Tattooing: How it Works
To understand how tattoo removal works, you must also understand what happens when you get a tattoo. Once tattoo ink is logged into the middle layer of your skin, your body’s immune system sends white blood cells to the tattooed area to pull out as many ink particles as possible. Larger particles that the cells could not break down are left behind leaving the tattoo design. Over time, those cells break the larger particles down which causes natural fading.
How Laser Tattoo Removal Works
Tattoo removal works by breaking apart those larger ink particles layer by layer. Your body’s white blood cells can then carry away the smaller broken-down particles quicker. With time and continued sessions, a tattoo can be completely removed.
A typical tattoo takes about 10 – 12 treatments, spaced 6 – 8 weeks apart, to remove.
Living an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking or vaping, and allowing direct sun exposure to the treated area can reduce your body’s ability to remove the ink.
Chronic health conditions and being sick are your immune system’s priority to fix. This can reduce the speed at which the ink is removed from your skin.
As you age, your metabolism and immune system slow down. Younger or more active immune systems will remove ink faster.
Tattoos in high blood flow areas can be removed faster than those located further from the circulatory system.
The color of your ink and skin tone will play a factor in the removal outcome. At Skinlogics, our laser removes dark colored tattoo’s only.
Your skin tone can impact the laser removal outcome and may determine the laser settings your technician uses.
Minor side effects are extremely common post tattoo removal. If you see any of the following side effects, don’t be alarmed:
- Scabbing. This is a common part of the body’s healing process after laser tattoo removal.
- Blistering. It’s common to see blisters forming after 8 hours. They generally go away within 4 to 6 days with good tattoo removal aftercare.
- Light inflammation. Mild swelling may occur at the removal site, but it should go away within a few days.
If you experience more severe symptoms, like serious pain, call and speak with our Medical Staff at Skinlogics.
- Never pick scabs or blisters- Don’t pick at any scabs, which could cause scarring. Again, it’s normal to see scabs and blisters after laser tattoo removal. They’re a natural part of the body’s healing process. While they don’t always occur, they’re quite common after laser removal. Improperly popping or picking at blisters or scabs can damage the skin, leading to scarring rather than allowing your body to continue healing itself.
- Avoid vigorous exercise for the first 24 hours- For the first day or so after laser tattoo removal, aftercare involves giving your body a break. Avoid any strenuous exercise. Exercise increases blood flow, which can also exacerbate blistering and swelling in the affected area. Plus, it's simply too easy to jostle or bump the sensitive area that has undergone laser removal.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun- Sun exposure can further damage the skin that's working to heal itself from your tattoo removal session. In some cases, this can even cause hypopigmentation or discolored skin. Here are a few ways to prevent your skin from UV Rays:
- Give your skin a break from the sun's rays by staying out of the sun. (The last thing you want to deal with is a sunburn on the fragile skin that has undergone laser removal!)
- If you do plan to spend time outdoors, cover the skin with clothing or a bandage to protect it. Choose clothing that isn't too tight, so it doesn't cause discomfort or irritation.
- Use a 20% zinc oxide sunblock - the kind lifeguards use - on the area after any blisters or scabs have healed.
- Don’t Smoke or drink alcohol- Avoid alcohol and smoking during the tattoo removal aftercare process to keep your body in optimal health. Alcohol can inhibit your liver and kidneys' ability to flush out the ink particles from your body. It can also cause dehydration, which slows the healing process. Meanwhile, because smoking deoxygenates the body, it slows the blood flow near your skin's surface. Avoid smoking and alcohol will help keep your immune system and circulation strong.
- NO artificial tanners- No artificial tanners of any kind within 2 weeks pre or post-treatment.
- Keep the tattoo removal area clean and dry for the first three days.
- After tattoo removal, using an ointment like hydrocortisone cream will help to reduce inflammation. Vitamin E Oil can also heal damaged skin cells. You can find these post tattoo removal ointments right at your local supermarket or drugstore. These ointments can also make your skin less itchy, meaning you’ll be less tempted to scratch the affected area, which is a definite no!
- If any blisters develop that are larger than a dime, use a sterilized lancet to poke a small hole at the base of the blister to let it drain. Use an over-the-counter antibacterial ointment or cream to keep the area moisturized and speed healing. As the area is now considered an open wound.
How to Speed Up the Tattoo Removal Healing Process
Maintain a Healthy Immune System
Here are some tips for strengthening your immune system, benefiting your healing and overall health.
- Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water will improve your circulation, bringing lots of those white blood cells to the affected area. This will ramp up both ink removal and skin repair, helping your skin heal as efficiently as possible!
- Eat Clean
Eat healthy foods that give your body lots of nutrition. This will give your body the fuel to regenerate healthy skin cells. Eat lots of vegetables and choose lean proteins to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to regenerate.
- Make sure you’re eating regular meals, too. (Don’t skip breakfast!)
Though you need to avoid intense exercise for the first day or so, regular exercise is essential for a healthy immune system. Thus, it’s an essential element of tattoo removal aftercare. Exercise strengthens each of the body’s systems, which can then work together more effectively. When each system is healthy, none of them is demanding too much help from the immune system, which could take away valuable resources from the healing skin.