RealSelf Top Doctor
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Tattoo Removal New Orleans

How can tattoos be removed?

Tattoos are and have been significantly growing in popularity. There are an estimated 20-30 million tattooed individuals in the world. Approximately 50% of those who get tattoos regret all or part of their tattoos and want to have them removed completely, or faded enough to allow for re-tattooing of a new design over the old tattoo.

In the last decade, tattoo removal has been revolutionised by lasers. Lasers emit wavelengths of light that are much more highly attracted to the tattoo ink in skin than the surrounding (normal) skin. This high affinity towards tattoo inks means that they are able to remove or fade tattoos with minimal effect on the surrounding skin.

What type of tattoos can be treated?

Virtually all tattoos can be treated. Both amateur and professional tattoos are treatable; however, professional tattoos require more treatments to achieve similar results. All colours can be treated, however some may be more difficult and require more treatments and have a lower chance of complete removal. White, yellow, and skin coloured tattoos tend to be difficult to completely remove.

Traumatic tattoos, or those caused by dirt or debris being embedded in the skin, e.g after motorbike accidents, can also be removed in the same manner as conventional tattoos.

Can tattoo removal be performed on any skin type?

Tattoos can be removed from all skin types, but the darker the skin, the less contrast there is between the colour of the skin and the tattoo, making it more difficult to remove without affecting the normal skin.

How many treatments will I need?

Generally several treatments are required for tattoo removal. There are a lot of elements that will determine how many treatments you need. Multi-coloured and professional tattoos tend to be harder to remove than single coloured or amateur tattoos and therefore require more treatments. For complete removal, professional tattoos usually require approximately 4-8 sessions depending on the colour and amateur tattoos approximately 4. This can be very variable- some people require more, some people less. To fade a tattoo (e.g for tattooing over with a new design), only a couple of sessions are required.

Will the tattoo be completely gone?

100% removal of the tattoo pigment is not always possible but is achievable in most cases.
Patience is required and it can be a timely exercise to completely remove a tattoo.

What will my skin look like after treatment?

The tattoo may appear slightly raised and frosted (white) in appearance immediately after the laser treatment. This is the skin’s protective mechanism- we create enough of a response in the ink particles that the skin tries to shield itself from further destruction. There may be surrounding skin redness, and there may be some pinpoint bleeding. An antibiotic cream will be applied after the treatment. Do not pick at any scabs formed by the treatment and keep the treated area out of direct sunlight or apply sunscreen if exposure cannot be avoided.

It usually takes 1 to 3 weeks to completely heal and the treated skin may appear like a wound/scab during this time. We advise that you keep the area protected and apply ointment regularly to keep it moist until the scabs fall off.

Some patients may experience itching in the treatment area in the weeks after laser tattoo removal, if this becomes unbearable a mild over the counter hydrocortisone can be applied between treatment sessions.

What’s next?

The first step is to make an appointment for your laser tattoo removal consultation, where we will discuss what is a realistic and achievable outcome and what to expect from your laser treatment.

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