Changing Your Expression
Tattoos are a form of self-expression. But the way you express yourself today may not be the way you want to express yourself a decade from now. So a few of the former ink-lovers are opting to have their tattoos removed. Today, 24 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 50 have one or more tattoos, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. However, if the love affair with tattoos should ever end, laser surgery is a successful way to rid the skin of them.
When a tattoo is completed by a professional tattoo artist, the ink is applied to the layer of the skin evenly, which makes it easy for the laser light to selectively target the ink that needs to be removed. The light of the laser is placed on the ink of the tattoo to break the ink down into particles small enough for the white blood cells of the body to flush them away. Certain colors of ink are more difficult to remove than others, so results from the laser removal surgery may not be instantaneous; it may take quite a few laser treatments before the tattoo disappears. There is a required 3-week window between each treatment to allow the immune system to absorb the pigment. Because of size and colors, the cost of removing a tattoo is different for everybody. Having a tattoo removed may cost as much as, if not more than, the cost to get the tattoo.
According to Info Plastic Surgery, each laser treatment ranges from $200 to $500 per session, so the bigger the tattoo, the bigger the cost. However, if you do not mind being a guinea pig for a doctor in training, there may be discounts available. To find out if this option is available to you, contact the dermatology department at your local medical school. In addition, if planning to have multiple tattoos removed, there may be discounts available for doing so.
Preparing for the Procedure
Besides paying money to have a tattoo removed, there is a small price of pain to pay as well. The procedure will feel similar to someone constantly striking the spot with a rubber band. The doctor performing the procedure will usually prescribe an anesthetic cream to be applied to the area prior to treatment. However, if you are still concerned about pain, a non-aspirin type of product can be taken a few hours before receiving the laser treatment. Doctors discourage using a pain reliever with aspirin in it because it may cause the treated area to bruise.