Tattoos are permanent, but that’s the intention when you get inked right? For decades celebrities have made inking trendy and more importantly; casual. Every few months or so, an influencer on social media adds to their collection of tattoos, giving tattooing an unrealistic reputation as easy, fun and forever.
It’s not easy, it’s actually extremely painful. They say it’s fun, but fun is usual more forgiving, this is anything but. And I don’t think I need to go into the whole forever thing… nothing is forever. If your feelings towards your tattoo don’t change, a gentle reminder that your skin will and so does the precision and beauty of the tattoo itself…
Interestingly you would have assumed that the rise in popularity of the tattoo would lead to the rise of improved techniques of tattoo removal, not so.
When you tattoo yourself, you are injecting large, heavy metal, colored particles into your skin. In order to remove the tattoo at a later stage, a laser is used to break up these large particles. Once they are a manageable size for your white blood cells to attack, they are flushed out of the system through the liver.
So, what do you need to know…. The laser used to remove the tattoo is similar in technique to that of a hair removal laser machine. It is painful and it takes up to 8 sessions, around 15 months to be completely rid of your tattoo.
Like with any heat machine, heat is attracted to dark colors more, so although dark colored tattoos are easier to zap. Dark colored skin is more sensitive to laser and more prone to burning and scarring. Each laser session needs to be followed by around a month of down time, which is why the removal process is excruciatingly long.
One last thing to keep in mind when getting inked.. Lighter tattoo colors, such as yellow, green and blue are extremely difficult to remove. Because they are lighter in color, there is less color contrast which makes the laser less effective.
Perhaps the most important element to take into consideration when considering the removal of a tattoo is its timeline. It takes months and perhaps years to remove permanent ink from one’s skin. In 2018 Victoria Beckham finally rid herself of the linear tattoo down the nape of her neck, something she had been gently fading since 2015. The longer the time the less harsh the process, the more time the skin has to heal, and the less likely there will be permanent scarring. Happy inking!