Tattoo & Tattoo Removal

Tattoo & Tattoo Removal

Tattoo & Tattoo Removal

A Tattoo is created by piercing a tattoo gun through the epidermis of the skin into a dermis that is more permanent. The needle on the tattoo gun works like a sewing machine that can bob into the skin anywhere between 50 to 3000 times every minute.

Tattoos are popular more than ever now. According to a popular poll done in the year 2015, approximately 29% of all the people that were surveyed had a tattoo, even if it was single.


Why it is done?

There can be several reasons for getting a tattoo and they are mostly personal. Instead every individual might get a tattoo for a different reason. It is a way in which the wearer chooses to customize his or her own body. Most of the times people get a tattoo to mark a significant phase of their life or a significant part of themselves. These can vary from simple, small and symbolic tattoos to detailed and descriptive ones.

On several occasions it has been noticed that people get a tattoo to honor someone or something. These generally have a meaning or a story behind them.


Risks

There are several risks associated with the procedure of getting a tattoo. And the simple reason behind all of them is that the process itself involves puncturing of the skin or pricking the top layer of the skin. In simple terms, the process of getting a tattoo is breaching the skin.

Some of the common risks and complications that are possible with Tattoo are skin infections, allergic reactions, or blood borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C, MRSA and even HIV.

Tattoos are known to cause MRI complications as well. The process of MRI can cause itching, swelling or burning sensation in the area that has been tattooed. In some cases, it has also been found to affect the quality of the images received during the process of MRI.


How you prepare?

Whether it is the first time you are getting a tattoo or you have had quite a few sessions already, it is always advisable to prepare yourself well for the session. It does not just keep you safe but also makes your tattoo artist quite comfortable.

Here are a few tips:

  • Hydrate: Try and stay hydrated before you finally show up for your session. The hydration in the body makes the skin resilient, makes it comfortable for long tattoo sessions and also helps the skin to heal quickly post the session.
  • Moisturize: Just as hydrating your body from the inside helps to give better results, moisturizing it from the outside will add to the benefit further. Use a good moisturizing lotion and apply it twice daily for weeks before the final day. However, you must remember to avoid using a moisturizer just before the session as it can affect the functioning of the machines and affect the final results as well.
  • Shave: To get the best results, shave the area that you need to get tattooed. You can choose to use a razor or opt for waxing. But remember any cut or perforation will mean you cannot have your session until it is completely healed. So be very careful when you are using a razor. When waxing, make it a point to use a good aftershave that is free of alcohol.
  • Exfoliate: The process of exfoliation will help to remove any kind of impurities in the skin and make it smooth and ready for the procedure. You can use either a loofah to exfoliate the skin or buy an exfoliant that is easily available over the counter. The process of exfoliation helps in the moisturizing of skin.
  • Rest: Take enough rest or your beauty sleep the night before your session. This will make your body comfortable and skin supple and will prepare it for the upcoming session.
  • Eat well: Ensure to eat well before the tattoo session. While it will definitely help you in pain management, it will also help you s to balance for the energy that is used up during the tattoo session. If you are expecting a long tattoo session, it becomes imperative to do so. Even if you feel you are losing your appetite in apprehension of the pain, make sure to eat a balanced and a healthy diet.
  • Get snacks for a longer session: If you are anticipating a longer session, remember to carry a snack or finger food with yourself. It will give you some energy and distraction from the pain and discomfort. If you have a fairly long session, you might as well get a break in between. You can utilize this time to enjoy your snack. Make it a point to carry a snack that isn’t messy and can be eaten with one hand.

If you get injured before your session, call up your tattoo artist and give him the details of injury. He might think it necessary to postpone your session and reschedule it.


What to expect?

On the final day when you have an appointment with your tattoo artist, make it a point to reach his studio on well in time. This will help you feel comfortable and give enough time to the tattoo artist to do his preparations. Wear comfortable clothes that are breezy and can comfort you for long hours. Make sure have followed all the above mentioned tips to make the entire process comfortable for you.

You should be clear about the design of the tattoo and the place where you want to get it inked. If not, your tattoo artist will help you choose one to suit your personality and other aspects. However, this can take up considerable time and extend the duration of the entire session.

Once the session is complete, your tattoo artist will bid you farewell with a few words of precaution that you will need to take care of for the few upcoming days.


Different types of Tattoos

There are two different popular types of tattoos, these are:

Amateur Tattoo—Tattoo with black ink

An amateur tattoo is one where a needle is used for the process. It is dabbed into the ink and then inserted into the skin. If an amateur tattoo artist uses a tattoo gun to create a tattoo in place of the needle, it will still be called a professional tattoo since a gun is a professional tool that injects a lot of ink into the skin and that also penetrates deep into the skin.


