At Dundee Dermatology in West Dundee, IL, we understand that people change. When you had your ex’s name tattooed on your wrist, you thought you would be together forever. Now, you want to turn the page on that chapter of your life for good. We can help you with that. Today, we’re talking about how many laser tattoo removal sessions you will need, how long each session will take, how to prepare, and more.
How Many Sessions Are Needed for a Tattoo Removal?
You may need between five and 10 sessions for complete tattoo removal. We will tell you during your initial consultation how many sessions you will need. This depends on the age, colors, size, and location of the tattoo. Larger tattoos may require between eight and 10 removal sessions. Smaller tattoos may require between five and seven removal sessions. However, some tattoos can take as few as two treatments or as many as a dozen sessions.
How Long Will Each Session Take?
How long your tattoo removal session will take depends on how large the tattoo is. If you are trying to remove an unwanted tattoo that is roughly four square inches, your session will only take 10 to 15 minutes. If your unwanted tattoo is only slightly larger, your session may take up to 20 minutes. If you are trying to remove a large tattoo, each removal session can take an hour or slightly longer.
Is Treatment Painful?
Laser treatment may sound scary but it is not painful at all. In fact, it feels like a warm rubber band snapping gently against your skin. Since everyone has different heat tolerances, we apply a topical anesthetic to the skin before treatment. Your skin may feel warm once the anesthetic has worn off but you will not feel any pain or discomfort during the session.
How Should I Prepare for This Treatment?
There are several things you must do to prepare for a tattoo removal session. The most important thing you must do to prepare for treatment is to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 55. In fact, avoiding sunburn is so important that you should minimize the amount of time you spend in the sun for four weeks before your first scheduled treatment. Here are some other preparation tips:
Eat Before Your Appointment
We strongly recommend that you eat before your appointment, particularly if you have a large tattoo that you want to remove. Eating a nutrient-dense snack or meal ensures that you have plenty of micronutrients in your system at the time of your session. This is important because your immune system goes to work quickly to start processing the broken down ink pigments. You’ll need plenty of energy for that.
You’ll also want to make sure you are adequately hydrated when you come in for your appointment. If you’re dehydrated, your immune system won’t work as well as it should and it will take longer to see the results of your treatment.
Take Tylenol If You Feel Discomfort
It’s important to avoid taking NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or aspirin, for several days before your laser removal session. According to the FDA, blood-thinning medications, including NSAIDs, contraindicate laser treatments. If you feel any discomfort or pain in the days leading up to your scheduled laser session, take an analgesic that will not thin your blood, like Tylenol.
Avoid Cosmetics on the Treatment Area
When you come in for your appointment, the treatment area should be clean, shaven, and free of jewelry or cosmetics. If there is makeup, lotion, or jewelry on your treatment area, it must be removed before we sanitize the area. If you have not shaved the treatment area within 24 hours of your appointment, we will shave the area for you. Do not wax or tweeze the hair in the treatment area.
Am I a Good Candidate for Treatment?
The best candidate for laser removal has fair skin and a dark tattoo. However, laser technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since its infancy so it is safe for people with dark skin and a dark tattoo to receive treatment. You should just be aware that if you have dark skin and a dark tattoo, you may need an extra removal session or two.
The best candidate for laser removal does not smoke and has healthy habits, such as minimal alcohol consumption, minimal consumption of processed foods, regular physical activity, and a diet that includes plenty of healthy foods. The healthier you are, the more successful your treatment will be because a solid immune system is required to dispose of the ink particles that are broken down by the laser treatment.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
It can take two to 12 sessions to remove unwanted tattoos completely. To learn more, schedule an appointment with us at Dundee Dermatology in West Dundee, IL to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Paul Getz has been serving West Dundee and the surrounding communities of Carpentersville, Elgin, South Elgin, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, St. Charles, Geneva, and Huntley for over 30 years. You couldn’t be in better hands.