pigment in the tattoo ink allowing your body's immune system to absorb and remove the unwanted color. Through a series of treatments, the ink is broken down layer by layer. Because the laser targets just the pigment in the skin, surrounding tissues and skin cells are left undamaged, and scarring is extremely rare. Just be sure you've done your research because there are many lasers out there and not all are safe for tattoo removal. There are some side effects of laser treatment, but when aftercare procedures are followed, risks are minimal. Remember that tattoo was meant to be permanent. It won't go away overnight, but following through with recommended treatments will yeild the results you desire.
Call our office today to schedule your free consultation or to get started right away.
How soon after getting a tattoo can the laser tattoo removal process begin?
While no one ever plans on getting a tattoo just to get it removed, occasionally the owner of the new tattoo just doesn't like it. Perhaps the tattoo didn't turn out as planed. Maybe there was a mistake made in spelling, color, or positioning. Whatever the reason, occasionally someone wants a tattoo removed almost as soon as it is finished. So how long must this person wait before laser treatments can start to remove the tattoo?
Once the tattoo is completely healed, laser tattoo removal treatments can begin. There is an advantage to getting started with the removal process quickly. Because the ink has had little time to settle into the deeper layer of skin, the total number of sessions needed to remove the ink can usually be decreased by 1 or 2 sessions. There is a very short window in which this advantage is available. A tattoo that is several months to a year old is still very new, but the ink has had time to settle deeper. Also as it is quite new, the ink has had little time to degrade.
Laser sunspot removal treatment at Vanish
First Treatment on a Blue and Red Feather Tattoo
Treating the Black Outline of This Purple and Yellow Tattoo
This is a 40+ year old professional tattoo cover-up 2 days after the first treatment.
1 Month After 1st Treatment, Just Before 2nd Treatment
1 Month After 2nd Treatment, Immediately Before Treatment 3
So far the most recent photo of this tattoo. Immediately before treatment 4
1 Month After Treatment 4, Immediately Before Treatment 5
About 1 month after treatment 5, immediately before treatment 6
Laser tattoo removal of blue and black tattoo
Why are blue and green tattoos so hard to remove via laser tattoo removal?
The reality is that blue and green inks are not all that difficult to remove if the right laser is available. Blue and green inks do not readily respond to the wavelengths available at the majority of laser tattoo removal facilities. Most laser tattoo removal facilities have a 1064nm wavelength laser available. This wavelength is perfect for blacks, dark browns, and dark purples. Because lighter colors do not respond well to this wavelength, many facilities also have a 532nm wavelength laser. This laser is terrific for reds, yellows, and oranges. It can also be used as a secondary treatment to help increase the immune system response and the flushing of the ink for tattoos that have proven to be "stubborn after a few treatments. Blues and greens can respond some to either of these wavelengths, but to achieve full removal, another laser will be necessary.
A ruby laser, 694nm, is excellent for removing blue and green ink. It is a visible light in the red spectrum. Red is the color opposite of green making it ideal for green inks. Blues also respond extremely well to the ruby laser as the color opposite for blue is a reddish orange. With the ruby laser it is possible for blues and greens to fade as well or better than black inks.
This is an example of a black and blue tattoo before, 1 month after 1 treatment, and 1 month after a second treatment. The black ink was treated with the 1064nm wavelength laser while the blue was treated with the ruby laser. Both colors are responding very well to treatment. The fuzziness you see in the second and more so in the third picture indicates that ink has been broken into small enough particles that it is free to move beneath the skin. The immune system will attack and remove this ink as well.
The Latest and Greatest in Laser Tattoo Removal
There’s been a lot of hype lately with regards to the newest FDA approved tattoo removal laser, Picosure. Its’ been seen on news publications across the country; states are happy to announce its arrival to one of their cities; and a quick Google search for “laser tattoo removal” will likely result in numerous listings devoted to the Picosure laser. So what’s all the fuss? Is it in fact the biggest breakthrough in laser tattoo removal in decades? Perhaps in some regards, but not to the extent the media hype would lead you to believe.
The biggest difference between the Picosure laser and the more widely used Q-switched lasers like our Astanza Trinity is the pulse-width (the amount of time the laser’s energy is applied with each pulse). A Q-switched laser has a pulse-width of 1 nanosecond. As its name would suggest, the Picosure has a pulse-width of 1 picosecond, one thousand times smaller than a nanosecond.