It uses black Ink

Unlike professional tattoos where a number of colors are used, amateur tattoos use only black ink.


It is not very deeply penetrated into the skin

An amateur tattoo is created using a needle. For this reason, it does not penetrate deep into the skin


It is easy to remove

Amateur tattoos are much easier to remove than the professional tattoos since the amount of ink injected during the process is much less and also it does not penetrate deep into the skin. Most of the times, these can be easily removed in 1 to 2 sittings and a couple of treatments.


Professional Tattoo

A professional tattoo is administered using a tattoo gun. The needles in the gun inject the different colored inks such as pink, purple, red, blue, black, green, orange etc. into the dermis layer of the skin. A professional tattoo is applied at a uniform depth below the skin unlike an amateur tattoo that is applied at different depths. A professional tattoo is created by a trained practitioner at either a tattoo parlorparlour or a salon.


It uses different colored inks

Unlike amateur tattoos that use only black ink, professional tattoos make use of a range of different colors such as blue, red, black, green, orange etc. These can be further thinned and mixed together to make new colors.


It is deeply penetrated into the skin

Since a professional tattoo gun is used to create a professional tattoo, it deeply penetrates the ink into the skin.


It is not very easy to remove

Since professional tattoos are deeply penetrated into the skin, these are not very easy to remove as well. Laser removal of professional tattoos can take anywhere between 4 to 8 sittings to get desirable results.


It requires surgical intervention for fast results

In case one requires fast results in laser procedures for removing tattoos, it should be combined with surgical intervention with Dermabrasion and skin grafting.

The process of Dermabrasion helps to remove the surface of the skin and works like an exfoliation method. The process leaves behind scars.

Skin grafting is a procedure that is used by the people to heal and beautify the skin after the process of tattoo removal is complete. It is often used once the procedures such as Dermabrasion have been used originally.


It can require additional treatments

Once the treatment of tattoo removal is over, it can also require some additional treatments such as laser toning and carbon blasting. These are used to improve the texture of the skin once the treatment is over.

Laser toning is a skin care tool that is used to treat conditions such as wrinkles, acne, scars and fine lines. The tattoo removal treatment makes use of the procedure to minimize the scars.


Disadvantages of tattoo—it could be one of the reason that you are seeking for tattoo removal

There are several risks that you might want to consider when getting a tattoo. While the method itself requires puncturing the skin, the pigments that are used in the tattoos are a great hazard too. It is also true that some of the inks that are used in the creation of tattoos contain toxic metals such as mercury etc.

Here are a few disadvantages of getting a tattoo which often becomes the reason of seeking different methods of tattoo removal.


Skin infections

The tattoo dyes that are used in the creation of tattoos act as foreign bodies and react with the skin and can cause several skin infections.


Allergic reactions

The dyes that are used in the creation of tattoos, especially the colored dyes such as red, green, yellow or orange can cause allergic reactions such as itching or rashes at the tattoo site. Such allergic reactions can take place even years after the tattoo was created.

Tattoo artists in India use acrylic dyes that are not very skin-friendly and can cause skin reactions such as eczema, itching, multi toxicity and autoimmune disease.


Use of mercury

A number of tattoo artists in India use Mercury in the creation of tattoo. Mercury is very harmful for the skin as it is toxic in nature. Such metals are responsible for giving permanence to a tattoo and are known to cause allergic reactions, scarring and even eczema.


HIV Infections

If the needles used in the procedure of tattoo creation are not sterilized, they can lead to HIV infections. If the equipments used are contaminated with infected blood, they can result in several blood borne diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.


Tattoo Removal Procedures

Permanent Tattoo removal procedure through lasers and non-surgical procedures


Q-switch Lasers

Laser Tattoo removal is a clinically proven method to remove tattoos safely and the only one that does not leave behind scars too. Q-switch lasers are designed specifically to produce the required energy and power that can remove dark and bright tattoos without any side effects or scars. The Q-switch laser pulses can barely last for a fraction of second but provide high levels of fluence that helps in quality ink shattering. Since the energy emitted is for a very brief period, it gets concentrated into very powerful pulses. These pulses are very powerful and can shatter tiny fragments of ink, kill fungus and stimulate collagen production. Also the energy does not harm the surrounding areas. It is this briefness of the pulse that allows the tattoos to be removed without any potential side effects.

