Before addressing whether tattoo removal scars go away, it is essential to let you know that tattoo removal scars are extremely rare. Don’t assume you will be left with scars after your laser tattoo removal sessions! There are plenty of things that we do – and that you can do – to make sure that your skin heals completely. Before you read any further, take a look at the photos in our Before and After gallery.
Did you look? No scars! People who expect scars may be thinking back to the early days of tattoo removal; unfortunately, not only were methods then mostly ineffective, but they were also painful and dangerous. For example, dermabrasion (scrubbing layers of skin off with rough objects) and salabrasion (scrubbing layers of skin off with salt) both exposed people to the risk of infection and subsequent scarring.
Since Q-switched lasers became available for commercial use in the 1990s, the incidence of scarring has been dramatically reduced. These lasers pulse light energy that breaks down ink particles without affecting the surrounding skin. And the pulses from the PicoWay laser last only one trillionth of a second!
What We Do at Ink-B-Gone to Lessen the Chances of Scarring:
- We have the best technology available.
- We use both the Quanta EVO laser and the PicoWay laser.
- We are experts in our field.
- We only hire certified laser technicians. (This isn’t necessarily true of other tattoo removal establishments in Colorado, by the way.)
- Our owner and founder, Shelley Novello, hand-trains each technician and requires that they work under her supervision for a full year before treating anyone on their own.
- We are very experienced: In the past 16 years, we have performed over 70,000 treatments on over 20,000 clients.
What You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of Scarring:
Keep a healthy immune system before, during, and after your laser tattoo removal sessions:
- Don’t smoke.
- Drink lots of water (hydration is important).
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid stress.
- Eat nutritious foods, such as fish rich in omega-3 fats, citrus fruits with vitamin C, almonds, sunflower seeds (both have vitamin E), garlic, ginger, turmeric, and vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and spinach.
Follow after-care instructions:
- Apply cold compresses or ice packs to the area (on and off) for the first day.
- Don’t swim or soak in hot tubs or bathtubs for a few days.
- Avoid high-pressure sprays in the shower (it’s okay to shower, though!)
- Don’t scratch or try to pop any blisters that may form.
- Keep the treated area out of the sun as much as possible after your sessions, and always use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50.
In the Rare Case that Scarring Occurs…
Keloid scars and hypertrophic scarring
- