When you initially get a tattoo, the last thing on your mind is having it removed. After all, one of the main appeals of tattoos is their permanence. However, as time goes on, you may consider getting a tattoo removed for any number of reasons. For instance, you might not be thrilled with how the tattoo turned out. Maybe the design no longer reflects your life or interests. Or, you simply might not want tattoos at all anymore for personal or professional reasons. Whatever the case may be, it turns out that tattoos can indeed be removed, but that doing so requires specialized procedures.
Tattoo removal processes have improved over the years. What used to be slow, painful, and often ineffective procedures have become more efficient and less bothersome. That said, no method is perfect, and patients should know what they’re getting into before they decide that tattoo removal is right for them. If you’re considering having a tattoo (or several) removed, you want to be as prepared as possible. Here are some key ways to get ready for tattoo removal.
In the past, the only way to get rid of a tattoo was via a process known as salabrasion, which involves the use of salt and friction to penetrate the epidermis (top layer of skin) and reach the dermis where the tattoo ink resides, removing the affected skin and allowing it to heal. While salabrasion is still practiced in some places, as technology has evolved, new tattoo removal methods have emerged, including dermabrasion, skin excision, laser tattoo removal, tattoo removal creams, and subcutaneous injections.
Each of these methods involves its own risks, success rates, and potential complications. You cannot properly prepare for your tattoo removal procedure if you don’t know what type of procedure awaits you. Speak to your dermatologist for more information regarding various tattoo removal methods to help determine which one is right for you. From there, your dermatologist can help you prepare for that specific operation. But no matter which removal method you finally choose, there are some general steps you should take to prepare.
This preparation mostly applies to the removal of face tattoos, as makeup is mostly used on the face and nowhere else. The professionals in charge of removing your tattoo will need to access your skin directly, and makeup presents an obstacle between their tools and your skin. If you wear makeup to your procedure and it’s in the way of your tattoo, understand that it will be removed anyway, taking up some time. It’s best to just skip the makeup that day.
All tattoo removal procedures have gotten less intense and less painful over the years. That said, they’re not exactly pleasant and can certainly take a toll on your body, especially surgical tattoo removal. If you don’t have enough sustenance, all of this discomfort can lead you to pass out or become nauseous and dizzy. To avoid these risks, be sure to eat something and drink plenty of water before your procedure.
Too much sun exposure can damage your skin and increase the likelihood of complications such as permanent skin pigmentation alterations during and after tattoo removal treatments. If you want your tattoo removed as quickly as possible, it’s best to stay out of the sun. Experts suggest using plenty of sunscreen to reduce the amount of UV radiation contacting your skin at least four weeks before your procedure(s).
You may use pain medication such as Tylenol before the procedure to mitigate your discomfort, but avoid blood-thinning drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin, as these can lead to bruising and other complications.
The treated area will be quite sensitive after the procedure takes place, so it’s best to wear loose-fitted clothing afterward to give the wound some space to heal and to mitigate your discomfort. Tight clothing will aggravate the area and possibly affect healing outcomes for the worse.
All of the advice above refers to physical preparations that will help ensure the tattoo removal process goes smoothly with the least amount of pain, discomfort, or complications. However, it’s important to prepare mentally, too. Tattoo removal takes time. In fact, in most cases, you will need to undergo multiple treatments over the course of months to fully get rid of your tattoo. And even after all is said and done, you may be left with a scar and/or some skin discoloration. Whether you’re undergoing a laser tattoo removal procedure or surgical excision, you must manage your expectations.
At Premier Dermatology Partners, we know that our patients are seeking the best outcomes for their skin’s health and appearance. We use the latest tattoo removal technology and methodology to help make tattoos disappear with minimal scarring, pigmentation changes, and discomfort. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.