Laser tattoo removal has been successfully done since the mid-1980s, but it wasn’t until approximately 10 years ago that the demand skyrocketed, in part to advancements within the industry. Since tattoo removal started there have been limitations, exceptions, and false claims by both manufactures and individuals; in the end these could lead to tattoo removal gone wrong.
As a culture we now do research but if that research is just crafty marketing and not facts and information, we can be led down the wrong path. Over the next several paragraphs we’ll explore what causes tattoo removal to go wrong and help everyone seeking fading or removal to make the most informed, well-educated choices to get the best results and avoid unsuccessful tattoo removal, such as damaged skin or wasting money without results.
Common Reasons That Cause Tattoo Removal Gone Wrong
Tattoo removal is a journey, not a sprint. Every tattoo on every person will respond slightly differently. This is because inks vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, application techniques are unique to each artist and aftercare for fresh tattoos isn’t always covered properly, sometimes it’s even ignored by the client.
At each of these moments there’s an opportunity for laser tattoo removal to go wrong. When proper procedures and protocols are not followed there’s a possibility for things to go badly, in some cases resulting in skin discoloration, textural change or even scarring.
1. Cheap Laser
Laser manufacturing and production is extremely expensive, in many cases the process from concept to production unit ready to sell can take 10 or even 20 years. The checks and balances in the process to create, test and approve these medical devices are closely overseen by the FDA in North America, CE in Europe and TGA in Australia.
These independent organizations help ensure the safety, efficacy and efficiency of the lasers used for tattoo removal.
Sadly, there are less honest manufacturers who sell their machines without any oversight or secondary, independent checks on safety or efficacy.
Being treated by these inferior, subpar, and unregulated lasers can result at best in very little to any fading and a waste of money. At worst, they will leave scars, textural change to the skin and discoloration known as hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin’s color) or hypopigmentation (loss of color in the skin).
2. Inexperienced Technician
Being a laser technician requires specific training and understanding not just the protocols used to perform a treatment, but why they are used. An inexperienced technician who doesn’t properly understand lasers, safety protocols and proper parameters has the potential to under-treat your tattoo, meaning little or no fading and a waste of money. On the other end of the spectrum, they could cause burning, blistering, textural changes, or leave the area with laser tattoo removal scars. None of these are normal results from properly done tattoo removal treatments.
3. Previous DIY Attempt
Earlier in the article we covered doing research and sometimes that research comes from YouTube or message boards who advocate against seeking professionals with proper training and approved medical devices to do laser tattoo removal. Instead, they make promises for at-home and DIY (do it yourself) tattoo removal treatments that will both save money and achieve results.
Sadly, none of these DIY attempts work. Salabrasion is one that comes up often in searches and the result can be something like a rug burn or worse, look like road rash and is extremely visible, even at a distance.
Creating even more of a problem, DIY tattoo removal methods like tattoo removal cream often ruin otherwise great skin and slow down or prevent full removal with a properly trained technician using lasers.
Tattoo removal has gone wrong when scarring has occurred, from any of the previously mentioned issues.
When scarring occurs, it can reduce the efficacy of the laser to break down the pigment particles that make up tattoos. Scarring can encapsulate these pigment particles rendering a well-trained laser tech with a great laser from otherwise achieving great results. This can lead to some pigment remaining in the skin and an undesirable result.
It’s not uncommon for a tattoo to look like a smudge or bruise, and any preexisting scarring will still be prevalent.
How to Ensure a Tattoo Removal Success
When the decision has been made to start laser tattoo removal, that’s the moment when one can help influence the success. Through a series of choices, the outcome will be affected. These choices include:
- Avoiding DIY and at-home tattoo removal attempts
- Following proper aftercare from the tattoo artist
- Having treatments done by qualified laser technicians
- Being treated with approved medical devices, lasers made just for tattoo removal
There are a lot of other factors and options, let’s go over them.
1. Choose the Right Tattoo Removal Business
A Google search may give several options for businesses near you, choosing the right one will help ensure that your tattoo removal doesn’t go wrong.
Choosing the right tattoo removal business means finding qualified, trained, and experienced laser technicians utilizing approved medical devices (lasers) and having a track record in removing tattoos.
Removery exemplifies these standards so new clients never need to worry or question. Our technicians have extensive training on some of the best equipment in the industry, with the only clinical advisory board (CAB) of any laser tattoo removal company in the world.
2. Be Patient
One of the more difficult things to comprehend about tattoo removal is the time it takes. Unlike getting a tattoo where there is instant gratification within a few hours of sitting in an artist’s chair, removal can take a year and a half or more. Being patient is crucial to mentally being in the best place for tattoo removal. Instant results don’t happen, but the good news is most clients will see some minimal fading a day or two after the first treatment and the tattoo will continue to fade for several more weeks.
3. Follow the Aftercare Instructions
It’s important to note, there are two sets of aftercare instructions. The first is what your tattoo artist provides following the tattoo being completed. Even if you hate the tattoo immediately or the next day, treat it like you want to keep it forever and follow everything the artist has provided, to a T.
Next is the tattoo removal aftercare. It’s crucial that these steps are followed to avoid tattoo removal going wrong. Even if the area looks totally fine, it’s important to continue following the instructions post treatment fully.
4. Consider Skin Conditions
During the tattoo removal consultation process, it’s important to be transparent about any skin conditions as this may slow down the fading. Conditions such as keloid, eczema and psoriasis should all be discussed during the consultation. Don’t forget to inform the consultant of any allergies, like latex, adhesive bandages, or anything else related to your skin.
5. Consider the Tattoo
Tattoo removal takes many factors into success, the following five points are just about tattoos!
The Fitzpatrick Skin Type is a medical way to talk about skin color by assigning a numerical value from I to VI. The lower the number, the less melanin in the skin and the fairer someone is, higher numbers indicate more melanin found in individuals with darker skin tones.
Those with higher Fitzpatrick Skin Type numbers will require specific protocols to be used to maintain the integrity of their skin, this is where having a properly trained technician like those found at Removery is key to success.
The brand of ink that is used is also a variable, so is the color. Black inks are typically very responsive to treatments whereas warm peach tones and light pinks can require specific attention.
The depth of the tattoo, how saturated it is, or in other words, how much ink was placed in the skin will impact how quickly, or slowly results occur from laser tattoo removal treatments.
Tattoos age with time, the body tries to break them down and the body’s immune system also starts to be a bit less responsive in our older age. The time in your life when you got tattooed will be a factor in removal.
Lastly, the location of the tattoo is a factor for considering when results might start to show. Low blood flow portions of the body like fingers and feet will typically see less fading compared to higher blood flow portions of the body like the torso.
6. Avoid Activities That Will Impede Healing
Post treatment it’s important to follow the aftercare provided by your technician. This will usually include advising against direct sun exposure for several weeks, no swimming or long soaking in bathtubs and avoiding exercise that results in excessive sweating for a few days.
When done properly, tattoo removal is non-invasive and leaves no open wounds, it’s common for it to look normal and even untreated within a few days after treatment. Even if the treated area looks fine, it’s imperative for maximum results that certain activities be avoided.
In addition to physical exposure, smoking cigarettes could also negatively impact or slow down the healing and fading process from tattoo removal treatments.
Removery – Laser Tattoo Removal You Can Trust
Removery is the largest pure player in the tattoo removal space and the only company that has a clinical advisory board (CAB) and offers continuous training for all laser techs. Feel confident that booking a consultation and starting your treatment will start your tattoo removal journey down a road with the most talented people who have a track record of achieving amazing results.