The Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery has more than 17 years of experience in the laser removal of tattoos.* Our center takes pride in offering both Q-switched Nd-YAG and Alexandrite lasers to greatly increase our success in the treatment of complex multi-colored tattoos. With the recent acquisition of the PicoSure laser, the best in class laser for tattoo removal, The Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery has cemented its position as one of the premier laser tattoo removal centers in Northern California.
Treatments for Tattoo Removal
Previous methods of tattoo removal had significant disadvantages including incomplete pigment removal, non-selective tissue destruction, and unsatisfactory cosmetic results such as atrophic or hypertrophic scars. A short pulse of intense light emitted by the laser selectively targets the tattoo pigment in the dermal skin layer with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.* This laser energy causes the tattoo ink to fragment into small pigment particles that are removed by your body’s immune system and through the elimination of the particles from the surface of the skin.* Dark tattoos may have larger ink masses and may require several treatments to break the ink into small enough particles for disposal by the body. Tattoos gradually fade.* However, since the laser cannot regulate the speed of the fading process, it is better to treat more conservatively than aggressively, allowing the surrounding tissues to relax during the weeks to months between treatments.
Considerations for Laser Tattoo Removal
The laser provides the best results available for the removal of tattoos. How well your tattoo responds depends on a number of factors. Amateur tattoos usually contain less ink than professional tattoos, and therefore respond more quickly to the treatment.* Green and complex multi-colored tattoo inks are often more difficult to remove than the darker inks such as black, blue and red.* Your skin’s natural pigment, melanin, also absorbs the laser energy, so in darker skinned people the area treated by the laser may become lighter for a period of months than the surrounding skin. Usually, melanin eventually repopulates the treated area restoring the skin to its original color.*
A few days prior to treatment, it is best to avoid taking blood-thinning medications like aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen as these can produce pronounced bruising after treatment.
The unfortunate thing about tattoos is that both getting them and removing them can be uncomfortable. The laser pulse feels like a rubber band snapping against your skin, and each pulse treats an area approximately the size of a pencil eraser. If your tattoo is very large, you may elect to have a topical anesthetic, but this is not necessary.
Immediately after laser exposure, the treated area turns white and swells slightly. Blistering may occur occasionally. This whiteness usually fades in 20 minutes. A petrolatum or antibacterial ointment and dressing will be applied to the area, which should be kept clean as directed with continued application of ointment. We recommend Vaseline or Aquaphor.* Over the next several days, blisters may form and then a scab or thin crust may follow. Often the scab is the same color as the tattoo because the superficial tattoo ink has been eliminated into the crust. The skin usually returns to normal in about 7-10 days.*
Number of Treatments for Tattoo Removal
The number of treatments will depend on the size of your tattoo as well as its location, depth, and color. Amateur tattoos usually require 3-5 treatments, while professional tattoos usually require six or more treatment sessions.* Treatments should be spaced a month to six weeks apart to allow your body’s natural immune system to remove the maximum amount of ink particles in between sessions. You will continue to see fading of the tattoo in between treatment sessions as your body removes more ink.
The cost to remove a tattoo also depends on the size, location, depth, and color of the tattoo. The range for this procedure starts at about $150 per treatment and goes up depending on the additional factors.
Please call our office for a free consultation (916) 454-5922 or contact us through the form on the left of this page.