What does a shortened pulse-width mean for laser tattoo removal? In theory, a shorter pulse-width would mean less pain during treatment and less temporary tissue damage therefore a shorter healing time. After performing a Google search for “Picosure reviews” we found www.realself.com/picosure. There are some very detailed accounts including pictures chronicling patients’ journey through picosure treatments. Most of the pictures and descriptions of the healing process as well as many testimonials of the discomfort felt during treatment seem very closely related to what can be expected with treatment from our Astanza Trinity Laser.
Picosure’s creators’ accounts of how effective their laser is at removing tattoos, leads many to believe that it can remove a tattoo in as few as one treatment and if not just one, certainly far less than a Q-switched laser. Further review of patients’ accounts of their treatments showed that multiple treatments were needed in many cases and unless the tattoo is full of blue, green, or purple inks, the Picosure is not the only laser used to treat the tattoo. Reds and yellows are especially resistant to the Picosure. This is because the Picosure laser only has one wavelength, 755nm (Alexandrite). Sadly not all colors will respond to the same wavelength. Black responds to most wavelengths so the Picosure does a pretty good job of fading black inks, but it is most effective against blues, greens, and purples. We'll be upfront here: according to pictures posted by actual patients, blues, greens, and purples seem to respond to the Picosure better than our Q-switched 694nm (Ruby) wavelength as far as speed of color loss. If a patient has reds, yellows, and oranges in their tattoo the Picosure is not the right laser for them though. Another laser will need to be used to effectively fade those colors, and what will the proponents of the Picosure use instead? Yep, you guessed it, they’ll be forced to go right back to a Q-switched laser like the Astanza Trinity we use here at Vanish because for reds, yellows, and oranges you need a 532nm wavelength.
Here's the clincher: with the cost of Picosure laser treatments nearly double the price of Q-switched laser treatments, is it really worth it to go with the Picosure? That is totally up to the consumer, however if given a choice, I'd lean towards going somewhere that could use one laser to deal with ALL the colors that need to come out. That just makes more sense. Upon looking at the long track record of efficacy and documented safety and results from the Q-switched Astanza laser, well...why re-invent the wheel? Go with what has been proven to work.
Why is it necessary to wait so long between laser tattoo removal treatments?
When the decision is made to remove a tattoo, we know you want it gone as soon as possible. Yesterday would be GREAT! Sadly, tattoo removal is a process. On average it takes between 5 and 10 treatments to completely remove a tattoo. Some homemade tattoos can take fewer treatments, while some dense, professional tattoos may take more. Laser treatments are spaced about 4-8 weeks apart in the beginning. Toward the end of the removal process, treatments may be spread further apart.
Why is that much time between treatments necessary? First and foremost, the body needs time to heal between treatments. When you first got the tattoo, it took a few weeks or more for the skin to heal. It will take about the same amount of time for the skin to heal after laser treatment. Also note that the skin often appears healed on the surface, but could still be healing underneath. For that reason, it is best to wait a full four weeks or more between treatments as treating too soon could cause the laser treatments to be more uncomfortable. Also treating over unhealed skin, could increase the potential for scaring.
Second, your immune system needs time to flush out the ink that is shattered during laser treatments. Remember it is your immune system that actually does the removal, but it needs the laser to break up the ink into manageable sized particles. The immune system is also responsible for healing the skin. When the immune system is working on multiple tasks at one time, it tends to work more slowly on “less critical” jobs, in this case that would be removing shattered ink. Allowing more time after the skin appears healed, allows for the immune system to focus more attention to removing the shattered ink. More time between treatments could allow you to see more fading from one treatment to the next.
At Vanish, we understand you want your tattoo gone as quickly as possible. Please keep in mind that when more time is recommended, it is to ensure you see the best results possible. Of course, no one wants your tattoo gone sooner than you, but Vanish staff is a very close second. If your tattoo fades and vanishes with fewer treatments than initially expected, we know you’re going to be so pleased you can’t help but share your experience with others and that’s not only a win for you, but also for us. Who doesn’t love a “win-win”?
As always, if you have any questions or concern about your treatment or the way your tattoo is responding, don’t hesitate to ask. Vanish staff is always ready to answer your questions and make sure you fully understand the laser tattoo removal process.
Vanish Laser Tattoo Removal and Skin Aesthetics
Visit www.vanishdfw.com for more information on our specific laser and how it works.