Tattoos tell an incredible story through our bodies. The art is a beautiful thing to behold. Since tattoos are a way of expressing ourselves, many people prefer to ink the things that matter to them, directly on to their skin. For these expressions of art, the options are endless. Most people love their tattoos and are happy with them throughout their lives. However, there are many more that do not want the tattoos on their bodies any longer. Either those tattoos were mistakes, or the circumstances and emotions surrounding the tattoos are lost to time. Whatever the reasons and causes may be, lots of people prefer getting the tattoos removed, as they do not wish to live with the reminders of the memories their tattoos invoke.
Regret can be a bitter pill to swallow. For many, living with this regret is not an option. Such people prefer to have their tattoos removed. While getting the tattoo removed is a fantastic idea, there are specific issues related to it.
How does Tattoo Removal work?
Tattoo removal is not a painless process. It does require some grit and courage. Since tattoos are permanent, and the ink is embedded deep into the subcutaneous layers of the skin, the removal process can be tedious and lengthy. Once the ink enters the skin and bloodstream, the white blood cells in the body think it is an intrusion, and start acting in a preventive manner to seal the invasion (exactly like it does a wound).
Tattoo removal is a bit more complicated than rubbing alcohol and baby wipes on the skin. It requires precision laser therapy that is done through a process known as laser tattoo removal. The lasers used are ultrashort pulse lasers, and they are directed to the skin in rapid bursts or pulses. The breakneck speed of the lasers is measured in ‘picoseconds.’ The rate of the lasers determines the effectiveness of laser tattoo removal. The heat and instant bursts of light energy into the inked area help break the ink particles down, thereby causing a breakdown of the tattoo. The different temperature changes in the laser tattoo removal cause different colours of the tattooed ink to break down fast.
Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?
Laser tattoo removal can be a painful experience for people who have very low pain thresholds. The pulses of light heat the ink up (which is metal) to varying degrees of high temperatures. These lasers are directed onto parts of the skin that need removal treatment. Thanks to the efficiency of the lasers, the skin is not harmed in any manner.
The energy generated through the laser tattoo removal process sends multiple small vibrations into the skin as it breaks the ink down. These vibrations may, sometimes, cause the skin to discolour slightly and leave it somewhat paler than before.
Laser tattoo removal is painful, depending upon where the tattoo is located. Receptor cells (underneath our skin) send signals to the brain. Our hands and feet have more receptor cells than other parts of our bodies, and so the pain signals received by the brain would be more. The receptor cells are a reason why our hands and feet are more sensitive to pain than other areas of the body. Just like getting a tattoo done on the hands and feet is a painful experience, so will be the laser tattoo removal. The same goes for areas that have less fat like areas near the bone, such as wrists, ankles, and so on.
How to make the Laser Tattoo Removal hurt less?
While the process can be painful, there are specific pre-emptive measures you can take to control the pain levels.
- Cold Compress: Ice packs and cold compresses work well to reduce the heat around the tattooed area. Cold compresses can be used before as well as after the laser tattoo removal process. The relief is instant, and the skin cools down rapidly. The cold helps soothe the skin and reduces pain levels considerably.
- Numbing Cream: Many laser tattoo removal clinics offer numbing creams to numb the area of the tattoo before removal. This cream is usually applied thirty minutes before the removal session. While the area does hurt less, it does not make the skin 100% numb. You will still feel some discomfort.
- Lidocaine Injections: These injections are administered by plastic surgeons and may be multiple depending upon the size of the tattoo to be removed. However, not all laser tattoo removal clinics use them as you need an on-call doctor to administer them successfully.