We know through experience that the decision to have a pigmentation and / or tattoo removal is generally preceded by a long decision making process. With this information we would like to help you with this process, by advising you about the procedure itself and the possibilities and risks involved. This advice, does not however, replace the need for an extensive personal consultation with your surgeon who will thoroughly address your specific questions.
When is pigmentation and tattoo removal useful?
What is the aim of pigmentation and tattoo removal?
What do I have to consider before pigmentation and tattoo removal?
What do I have to consider after laser treatment?
What do I have to consider in terms of body care and fitness?
What are the possible risks with pigmentation and tattoo removal?
Which result can I expect after laser treatment and what are the chances of success?
Every person has a different skin surface. On the one hand, during the course of life, through environmental factors and exposure to sunlight and genetics; pigment spots, age spots, freckles or harmless pigmented moles can occur on the face, body, hands and legs. On the other hand, ill-considered and unanaesthetic tattoos can become a problem with time.
The aim of laser treatment is the removal of pigment spots or tattoos. Unfortunately, mostly only blue or black tattoos are effectively treatable.
Procedure. Through the use of a laser, the pigment is "shattered" and then transported away via the lymphatic vessels. The light energy penetrates the skin, where it normally causes no damage. On the way through the skin, the laser emits heat and creates a thermal skin reaction.
Treatment by laser is by no means entirely painless and therefore it is useful to treat the skin afterwards using so called "cool-packs” or cold wet towels, as these may relieve any irritation in the treated areas.
In general, several laser sessions are necessary in order to achieve a satisfactory outcome. A gap of several weeks should ideally be maintained between sessions.
Type of anaesthesia. A narcosis or local anaesthetic is not necessary. An anaesthetic skin ointment or an anaesthetic numbing spray may be applied 1 hour prior to treatment.
Before the laser treatment. The treated skin area should be very pale, as tanned skin can react and cause side effects such as burns. This means there should be no remaining tanning from holidays, a tanning salon or tanning lotions. Furthermore, the treated skin should be free from all cosmetics and make-up and there must also be no infection in the area to be treated.
Cooling. After laser treatment, there usually is a slight swelling and a visible reddening of the skin; therefore it is advisable to continue the cooling therapy at home after the treatment. In order to avoid possibilities of cold burns, the pack should be intermittently removed from the treated area. Swelling and redness will decrease, depending on the sensitivity of the skin, after a few hours to a few days. The treated areas of the pigmentation or tattoo will appear temporarily darker for a short while, before they build slight superficial crusts which will fall off after 10 to 14 days.
Showering is allowed straight after the treatment, although hot baths and the use of the sauna should be avoided for 10 days. Make-up may be used on the day of treatment but direct sun exposure, tanning beds and tanning lotions should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks after treatment, or until the crust has fallen off, otherwise pigment defects (light or dark spots) may appear in the treated area.
No procedure is without risk. Even though the likelihood of possible reactions and complications are very low, we would still like to inform you that with the removal of freckles, moles and tattoos there may be a possible reaction to the anaesthetic ointment or the anaesthetic numbing spray, where a swelling, and occasionally, blistering may occur. There are risks of pigmentation disorders where the end result is either too dark or too light and an infection of the treated area may occur, which could result in wound healing disorders as well as scarring. With further sun exposure, pigment spots could reoccur, which are again, treatable with this procedure.
Flawless skin. Pigment spots, as well as freckles, moles or age spots can be easily treated with laser treatment, and can usually completely or at least partially be removed in just a few treatment sessions. Tattoos require, depending on the depth and the amount of colour, significantly more treatment sessions. Overall with laser treatment, the results meet expectations.
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