laser tattoo removal aftercare
The stages of tattoo removal healing
The removal session typically lasts a few minutes, depending on the tattoo’s size. On average, removing a tattoo takes one to five minutes, similar to the time it would take to cover it with a highlighter.
What occurs during the tattoo removal process?
How the Laser Works
This process removes ink using your immune system. Ink particles get trapped in small pockets in your dermis when you get a tattoo. Your immune system has been trying to remove the ink since you first had the tattoo. Your body sees the tattoo as a foreign object and tries eliminating it. However, the ink particles are too big for the immune system to handle without laser treatment.
The laser targets ink particles and breaks them up. Your immune system then eliminates these smaller particles. White blood cells absorb the ink particles and transport them through the body’s lymphatic system. Most particles are excreted through digestion, while some can be passed through sweat or urine.
The process of how lasers break down ink
The impact of the laser on the surrounding tissue
Laser technicians are skilled at using specific wavelengths of light that specifically target tattoo ink. When treated by a competent technician at a reputable facility, there is no risk of damaging the surrounding tissue. This process, known as selective photothermolysis, ensures that the laser’s energy is solely attracted towards the ink particles, leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed.
The significance of aftercare
Following aftercare instructions is crucial for achieving the desired results in tattoo removal. It is a collaborative effort between Think Again as the treatment experts and you as the preparation and aftercare expert. Laser therapy is only the initial step in the removal process. Your results will improve if you properly care for your tattoo before and after laser treatment.
Your body’s natural healing and ink clearance processes improve when you maintain overall health. Avoid or limit toxins like nicotine and alcohol as they burden the immune system. Stay active, drink fluids, and stimulate the lymphatic and vascular systems to help remove ink from your bloodstream.
What can be expected following laser treatment?
During laser treatment of a tattoo, whitening (or frosting) of the ink can be observed. This occurs when the laser shatters the ink and results from the heat energy released from the breakdown of ink particles. The frosting is temporary, typically lasting only a few minutes, and will likely have disappeared before leaving the clinic.
After the frosting is gone, the skin may become red and warm, similar to sunburn, and this sensation can last for a few hours to a few days.
After laser treatments, swelling is joint as your body reacts and tries to immobilise the area. Larger tattoos swell more than small ones. Lower limbs and extremities, with poor circulation, are more prone. Swelling often follows gravity and may descend a limb over time. It’s normal and will resolve naturally.
Bruising is a common side effect of laser tattoo removal, especially in sensitive areas like the ribs and inner bicep. This normal reaction typically lasts one to two weeks and requires no concern.
What is the proper aftercare for a tattoo after laser removal?
After your treatment at our clinic, your tattoo will be covered with a soothing gel and a sterile dressing. In certain situations, we may only apply a gel without a dressing. Following this, you should.
- After treatment, it is important to ice the area as soon as possible. Repeat this several times within the next 48 hours. Cooling down the area will improve your tattoo’s feel, appearance, and response in the coming days. You can use covered ice packs over the dressing or directly on the skin, alternating every 15 minutes. If the tattoo is on your arm or leg, elevate it while icing. Doing this frequently in the first 24 hours will reduce swelling and discomfort.
- The dressing should be removed within a few hours, either when the gel comes out, before taking a shower, or before going to bed, whichever comes first.
- After removing the bandage, gently clean the area with water and dry it by patting. Avoid using soaps or lotions on your tattoo while it’s healing. Apply Aloe Vera gel twice daily for the first 48 hours after treatment. This will soothe the area and prevent itching. Store the Aloe Vera gel in the refrigerator for added relief. You don’t need another bandage after removing the original one. However, you can apply another bandage if your tattoo rubs against clothing or shoes. If you choose this option, apply Aloe Vera Gel under the bandage and remove it regularly following the above guidelines.
- Following treatment, it is recommended to rest and elevate your tattoo within the first 24 hours to aid in the healing process and reduce discomfort and swelling. If you experience localised discomfort, you may take over-the-counter pain relief medications like paracetamol (as directed on the packaging). It is advisable to avoid aspirin or ibuprofen, as they can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
- After your tattoo treatment, you may notice some light scabbing on your skin. These scabs result from the fractional laser used during the treatment to aid healing. They may feel rough like sandpaper and can last up to 2 weeks in areas with less circulation. It is crucial to avoid picking at these scabs. Let them naturally fall off, and your skin will become smooth again.
