10 Minutes (per session)
Laser Tattoo Removal
Approximately 30% of people in the United States have a tattoo. This percentage only continues to rise as tattoos become more acceptable and mainstream. While a person’s tattoos may hold deep significance to them, there are some reasons that people want to remove them. Whether it be due to a change in style, to further their career, or they simply do not want it anymore, laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective option to remove an unwanted tattoo. Northwest Face & Body provides the best laser tattoo removal Bellevue and Kirkland offers.
The Science Behind Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal uses a specialized, medical grade laser that uses pulses of light versus a steady stream of light like you might think of when considering a traditional laser. This pulsed light specifically targets the pigment of the tattoo ink, leaving the skin unharmed. When the laser reaches the tattoo, it causes the pigment to shatter into smaller fragments that your body slowly metabolizes.
New, more advanced Q-switch lasers, like the one at Northwest Face & Body, use extremely short pulses of life, often a fraction of a second. When looking at the particles a burst of laser heat energy can damage in this period, it only includes the smaller tattoo ink particles. The skin contains larger cells that would require longer exposure to the laser to become damaged.
Therefore, this is how laser tattoo has evolved, become less painful, and more effective throughout the years. It is still widely considered the best tattoo removal method.
History of Tattoo Removal
The process of removing tattoos has existed as long as tattoos themselves. Before laser technology developed, people used various techniques that were painful, sometimes dangerous, and may leave them permanently scarred or disfigured. What were some of these methods? Microdermabrasion with wire brushes or similar tools, chemicals like phenol and tannic acid, and even surgical removal.
Many of these ways to remove a tattoo came with great costs and sometimes even caused infections. It was not until the 1960s when the first laser removal occurred with a Q-switch laser. Laser tattoo removal became commercially viable in the 1990s. This revolutionized the way that tattoos were removed and made the process all around safer.
For people looking to remove or fade a tattoo, laser tattoo removal treatments offer many benefits and advantages. Some of which include:
- Uses the body’s natural healing process
- Safe and effective
- No scarring
- Topical numbing offered
- Can fade tattoo in preparation for a cover up
- Works on all sizes of tattoo
- Can treat a tattoo anywhere
- No downtime
- Few side effects
- Rarely, if ever, damages surrounding skin
- Treatment typically takes under an hour
- FDA approved
- Can treat all skin tones and skin types
Beyond the above benefits, many find more personal benefits. For example, going further in their career, erasing bad memories associated with the tattoo, or the ability to get a better cover up tattoo. Whatever your motivations, laser tattoo removal in Bellevue at Northwest Face & Body is the best and most effective solution.
Before And After Laser Tattoo Removal
At a laser tattoo removal consultation, your master esthetician will examine your tattoo. They look at the color of the ink, the age of the tattoo, and the surrounding skin. They will also want to know what your goals for treatment are. Do you want it completely removed? Do you just want to fade it? This is important to estimate the correct number of sessions you need. Sometimes, they may also recommend a patch test.
Your master esthetician will also discuss aspects of your lifestyle and medical history. After this brief conversation, they will determine if you are a good candidate for laser tattoo removal in Kirkland. Your master esthetician will then explain the procedure and give you a finalized price quote based on the size of your tattoo.
Laser Treatment Sessions
To start your laser tattoo removal session, your master esthetician will disinfect the tattoo and surrounding area with alcohol. They will then offer you topical numbing cream. While not required, it does make the process more comfortable. While you numb, your master esthetician will make the rest of the preparations for treatment.
After turning on and configuring the settings of the laser, your master esthetician will gently place the laser just above the tattoo. From here, they will deliver quick pulses of light to the pigment in the skin. You may feel some pain or discomfort. Many compare the discomfort to getting the tattoo. If you are concerned about the possible pain, discuss this with your master esthetician.
The amount of time the treatment takes depends on the size of your tattoo. It can range anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. On average, most Bellevue laser tattoo removal sessions take under an hour.
When your master esthetician finishes treatment, they will gently bandage the area. You should keep the bandage on for the rest of the day. Additionally, while you can immediately return to work, you will need to take some precautions and perform some aftercare. Standard instructions may include:
- Do not exercise or take part in activities that may cause sweating
- Avoid picking at scabs that form
- Do not swim or submerge the area; preferably wait to shower until a day or two after treatment
- Use caution when showering and do not let the water pressure directly hit the treated area
- Wear sunscreen for at least months following treatment
- Do not apply makeup, lotions, or other products to the area until healed
- Replace bandage for up to a week if instructed by your master esthetician
- May carefully apply moisturizer after a few days
- Limit sun exposure
Based on the size of your tattoo and the treatment regimen it calls for, your master esthetician may supply you with additional instructions. They will describe this to you during your session.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Tattoo Over Laser Removal?
Yes, it is actually quite common for even heavily tattooed people to undergo laser tattoo removal to fade an old tattoo so that they can place a new one on top of it. This is one of the advantages of needing multiple sessions. If you do not want or need your tattoo completely gone, Kirkland laser tattoo removal can achieve that.
If your goal is to tattoo over the tattoo you are removing, communicate this with your master esthetician during your consultation. This will help them build a specialized plan to accommodate your plans.
Are Old Tattoos Easier To Remove?
Generally, yes. Like the skin, tattoos age. The body slowly fades the ink over time and tattoos can appear distorted and faded after several years. These tattoos often respond well to treatment. However, if it is faded color ink, it may take more sessions or come with more risk.
Time uses the same bodily functions that laser tattoo removal takes advantage of. When you have laser tattoo removal in Kirkland, you are simply fragmenting the pigment and speeding up the process. This is why older tattoos may respond better to laser treatment than tattoos that are only a couple of years old.
How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?
Pain is subjective, so it depends from person to person. Though, most agree that the procedure does come with some amount of discomfort and pain. This is typically controlled with topical anesthetics. Most patients find it bearable and comparable to getting the tattoo. If you have a particularly large tattoo, you may consider splitting up the sessions for increased comfort.
Does Laser Tattoo Removal Leave Scars?
No, while it is technically possible for laser tattoo removal to cause scars, this is extremely rare. If you are prone to keloids or major scarring, you likely are not a candidate for laser tattoo removal. Since the laser only targets the pigment in the ink, this leaves the skin undamaged and therefore it does not scar. Under the circumstances of a well trained provider and a good candidate for the treatment, scarring is exceptionally rare and almost unheard of.
What Is The Cost Of Laser Tattoo Removal?
At Northwest Face & Body, laser tattoo removal costs $99 per business card size area per session. Your master esthetician can give you a better idea of the price once they see your tattoo in person during a consultation.
Northwest Face & Body does work with two outside financing companies: Care Credit and United Medical Credit. You can find more information and links to apply on our financing page.
The Best Laser Tattoo Removal In Bellevue And Kirkland At Northwest Face & Body
Northwest Face & Body is a renowned plastic surgery practice and medical spa in Kirkland, WA. Located minutes away from both downtown Kirkland and Bellevue, the beautiful, central location of Carillon Point, is perfect for serving the cosmetic needs of the entire Eastside and Greater Seattle area.
The master estheticians at Northwest Face & Body underwent extensive training in laser procedures, including laser tattoo removal. Using the safest and most effective techniques, they perform multiple tattoo removal procedures every week. In addition to laser tattoo removal, our master estheticians are skilled in laser hair removal, microneedling, IPL treatment, and chemical peels.
Watch The Tattoo Removal Process
Watch one of our amazing master estheticians perform laser tattoo removal.