If you’re considering laser tattoo removal, you’re probably wondering what it will feel like. Is it painful? Is it similar to getting a tattoo? And will it cause discoloration of the skin itself?
Carmen Brodie, our founder, and VP of clinical operations shares what tattoo removal feels like. She knows from firsthand experience how laser tattoo removal feels! She also explains how to avoid hypopigmentation or skin discoloration after laser removal.
“It’s not great, but it’s not terrible,” says Carmen. “I would say it’s rubber band snaps—lots of them, really quickly, for 2 to 5 minutes.” If you’ve ever had laser hair removal done, you have a good idea of what laser tattoo removal feels like. Carmen feels that if you can get a tattoo, you can definitely handle laser removal, which lasts only a few minutes per session. Then, you wait for 6-8 weeks before your next session and follow simple aftercare guidelines.
“Hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin, or hypopigmentation, which is the loss of melanin in certain parts of the skin, can happen as a result of tattoo removal,” explains Carmen. In the rare case when loss of melanin occurs, it causes lightening of the skin in the area that has undergone treatment. However, this issue is usually completely avoidable. “It’s not the tattoo removal itself; it’s more so how somebody takes care of it afterward,” Carmen asserts.
“If you have a laser session, and you go directly into the sun, the likelihood of hypopigmentation is much higher,” she continues. “Following aftercare—making sure that you’re not in the sun after treatment—is a really good idea and a good way to avoid issues.” Aftercare guidelines are very simple, and a good technician will make sure you understand them thoroughly.
What happens if you accidentally expose the area to the sun and start to notice discoloration? “If somebody is starting to get a little bit of hypopigmentation, at first it’s transient, meaning that it’s not a permanent issue,” Carmen says. If a client notices faint hypopigmentation, they should immediately course-correct. If they follow the technician’s recommendations, keeping the area out of the sun for a while, the melanin will usually return.
Giving the melanin time to come back in such cases is key. The client should talk to the technician about how long to wait before the next laser removal session. Through good communication, they can ensure they don’t cause further discoloration by scheduling the next treatment too soon. Then, tattoo removal can proceed with no issues, Carmen explains.
“If somebody pushes, and they still want to have removal, that’s when you get into the permanent hypopigmentation, which is not anything that anybody likes,” she emphasizes. It’s always best to give your skin time to regenerate melanin in the treated area and listen to your removal technician when your skin is ready to be lasered again.
Choosing a laser removal facility wisely will also help prevent this issue. “A lot of times, we’ll see it also coming from businesses who don’t specialize in this treatment,” she says. “They’ll just go in there as strong as they can—they blow all the melanin away, and there’s no way to repair that.” Avoid going to a facility that offers a broad spectrum of treatments rather than focusing strictly on laser tattoo removal. That way, you’ll have a technician who truly knows how to retain the integrity of your skin.
In all, avoiding sun exposure, listening to your laser tech’s instructions, and taking your time with the process will produce the best results. There’s no need to experience any skin discoloration when in the hands of a capable professional! And most people can easily handle the sensation of laser removal, especially since it only lasts a couple of minutes. Interested in starting the removal process? Book a free consultation with Removery today to discuss your removal options with the leading tattoo removal experts. Curious about tattoo removal on darker skin types or what a laser actually does? Check out 101.3 and 101.2 in the laser tattoo removal 101 series with Carmen Brodie, Removery’s V.P. of Clinical Operations to learn more.
We’re on a mission to give you the most straightforward, easy and efficient laser tattoo removal experience. Your estimate will be entirely bespoke to your tattoo; the size, the colours, the ink. It won’t take long and afterwards you’ll have a plan to finally get rid of your unwanted tattoo and get back to being you.
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