- After getting a tattoo, you might notice some oozing in the days following the treatment. This is normal, especially for larger tattoos, and is caused by swelling. The oozing will come out through the small holes created by the fractional laser. It helps prevent blistering and aids in the healing process. If needed, gently dry the oozing and cover it with a bandage to protect your clothes.
After the skin has completely healed and any scabs or crusts have gone away, it is advisable to regularly apply a moisturiser like Vitamin E. This will help enhance skin hydration, minimise itchiness, and aid ongoing healing and soothing.
You are expected to feel an itching on your tattoo during the healing process. This is normal as your body removes the ink particles, and it can also indicate dehydration. To alleviate itching, avoid scratching and use a moisturising cream like Vitamin E. Additionally, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. In severe cases, you can apply a 1% Hydrocortisone ointment or take oral antihistamines.
Once the broken skin has healed, you can apply make-up to the tattoo.
What are the recommended steps for blisters after a laser treatment?
You may experience blistering after your laser treatment. This is normal and can happen on large tattoos or areas with low circulation. Proper aftercare can treat and heal blisters, leaving the skin intact.
If blisters form:
- It is recommended to avoid puncturing them and to continue applying ice for up to 48 hours after treatment. This can help reduce discomfort and, in some cases, aid in their complete subsidence or re-absorption.
- If the blisters rupture (spontaneously or unintentionally), apply an antibacterial ointment or liquid multiple times throughout the day and cover with a dressing or bandage. Maintain this routine until at least 48 hours after the blisters have burst.
If there are any signs of crusting, scabbing, or oozing from the blisters.
- It is important to avoid picking at the affected area or causing any damage to the skin, as this can lead to infection and scarring. Refraining from shaving the area until it has fully healed is also recommended.
- To treat the area, apply antibacterial ointment or liquid multiple times daily and cover it with a dressing or bandage.
- Repeat this process daily until any crusting, scabbing, or oozing has disappeared.
Although rare, a tattoo can become infected if it develops blisters. Suppose you notice signs of infection, such as a temperature over 38°C, increasing pain, honey-coloured oozing, or increasing redness spreading from the area. In that case, is it essential to contact us immediately or visit
What should I avoid after laser tattooing?
- After treatment, avoid excessive heat on your skin for at least 48 hours. This includes activities like baths, saunas, spas, and heated yoga. It also has hot conditions in your work environment, such as a commercial kitchen or bakery. Protect your healing tattoo from heat to prevent blisters. After laser treatment may take up to 2 days for the heat to dissipate from your body, particularly for large tattoos.
- It is recommended to refrain from submerging your tattoo in water, including baths, saunas, spas, pools, and the ocean, while any scabbing is present. If you choose to swim or surf, it is essential to limit your time in the water, avoid sun exposure, gently dry the tattoo afterwards, and follow any other instructions provided.
Showering on the day of your treatment is recommended, but avoiding exposing the tattoo to very hot or high-pressure water is essential. During the first 48 hours after showering, reapply ice and Aloe Vera gel after treatment.
- Avoid sun exposure during the healing and ongoing treatment, especially in the first four weeks after treatment. Sun exposure can cause blistering and abnormal pigmentation. This includes tanning beds and other forms of artificial tanning. If you must be in the sun, cover your tattoo or use SPF50+ sunscreen. The effectiveness of each tattoo treatment increases with paler skin.
- Avoiding excessive exercise within the first 48 hours after treatment is recommended to allow heat to dissipate from the body and minimise the risk of blistering and swelling. Gentle exercise is acceptable, but it is essential to reapply ice to your tattoo after exercising, especially if it is significant.
- To ensure the best results, taking precautions and adequately caring for your skin before and after tattoo removal is essential to avoid any potential injury or damage.
Tattoo removal depends on you and your laser technician
Following proper aftercare instructions after each laser treatment session is essential for efficiently removing unwanted tattoos. The healing process may take time as it relies on your immune system, but you can ensure a smoother recovery by being diligent with your aftercare.
Before selecting a tattoo removal clinic for your laser treatment sessions, it is recommended that you conduct thorough research. It is essential to determine if the clinic utilises the most advanced laser technology and if the removal technician possesses the necessary certifications. Reviewing feedback on the clinic’s website and other platforms, such as Google, can provide valuable insights.
We provide a complimentary consultation without any obligations. Come and experience our facility, have a conversation with our experts, and address any inquiries you may have before making a decision.