Q-switch lasers can take about 6 to 10 sessions to remove a professional tattoo where an amateur tattoo will just require 4 to 5 sessions. And all the sessions are spaced with a period of 6 to 8 weeks. There are several factors such as the type, size, area and depth of the tattoo that affect the total number of treatments required for the procedure.


CO2 Fractional Lasers

Fractional carbon dioxide lasers or pixilated carbon dioxide lasers is among the latest non-surgical treatments used to rejuvenate the skin. Since the CO2 lasers have the longest wavelength among all the lasers that are available in the market today, these can be appropriately used on darker skins by making a few adjustments in the settings.

The CO2 fractional laser fractionates of pixellates the CO2 beam into several thousand tiny shafts of light. These shafts of light get penetrated deeper into the skin, breaks the ink, pushes out the old skin and replaces it with the new skin. The collateral heat damage in the process also helps to shrink the existing collagen. There are very rare cases of complications in the treatment and the best way to avoid those is to visit a good dermatology clinic that has experience in working with lasers.

The number of treatments you will require will depend on the factors such as the type of the tattoo and its area, size and depth. It also depends on the downtime you can accept well. If you can tolerate a week of downtime, you will just require 1 or 2 fractional CO2 treatments.


Laser Toning

Laser toning is a comprehensive tool used for skin care by dermatologists and skin surgeons. It is used to treat a number of skin and hair conditions and works smoothly on the outer layers of the skin without causing any cut, sensitivity, burn or peeling of the surface skin.

TheThis techniques uses rays that are penetrated deeper into the skin yet heat only the upper dermis for treatment. The laser also has in-built cooling system that has been designed to protect the skin against any kind of damage from harmful UV rays. This technology ensures that the patient does not feel any heat on the skin surface during the treatment. Once the procedure of laser treatment is over, the immune system of body will process excess pigmentation and the leftover particles to completely clear away the discoloration. There are no specific pre-treatment instructions but it is advisable to protect the area from sun exposure before the treatment.

Every session of a laser toning treatment can take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. Most of the times multiple sessions are required to get the positive results one desires. The number of treatments one requires also depends on the skin type and the type of tattoo, whether it is deeply penetrated or not and several other factors.


Carbon Blasting

Carbon blasting is also known as ice blasting technology and it involves the use of a component called dry ice. Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide. The process is very similar to sand blasting, soda blasting or bead blasting that involves the use of a forcible air stream to pressurize and clean a surface.

The technique works on three main elements- pellet kinetic energy, thermal shock effect and thermal kinetic effect. A blast of carbon dioxide is a well established and optimal technique used to remove tattoos apart from other treatments such as removing wrinkles, pigmentation and skin ailments such as melasma. The process helps in the production of collagen, prevents the heat damage from reaching the surrounding cells and repairing the overall damage.

The number of sittings required and their duration will depend on the type of tattoo, ink used, area, location and depth of the tattoo.


R20 Technique

The R20 technique is very different from the traditional tattoo removal techniques. Unlike the traditional tattoo removal techniques where the laser is passed over the area for a single time, the R20 technique treats the tattoo area multiple times with the laser during a single session. This is why the process is called ‘multi-pass tattoo removal’. The main purpose behind multiple passes is to destroy more ink in a single session and remove the entire tattoo in a fewer sessions.

Even the most experienced physicians prefer experimenting with different settings such as adjusting the fluence, waiting period or other R20 protocols so that the patient can get most effective results and clearance.

The R20 technique is time consuming since there is a waiting period between every laser pass. On an average, one complete R20 session can take almost 80 minutes, i.e. 20 minutes of treatment and 60 minutes of waiting time between the treatments. The number of sessions that one requires will depend on the area that needs to be treated. For instance, bigger tattoos will require more number of sessions while smaller tattoos might get treated in a few sessions only.


R0 Protocol

One of the most frustrating parts of the tattoo removal procedures is the time taken by them. It takes about 10 to 15 treatments to remove a tattoo and with the additional 2 months interval that is recommended between the sessions, the treatment can take over a year or so to get the final results that are desirable too.

When treating the tattoo, white gas bubbles develop under the skin that does not let the laser to be very effective. This becomes the limiting factor of most of the laser removal treatments. Since these bubbles disappear after 20 minutes, the physicians wait for 20 minutes before they start the next treatment and this is called the R20 protocol and allows up to 4 treatments in a single day. Since it requirerequired d a lot of f time and patience, a new protocol, called the RO protocol was discovered.

