201 Health - - Body Image -

Tat­too re­moval is a grad­ual process. The laser breaks up ink that is suspended in the skin into small par­ti­cles; the body’s nat­u­ral heal­ing process then re­moves those par­ti­cles.

Depend­ing on the in­di­vid­ual pa­tient’s per­sonal thresh­old for pain, the pro­ce­dure can re­sult in lit­tle to mild pain and can be ad­dressed post-ses­sions with Tylenol or top­i­cal treat­ments. There may be a small post-pro­ce­dural burning sen­sa­tion, but again that can be treated with cor­ti­sone creams to re­duce any swelling or dis­com­fort.

It is rec­om­mended that pa­tients limit phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for 24 to 48 hours af­ter the treat­ment to avoid ir­ri­ta­tion of the skin. Pa­tients must also wait six weeks be­tween treat­ments to al­low the body to break down the ink, for the skin to heal and to pre­vent scar­ring. While the process may seem lengthy, the high-qual­ity re­sults are worth the wait.

Are there any side ef­fects or com­pli­ca­tions from this pro­ce­dure? As with any pro­ce­dure, there may be com­pli­ca­tions. While risk is rel­a­tively low with the Pico Sure, any laser can have com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing hy­per/hypo pig­men­ta­tion, blis­ter­ing or scar­ring.

Nonethe­less, it is im­per­a­tive that pa­tients fol­low pre­scribed af­ter­care in­struc­tions to en­sure op­ti­mum re­sults. While there is limited risk of in­fec­tion, if the area scabs, pa­tients are ad­vised to keep skin clean and pro­tected.

In­di­vid­u­als con­sid­er­ing laser tat­too re­moval should avoid sun ex­po­sure in the af­fected area. If out in the sun­shine, cover the area or wear sun­screen with a high SPF to pro­vide max­i­mum pro­tec­tion.

In ad­di­tion to gen­eral tat­too re­moval, some pa­tients may wish to have a por­tion of a tat­too re­moved or light­ened to make room for a new one. “Pico Sure is great for re­vi­sion or cover-up for tat­toos,” Basti­das says. “It is rec­om­mended that pa­tients wait six to eight weeks af­ter fi­nal treat- ment be­fore a new tat­too is ap­plied to al­low for suf­fi­cient heal­ing of the skin.”

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