To regret a full tattoo and come face to face with the problem of its removal is a common situation, the solution of which should be approached as competently and consciously as possible. Together with Yulia Gallyamova, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor of the Department of Dermatovenereology and Cosmetology of the FGOU DPO "Russian Medical Academy of Continuing Professional Education", we understand all the nuances of the issue.
How to delete?
There are no general medical indications for tattoo removal: in rare cases, an allergic reaction to paint may develop, local edema or itching may appear in the areas of tattoos. Most often, the desire to get rid of the drawing is dictated by individual reasons and has nothing to do with health problems.
Tattoo removal methods come down to one thing - a laser. All non-medical methods of elimination lead to skin inflammation and, as a result, scarring. For removal, QS (switched lasers) are most often used, which generate nanosecond bursts of laser light: they provide rapid heating and destroy pigment particles. The destroyed fragments of pigment are either slowly absorbed in the skin, or collected in the lymph nodes and then excreted by the body.
PS lasers have pulse durations in the picosecond range (one trillionth of a second). They cause the pigment particles to disintegrate, but these particles are smaller than after QS lasers and are more easily absorbed. However, there are no convincing data on the advantage of PS lasers.
No special skin care is required before removal: the paint lies deep in the dermis, so only a laser can cope with it.
How long to remove?
Tattoo removal is not a quick process. The biggest difficulties arise with tattoos that are more than 3 years old (by this time the pigment has penetrated too deeply into the skin) and those that are placed on the limbs.
In most cases, elimination requires about 6-8 procedures with an interval of 6-8 weeks. It is important to remember that this will not be a quick or painless process. Although the doctor cools the skin and uses local anesthetics during the procedure, the process is often interrupted to give the patient relief from pain. Large tattoos can take several hours to remove (in one session).
How does tattoo color affect removal?
Different colors in tattoo pigments require different laser wavelengths. The best results are obtained using a wavelength that is absorbed by the color of the tattoo pigment, i.e. each color has its own length. Therefore, more than one laser is required for optimal treatment of multi-colored tattoos, making them more difficult to remove.
What determines the quality of tattoo removal?
Successful removal can be influenced by a number of factors: the patient's skin color, the “age” and color of the tattoo, and its localization on the body. With successful removal, residual hypopigmentation is possible, but if you have fair skin, it will not be as noticeable. Treatment of light (pink, brown, ruddy, white) tattoos can cause paradoxical darkening. Other common side effects include bleeding, blistering, and infection. All of them are resolved fairly quickly and without consequences.
How to care for skin after removal?
After removing the tattoo, a slight redness may form on the skin, but it will go away within an hour. Immediately after the procedure, your doctor will apply panthenol to soothe your skin. Since it takes time for the pigment to dissolve, the specialist himself will determine when it is necessary to come to the next procedure. As a rule, the interval is 1.5-2 months. All this time, you can live a normal life.
How to choose a clinic / specialist for removal?
Your choice should fall on a doctor who is certified as a dermatovenerologist or cosmetologist (see also: "How not to be mistaken when choosing a cosmetologist"). The beauty salon itself must be licensed to provide medical services. Considering the economic component, it is necessary to understand that getting a tattoo is faster and cheaper than removing it. Of course, you need to take this issue seriously: for example, try a temporary drawing in order to understand how comfortable you are with it.
About the expert:
Yulia Albertovna Gallyamova
Photo: Getty Images
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