The RO protocol is the new protocol that is used in the treatments to completely do away with the 20 minute waiting time that is between the treatments. The process involves placing of a fluid called the perfluorodecalin on the skin that eliminates the white gas bubbles almost instantly and allows the 4 different treatments to be performed one after the other in a rapid succession. There have been researches to prove that this method is completely safe to use and also helps in the quick removal of the tattoos than the treatments that used a standard one treatment per session protocol.

So RO protocol has made the tattoo removal procedure much faster and can be successfully and efficiently done in about 2 to 4 sessions.


Tattoo Removal Surgery

Excision

Excision is considered as an excellent method to remove small-sized tattoos. A surgery is performed by surgeons and dermatologist where they inject a local anesthesia to the patient and the skin is then taken away right from the dermis, together with the tattoo and the ink. Post this process, the skin is rejoined with the help of staples or using stitches. There are instances where the process takes more than one session for complete removal of the tattoo.

The technique involves high precision and is regarded as an excellent choice for the removal of small tattoos. Some of the common side effects of Excision include developing scars and infections and the discoloration of the skin. As a precaution, the treated skin should be saved completely from the direct sunlight. Doctors advise their patients to use moisturizing creams regularly to prevent the scars. There are other cases, where applying antibiotics and cold packs are also suggested by the surgeons.


Skin Grafting Technique

The procedure of skin grafting involves taking skin from different parts of the body such as under arms or thighs and then placing it in the body art skin. The procedure is most suitable for large designs in tattoos and involves the application of the new skin and its healing simultaneously. There are two different kinds of skin grafting techniques and both of them involve the use of local anesthesia. The skin is replaced from the donor site (such as under arms or thighs) and is replaced at the transplant site (the tattooed area). It is either stitched or stapled and then bandaged to prevent any kind of physical injuries or infections.

Grafting is a complete medical procedure that requires hospitalization and surgery. The time that the process will take will vary from individual to individual.


Split level thickness grafts

In this skin grafting technique, dermis as well as epidermis is removed. New skin is taken away from the donor site and grafted into the tattooed area. The grafts are made to cover large areas of the skin and thus can cover a substantial part of the tattoo area. The procedure of split level thickness grafts has better results in the form of smoother skin. However, the skin does not merge or grow with the existing skin and thus requires additional skin grafting procedures.

The grafting techniques will leave two scars-one at the donor site and the other at the transplant site. Since the technique uses extremely thin skin, it requires extreme post surgery care. The patient must take of the dressing and maintain it as per the doctor’s advice, they must avoid intense physical activities or workouts, wounds should be kept dry, they should avoid scratching the affected area. All this needs to be taken care of until the stitches are removed and the joints in the skin melt away.


Full thickness grafts

This surgical process involves the removal of top two layers of skin. The full thickness grafts then grows with the old skin and does not require any further surgeries. The process helps to work at a cellular or muscle level. It involves removal of new skin from the donor site.


Dermabrasion

One of the popular techniques used in Tattoo removal, Dermabrasion involves the elimination of the outer skin layer. The technique is also popularly used for issues such as wrinkles, acne, dark spots, uneven skin tone, age related marks or other similar issues.

The process involves giving a local anesthesia to the patient to numb the skin of that particular area. After this, Dermatome, a device is used to scrap away the top layer of the skin so that the tattoo pigments also get aloof. The process scraps away the different skin layers where the tattoo ink is present. Dermabrasion is a safe and protected technique but it must not ever be used by patients that suffer from bleeding disorders and keloid scars. It is best used for small size tattoos but is certainly not the right choice for tattoos that have bigger designs or patterns.

After a procedure of Dermabrasion, the skin can get red, swollen or sore. The treated area is covered immediately and needs to be protected from sun light and any kind of cosmetic products. The skin can take anywhere between a couple of weeks to a couple of months to heal completely.

There are several factors that decide the number of treatments you require to remove a tattoo such as the size, color, type of tattoo, the type of ink used and the location of the tattoo, also the ability of your skin to heal and time taken by it. Most of the tattoos take about 3 to 10 sessions for complete removal and the doctors recommend having treatments every 4 to 6 weeks.


Dermabrasion followed by Melanocyte Treatment

There are certain instances where the Dermabrasion technique of tattoo removal is followed by Melanocyte Treatment. This helps the removal of tattoo at a cellular level. After the process of Dermabrasion, Melanocytes and Keratinocytes are implanted into the patients through surgeries, those who have had tattoo removal or Vitiligo. A great deal of patients (as much as 90%) have benefitted from this two-fold treatment. They then undergo the session of phototherapy that helps in the creation of new cells and pigments within the tattoo area.

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