tattoo'd man sun bathing

What NOT to Do Before Your Laser Tattoo Removal Session

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If you’re reading this article, then the chances are you’ve entered a phase of “tattoo regret” following an investment in body art that you now wish wasn’t a permanent feature of your appearance. Fortunately for those of us who change our minds about a tattoo long after the image has finished being inked, laser tattoo removal solutions have come a long way in recent years. Today, the solutions available for tattoo removal are more effective than ever before.

Importantly, when you book your first laser tattoo removal session, you’re bound to feel both excited, and anxious. During this time, it can be helpful to educate you about the measures you should, and shouldn’t take before turning up to your appointment. Here are some things NOT to do before your session.

Do NOT expose your tattoo to sunlight

Staying out of the sun might not seem like a big deal when you’re approaching your tattoo removal session. However, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can increase the natural production of various substances in the body – such as melanin and vitamin D. Melanin soaks up radiation, and causes your skin to tan in the sun – but it can also affect the way that your body responds to the light waves that are used lasers.

tattoo covered in the sun

Staying away from sunlight and UV radiation will help to ensure that your skin is as protective, receptive, and durable as it needs to be for a successful treatment.

Do NOT get a spray tan or use fake tan lotions

While fake tan obviously doesn’t come with the same UV exposure as actual sunlight, it can affect your tattoo removal, as you could be coming back for multiple sessions when actually only a few are required. If your body has absorbed products containing toxins, it could mean that you have to spend more time, and money than you need to on tattoo removal.

What’s more, some fake tans contain products that can react badly with laser treatment and create pigmentation in the skin.

Do NOT come straight from the tattoo studio

Even if you decide, straight after getting a tattoo, that you want it removed, that doesn’t mean you should head straight in for a session. Exposing your skin to removal treatments too soon after tattoo placement can lead to scarring and ink retention. The reason for this is that tattoos are created through a long-term process of ink entrapment and dermis healing. After a period of around three months, you can rest assured that the pigment will have settled properly into the skin, ready to be removed.

person getting red tattoo inked

Waiting three months will ensure the ink has settled, and the immune system is back on track.

Do NOT forget to mention medications you are taking

Tattoo removal that takes place using the PicoSure laser can be suitable for a number of different people. However, as with a range of different treatments, there are certain precautions that need to be taken, and some medications may interact negatively with your session. Informing your clinician beforehand of the various medications you are taking will help them to decide whether it is safe for you to proceed with laser tattoo removal.

Do NOT use mechanical epilation

An epilator is a form of electrical device that is used to remove hair from the skin by pulling multiple hairs out of the body at the same time. Though many people prefer this form of hair removal to other options available on the market today, it’s important to note that mechanical or chemical epilation within a period of six weeks prior to the treatment can alter the healing process.

Do NOT attempt forms of non-laser tattoo removal

Finally, do not try to “speed up” the removal process by turning to other forms of tattoo removal. Most of these options are dangerous and can lead to permanent scarring. This could include:

  • Dermabrasion – a painful and dangerous procedure wherein the skin is “scraped” away to try and remove the tattoo image. This can lead to permanent scarring and requires deep penetration to remove the full pigment.
  • Salabrasion – similar to dermabrasion, this uses granular salt and water alongside an abrasive device to remove the tattoo pigment. Once again, this method of tattoo removal carries a high risk of scarring, and can cause serious pain.
  • Acid – some people turn to acid to get rid of their tattoos. However, this is extremely dangerous and can cause long-term deformation in the skin.
  • Tattoo-removal creams – Finally, people continue to waste their money on the prospect of a pain-free cream that will remove tattoos for them. Though some of these creams can fade a tattoo – they will not be able to access the deeper layers of skin where the ink is stored.
cream tattoo removal

Featured image credit. Tony Alter via Flickr. Licensed under CC2.0

Andrea Catton

Andrea has over over 40 years experience delivering beauty and skin care treatments and has over 20 years laser experience. Regarded as the number one PicoSure laser technician in the UK, Andrea is trained and qualified to use Aculight HR IPL, Chromolite IPL, N-Lite laser, Ellipse, Episoft MD IPL, ADL Sapphire Nd:YAG, RevLite & PicoSure. Andrea is also a member of the British Institute & Association of Electrolysis, British Medical Laser Association and is fully qualified to teach IPL & laser hair removal.

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