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Tattoo Removal FAQ's: Part One

gallery2Our role as the experts in Laser Tattoo Removal of Boulder County, Colorado has exposed us to an incredible number of people. For some time now, we’ve met some tattooed residents of Denver, Boulder, Louisville, Erie, Broomfield, Longmont, and Lafayette and listened to their stories.

Here’s what we learned:

Tattoo culture is as varied and nuanced as tattoos themselves. Some tattoos are filled with deep, personal significance. Some tattoos are the medium through which cultural heritage is celebrated.

Some tattoos are big fat mistakes. If you’ve got tattoos to lose, we’re here for you – and we don’t judge. We’ve seen it all: the dolphin on the ankle that doesn’t quite look like a dolphin, the impossibly lame barbed-wire around the bicep, the Chinese or Japanese characters that don’t mean what you think they mean, and a nearly constant stream of typos.

We’ve all been there. Tattoo mistakes don’t have to follow you forever anymore.

Also, it’s important to note that even though we just finished cracking jokes about bad tattoos … we don’t mean it. No matter what your situation, we will not be judging you or your ink choices. Our role in the process is simple, but we like to think it’s an honorable role, nonetheless.

If your tattoo has created regret and emotional trauma, we will help you defeat it.

If your tattoo didn’t turn out how you wanted, we will help you reclaim your skin as canvas for a superior artist.

If we’ve learned only one thing from our work, it’s that there are a hundred different reasons why someone wants to have a tattoo removed, and they’re all equally valid. Our job is to help you realize that goal safely and completely.

The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page is a time-honored tradition on the Internet – for good reason. When it comes to laser tattoo removal it makes perfect sense that you’d have questions.

That’s what we’re here for, though – to answer them in a way that is both clear and comforting.

So, after plenty of time spent listening to our patient’s questions, we’re ready to share with you the questions (and answers) that make the tattoo removal process a whole lot less frightening.

1) What is it going to cost?

Without a doubt, this is the first question we hear when people give us a call. The bottom line matters – and you have to decide whether or not undoing an unwanted tattoo is worth the expense.

Tattoo removal is many things – revolutionary, innovative, effective – but it is not, unfortunately, cheap. We would be more than happy to give you a free quote on the cost of tattoo removal in your case. Every tattoo removal is different. While we’re very candid about the fact that it will probably cost more to remove the tattoo than it did to have it applied, we’d encourage you to consider the value of our services.

It requires unique equipment and requires specialized training to operate. To that end, all tattoo removal companies – us included – try to strike a careful balance between keeping our prices competitive and keeping them sensible.

However, as this article promises clear answers, we’ll offer a few expectations regarding price:

  • It will cost at least $75 per square inch – per session
  • It may cost as much ten times what it cost to get the tattoo applied.
  • Pricing is usually calculated by square inch.
  • It will take multiple sessions to remove a tattoo via laser
  • Colored ink is more difficult to remove than black ink and may add to the cost as it will take longer to remove.
  • The cost, while it can be worrying, can be made affordable through a pay-as-you-go plan spread out over many months, or through the interest-free Advance Care Credit payment -program. We are flexible and will work with you because the treatments themselves have to be spread out as well.

Speaking of spreading out treatments …

2) How many sessions will be required to remove my tattoo?

We hear this one a lot. Bad tattoos are often impulsive decisions. Removing them will not be. Basically, everyone we talk to is worrying about that – and it makes sense, right? You’re desperate to get rid of your ink, and you’d like it to be over quickly.

Sometimes it’s because you’ve got a wedding coming up. Sometimes you’re considering enlisting in the military. Sometimes you simply made a bad call. Sometimes you ended up under the needle of what the community calls a “scratcher” and your tattoo didn’t turn out quite like you hoped.

It’s important for us that we set clear expectations for you. This won’t be a quick process. It depends on a lot of factors, of course, like your body’s natural ability to eliminate the ink and heal quickly, and the number of colors used in the tattoo. But regardless, it’s very possible that it will take up to or even over a year to completely eliminate your unwanted ink.

Sometimes it’s less – and we’ll give you a clearer picture when we’re talking specifics – but we don’t want you confused on this score. It’s a pretty big commitment. You may see slightly noticeable differences after the first treatment. Although, the ink may appear darker before it begins to lighten. It will also depend on how well your skin responds to the laser.

Here’s an important note:

Sometimes you’ll see advertisements from companies who promise that it will be faster. This isn’t because they do it better.

Let’s repeat that for emphasis: It isn’t because they do it better.

The process is slow for a reason. In order to allow your skin to heal and your immune system to flush out all of the ink broken up by the laser, we recommend at minimum eight full weeks between each session, and often 10-12 weeks is preferable. A company who is willing to put you through treatments more often than that is simply dangerous.

Rushing through laser tattoo removal will cause you undue pain and will put you at risk for permanent skin damage and other side effects, like scaring. We’ll discuss those at length in Part Two of this article.

At your initial consultation, we won’t be able to tell you precisely how long it’s going to take. What we can do is look at your tattoo and tell you how it should go. That assessment is based on our experience and training and is often very accurate.

It isn’t an exact science, but it is a science.

One tool tattoo removal specialists have to make an educated guess is the Kirby-Desai scale, which has been around since 2009. It takes into account the following factors when making a determination:

  • Skin type
  • Tattoo layering, such as in a cover-up
  • Whether the tattoo was professionally applied
  • Location of tattoo
  • Size of tattoo
  • History of Scarring

We will also recommend some lifestyle changes that will help the process go smoothly. That includes exercising, drinking as much water as you can, and paying attention to the aftercare process.

3) Will it hurt?

Oh, you had to know this one was coming. Ironic, considering that tattoos themselves are not known for being pain-free procedures. A potential patient asking “Will it hurt?” is an expected occurrence for us, no question.

Based on tons of patient interviews, we’re going to have to say yes, some degree of discomfort is going to happen. How much seems to vary, but it’s often compared and contrasted with the pain of getting a tattoo.

Most people seem to think it’s about the same.

It won’t be comfortable, but it won’t be unbearable. Here are a few ways we’ve heard the pain described by patients:

  • Having a rubber band repeatedly snapped against your skin
  • Actually getting a tattoo
  • Having someone scratch your sunburn

However, in the interest of openness, there are people out there who describe the pain more negatively, similar to a cigarette burn. On the other hand, there are also people who don’t describe the process as particularly painful at all. Pain tolerance is as individual as you are.

In our opinion, the people who are describing it as particularly bad pain are probably working with the wrong tattoo removal specialists. Our argument for that is that our patients rarely describe it as extremely painful. There are many ways to minimize your discomfort, ranging from icing the area before and after treatments, using cooling or soothing topical agents, using a topical anesthetic numbing cream, or using a chilling machine to numb the skin throughout the procedure.

Stay Tuned For Part Two

In Part Two we’ll dig deep into some more frequently asked questions about laser tattoo removal Boulder, Colorado. We’ll answer:

  • Will laser tattoo removal leave a scar?
  • Are you able to help with tattoo revision or fading before a cover-up?
  • What are the side effects of laser tattoo removal?
  • How does laser tattoo removal actually work?
  • And more!