Risks of Laser Tattoo Removal

When the time for you to part with an unwanted tattoo has come, most people prefer to opt for laser removal. This method is one of the most commonly used and is typically known to give results, but behind the success lies some scary facts about risks and side effects. Read on to know more about why getting a laser tattoo removal may be a bad idea.

How laser tattoo removal works

To know what causes the side effects, it is important to understand how the procedure works. The high-intensity beam of laser breaks down the pigment color, which then gets absorbed into the urine or bloodstream. You can get a tattoo in a single session, but it takes a couple of sessions to remove an inked design that you do not like or are bored of. The tattoo fades over subsequent sessions, the number of which is decided by your skin color, the age and size of the tattoo, the pigments used, and so on.

Risks associated with laser tattoo removal

Removing tattoos using lasers is safer than other methods like dermabrasion or excisions. However, it comes with its fair share of risks as follows.

  • It is not pain or reaction-free

Laser tattoo removal is painful and the degree typically varies from person to person and the area on which the tattoo is located. Also, just because you have had a smooth healing process after a tattoo does not guarantee that you will have a reaction-free experience after the removal. Alternately, people who want to remove a tattoo because they’ve had an allergic reaction to it, actually run a bigger risk with laser tattoo removal, as the process can cause a systemic reaction everywhere.

  • Not all colors are removed equally

The effectiveness with which your tattoo is removed by laser beams actually depends on the colors used in the ink. Blue and black respond well to the beams and fade quickly, but others may get removed more gradually or may leave behind traces. For example, green is a tad more difficult but colors like white, yellow, and violet are near impossible to remove.

  • Your run the risk of infections

During laser treatments, the skin turns a frosty white color due to the release of carbon dioxide as laser penetrates the skin. This subsides in twenty to thirty minutes. What follows is scabbing, which appears for about 8 to 72 hours after the tattoo has been removed. It is also common for blisters containing water and ink to appear on the skin. They take about 3 to 14 days to heal completely, provided they have not been disturbed. Picking at, itching, or peeling the scabs or blisters can give rise to infections at the site from which the tattoo has been removed. Such infections warrant the immediate attention of the best tattoo removal technician or a doctor to prevent complications.

  • Your skin can get scarred

Scarring is a side effect that is associated with laser tattoo removal. Scars do not develop from laser removal per se, but from inadequate or poor before and aftercare. Having your tattoo removed by an amateur or inexperienced technician can increase the risk of scarring. So can using outdated equipment. Scraping, popping, or itching the removal site can also cause the skin to become scarred. Sun exposure and inadequate healing time between sessions too result in permanent marks developing on the skin.

  • Your skin may turn hyper pigmented or hypo pigmented

Laser tattoo removal uses beams of different wavelengths to remove the tattoo ink from your skin. The process also removes or alters your skin’s natural pigmentation, which in turn causes the area to get discolored. Hyperpigmentation is when the skin turns darker and hypopigmentation is the opposite, where the skin turns lighter. Both forms of pigmentation take months or years to resolve and in some cases, may be permanent. This can be visually awkward and you may need to undergo further treatments or medication to even out the skin tone. Other risks associated with laser tattoo removal is that they turn cosmetic tattoos like those on the lips, eyes, and eyebrows darker. Such removal procedures need additional sessions to fade out.

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