There are few things more permanent than getting a tattoo. A bad haircut can grow out, piercings are inconspicuous without the attached jewelry, and contact lens colors can be changed on a whim. But tattoos, no matter how hidden their position on the body, are another story. Tattoos stay with you. A constant reminder of a specific era in your life. A souvenir of a decision made either hastily one drunken night or backed by months of research and prep. Whatever the circumstances surrounding your decision to get inked, there will be people who will, later on, decide that forever isn’t in the cards for them and their ‘tatts’.
Thankfully, with the advent of laser removal procedures, the permanence associated with tattoos is now on the decline.
Why people decide to have tattoos removed
There are a number of reasons to consider getting a tattoo removed. You might need to have it removed due to a change of lifestyle, a new career, or simply a change of heart. People who have had the names of their spouses or girlfriends and boyfriends tattooed onto their bodies later on decide to have cover-up tattoos placed above the old one once the relationship ends. Some of you may remember Johnny Depp and his old Winona tattoo!
Other reasons why people may want to get their ink removed can be found here. Sometimes though, a tattoo that is too dark to cover up with another tattoo first needs to undergo laser treatment to lighten it up, thus making it possible for a newer ‘cover’ to take its place.
Before you jump into the waters of tattoo erasure, first ask yourself why you are having this tattoo taken out. Do you need the whole piece to go or just parts of it? Are you ready for several sessions over a span of a couple of weeks and for the healing and minor skin irritation in between? Do you have existing skin allergies? What kind of tattoo removal procedure is best for you? Arm yourself with all the questions you have before going in for a consultation.
Available treatment and common concerns
The treatment process has evolved throughout the past few decades and today, laser removal is the preferred choice for many.
According to Web.MD , “… laser treatment is often safer than many other tattoo removal methods, such as excision, dermabrasion, or salabrasion because laser treatment selectively treats the pigment in the tattoo. And there are very few side effects.” Knowing this, understand that getting a laser removal treatment will cost a bit. The price depends on the size and number of sessions so getting a proper consultation is key when planning for this expense.
A common concern on the minds of most people is whether the tattoo really disappears to the extent that nobody will know that there used to be one on that part of the body. The follow-up question to that tends to be “Will the laser work on all kinds of skin?”, given that tattoos range from professional deep-ink colors to ones that are lighter and not embedded too deep in the epidermis.
Tattoo removal is a process. It depends on the size of your tattoo and how you respond to the treatment. The good news is that technology has come so far as to minimize the process and sessions into manageable chunks. It has also evolved to treat all forms of tattoo shades on all skin types.
The Picoway Laser
The Aesthetics center uses the Picoway Laser, a procedure introduced a few years ago which has been garnering good reviews. Because of the three separate wavelengths it operates on, the Picoway laser is “… appropriate for Asian skin, with its high epidermal melanin content, making it less likely to develop adverse pigmentary reactions after a laser treatment”. This is great news for those worried that the treatment may not be applicable to all skin types.
By using a titanium sapphire laser, Picoway can remove a wide range of tattoo colors and address skin pigmentation. This new system works with three wavelengths that determine the depth of penetration of the laser on the dermis, the pigment color that the laser can treat, and the skin type that the laser can work on. In other words, more efficient and an appropriate fit for all shades of skin color. The added bonus to this new system is that the ultrashort picosecond pulses which the laser emits lead to shorter to no downtime.
Plan with a professional
If you decide that you need that old ink gone, the only way to make sure it is done properly is to go to trained dermatologists who know what to look out for and can recommend a personalized plan suited to your needs. Make sure to let your dermatologist know of any existing skin allergies and past treatments you have had done on your skin. There are very rare cases where the need for tattoo removal is because the person did not react well to the ink – an allergy to ink takes out laser treatment as an option, and cases such as this are usually treated via surgical removal where the tattoo is taken out with a scalpel.
Laser removals are done by licenced dermatologists who are trained and know exactly what to look out for when meeting patients and thus will be able to talk you through all the motions.
What to expect when getting tattoos removed via laser
If you are curious about what else to expect when getting a tattoo removed using lasers, check out Six things to know when considering laser tattoo removal. Through here you will learn what one should really expect when going for a session of laser tattoo removal. It tells you, in the most straightforward way, to expect to be shot by lasers – more than once. You get a better sense of how and why your body reacts the way it does and how the ink particles are broken apart by the lasers, leading to the body’s own white blood cells to clean up the broken particles, taking the ink with it in the process.
The article also gives practical information such as the price range for a session from a reputable clinic (the range is around 270SGD to 680SGD per session) while warning you why it’s best to stay away from a clinic that promises painless removal and rock-bottom prices. The cost, of course shouldn’t affect service but there are quite a few factors involved in the art of laser tattoo removal.
Read a more comprehensive breakdown of the costs associated with proper clinical removal in this insightful article which lists everything from equipment used to the training needed for dermatologists to properly check patients, look out for complications, and know who cannot be treated under this method. By the end, you’ll understand how picking the right clinic can mean the difference between a successful number of sessions and burnt or scarred skin. You already regret that piece of ink on your body, it’ll be a shame if you regret the removal process as well!
For a personal consultation, book an appointment with the Aesthetic Center at +65 6820 3308 or +65 6820 3309.