What is Laser Tattoo Removal?
Laser tattoo removal is one of the best ways to reduce unwanted pigment from the skin. Although there are other methods to remove tattoos like bleaching creams or excision, most patients prefer quick, non-surgical results. At Jupiter Dermatology, we prefer laser tattoo removal for reduction in unwanted pigment using the PiQo4 Laser system, which is one of the most advanced and effective technologies available for laser treatments and one of the newest tattoo removal techniques. Using this system, we can effectively break down pigment to be absorbed into the body.
Why are Laser Techniques the Best Tattoo Removal Method?
Although most patients have heard of tattoo laser removal, there are many other options to remove or reduce tattoos that are not always endorsed by dermatologists. This is because these tattoo removal methods are either not as effective or not as safe as laser techniques (or both). Some of these include the use of tattoo removal cream, which can require regular use of bleaching products for months or years and are usually advised against by the FDA, or other various at-home treatments like salabrasion, which unsafely removes skin and puts patients at risk for tattoo removal scars or infection. Although surgical excision can be a safer option, it can require skin grafts and a recovery period for best results. For these and many other reasons, Dr. Mejia promotes laser techniques as the best and most effective tattoo removal process to reduce and remove unwanted pigmentation using the PiQo4 laser.
What Is the PiQo4 Laser?
PiQo4 is the most versatile and powerful tattoo removal laser machine on the market, with 4 wavelengths that allow for treatment of every colored ink. Our laser allows for both Nanosecond and Picosecond pulse technology using multiple pulse durations. This allows for treatment of the most high-quality ink colors of any pico laser available. Also, having the largest spot size of any other laser (15mm) means we can treat a tattoo much faster. Using a larger spot size allows the energy to penetrate deeper into the skin which means we can treat the tattoo at all levels. This increases patient compliance and patient satisfaction. Deeper penetration also means less chance of ghosting.
The PiQo4 laser offers many benefits over other lasers. In fact, the PiQo4 can treat the nine most common ink colors, allowing patients with brightly-colored tattoos to see fading with fewer treatments. Patients can expect up to 40% fewer treatments than they would need using other lasers.
Can the PiQo4 System Treat Other Pigmentation?
The PiQo4 is also the best laser on the market for advanced pigmented lesions, including melasma, and is safe on all skin types for photo fractional treatments. When used for skin rejuvenation, patients with pigmentation issues can achieve a more even skin tone using this laser. Skin problems like vascular lesions and acne scarring can also be improved. In short, patients with most kinds of unwanted pigmentation can find great results after treatment with our PiQo4 system.
Who Is A Candidate?
Although a consultation with our dermatologists is the best way to determine how you can benefit from laser tattoo removal, the best candidates usually meet the following criteria:
- You have skin with unwanted pigmentation from a tattoo, aging, sun damage, or scarring
- You are not pregnant or breastfeeding
- You have no active skin conditions like cancerous lesions
- You have no history of keloid scarring
- You do not have any conditions that might prevent successful recovery
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?
The PiQo4 treatment is a simple and straightforward one. A topical numbing cream can be applied to the treatment area prior to treatment to ensure your comfort and reduced tattoo removal pain. Then, the laser handpiece is passed over the treatment area and the very fast pulses of energy break up the pigment into smaller and smaller particles, which are gradually disposed of by the body. This process usually takes about 20 minutes to complete, with no downtime needed.
What Can I Expect After Laser Tattoo Removal?
After a treatment session, you can return to your scheduled activities immediately. It’s important to follow your tattoo removal aftercare instructions provided by Dr. Mejia, however, which includes using certain skincare products like antibiotics and a light, unscented moisturizer to keep your treatment area healthy and facilitate recovery. You should also take steps to ensure the treatment area is not exposed to sunlight for up to three months, and this should include regular use of sunscreen and UV-blocking clothing. Laser treatments cause the skin to become photosensitive, meaning sunburn and UV exposure can cause hyperpigmentation or scarring. Many patients who undergo laser tattoo removal experience redness, swelling, and blistering for the first day or more, but this usually subsides.
Scheduling Your Consultation
The best way to begin your laser tattoo removal treatment is through a consultation with our dermatologists who can analyze your tattoo or pigmentation and determine the best treatment plan for you. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mejia at Jupiter Dermatology, contact our Jupiter office by calling or filling out our online form.
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How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
The cost of your laser tattoo removal package will vary because of many different factors. These include things like:
- The number of treatment sessions
- The size of your tattoo
- The colors that make up your tattoo
- The age of your tattoo
- The depth of your tattoo
These factors all affect how long your treatment sessions will be and how many you might require, and thus the cost of your package. During your consultation with Dr. Mejia, you will receive a full estimate of your laser tattoo removal prices.
How many treatments will I need?
This will also be affected by many different factors and your unique tattoo, but you may require as few as 2-3 treatments or as many as 8-10. We generally recommend a waiting period of a few weeks or more between sessions to give your skin time to heal and absorb the broken-up pigment. However, this can be highly individual based on your tattoo or pigmentation, and Dr. Mejia can give you the best idea of what to expect during a consultation.
Where does the ink from my tattoo go after laser treatments?
Tattoos work by placing layered pigment within the deep layers of the skin. However, your body naturally recognizes it as foreign material but is unable to naturally absorb it because the individual particles are too large. When laser techniques break up the particles into even smaller ones, the skin can then absorb it using its natural defenses and expel it through the body’s waste systems.
Is this process safe?
Although laser tattoo removal is safe when performed by a board certified dermatologist, it’s difficult to determine whether you might be prone to complication or allergic reaction without an individual consultation. Certain laser systems may be more optimal for your tattoo, pigment type, and skin type, so you should consult Dr. Mejia who can give a professional recommendation.
What should I look for when considering laser tattoo removal near me?
In theory, any medical provider can perform laser tattoo removal, but it’s important to seek out a board certified dermatologist who can recommend the best treatment for your unique skin. During your consultation, be sure to ask for credentials and laser tattoo removal before and after photos so that you know what to expect. As with any cosmetic procedure, you should consider your chosen dermatologist’s skills and experience before the cost of your treatment package.