Moreover, a person might regret having had a tattoo and want to remove it because he/she is unhappy with the outcome, or because it was not performed on the desired area, or because its image or text might not express him/her any more.
No matter which is the dominant reason that leads one to remove a tattoo, there is a solution. The only expert to offer it is the Dermatologist, either for consultation purposes or for applying a personalised treatment, as each tattoo is unique and requires an individualized treatment. Many tattoo removal methods have been tried up to this day, which involve the chemical destruction of the pigment by using substances such as acetic acids (e.g., TCA), dermabrasion, diathermy, cryosurgery, or the physical removal of the pigment and the surrounding skin by surgical excision and the subsequent skin grafting with in order to cover the scars. The latter is a surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia. The particular method’s advantage is that the tattoo can be completely removed in one session. Its major drawback, however, is that the surrounding skin is damaged resulting in a scar the size of the tattoo. It also requires the patient having a very elastic skin that can be stretched and sutured under tension, otherwise the area will require skin grafting. The aforementioned tattoo removal methods lead to bad aesthetic results, such as scars, or irregular pigmentations, and a burn that requires a lot of time to be healed.
In the past 20 years, laser revolutionized a variety of Dermatology treatments and aesthetic procedures. Laser is now the ideal treatment for removing tattoos, with excellent aesthetic results without burns or unsightly scars.
The number of sessions that will be required to remove a tattoo varies depending on the size of the tattoo and the extent of skin it occupies, the depth to which the tattoo pigment extends, the quantity of the tattoo pigment and the type of the material. Moreover, elements such as whether the tattoo is recent or old, whether it is applied by a professional or not, as well as the color of the skin will determine the number of required sessions. Intervals between sessions are designed in a way that will allow patient’s body to eliminate the decomposed pigments. An indicative time is approximately 5 to 6 weeks. The total number of sessions required to fully remove a tattoo will be determined by the Dermatologist who will take into account all the aforementioned factors.
Each tattoo pigment has a specific light absorption spectrum. A tattoo laser must be capable of emitting adequate energy within the given absorption spectrum of the pigment in order to provide an effective treatment. For instance, gray, blue and black are better decomposed at 1064 nm, while red and orange at 532 nm. This requires a special laser that will emit at the required wavelength. The lasers used for other cosmetic treatments, such as hair removal, treatment of spider veins, or skin rejuvenation, are not suitable for tattoo removal. The darkest pigments, such as black, blue and gray are easier to be treated, while lighter pigments such as yellow, orange, red, light green, white and phosphorescent or pastels are significantly more difficult to be removed, whereas they require more sessions. The most specialized tattoo removal lasers are the Q-Switch laser Alexandrite and the Q-Switch Nd Yag.
During the treatment, the device’s head gradually scans the entire tattoo. As the beam targets the pigment which absorbs energy, the patient may experience mild pain or a “burn” sensation. A topical anesthetic cream is applied prior to any laser tattoo removal treatment. The tattoo gets lighter and lighter after each session, which means that the laser beam is selectively absorbed by the pigment. The side effects are minimal, and they involve possible appearance of blood (where pigments are stronger) and irritation (redness and local edema), which require topical treatment by the Dermatologist, but subside relatively quickly.
It is very important for the patient to take good care of the treated area. It may require using a topical cream for the next days and sunscreen for sun protection. Over the next weeks the body will be mobilized to drain the waste products from the pigment decomposition, and the tattoo will gradually disappear.
Tattoos that have not been effectively removed by other treatments may respond well to laser therapy, providing prior treatment has not caused excessive scarring or skin damage.
The cost for laser tattoo removal depends on the size of the tattoo, its location, color, type (performed by a professional tattooist or amateur) and the depth of the pigments, which will determine how easy and quick the removal will be. All these factors will be estimated by the Dermatologist prior to treatment. In Cosmetic Derma Medicine we have the special Q-Switched Laser, which promises the best results in tattoo removal without leaving disturbing scars, abnormal pigmentation or burn marks.
The price for tattoo removal starts at €50 per session (for a small-sized tattoo) and increases depending on the tattoo’s size, location and the difficulty it may present. The cost for tattoo removal will be adjusted to the number of sessions required, or the treatment package selected.
Cosmetic Derma Medicine is a specialized clinic that offers the most up-to-date lasers for cosmetic, clinical and dermatological treatments. It is considered one of the best clinics for tattoo removal, with a large number of cases in Athens, visited by many patients from all over Greece and abroad.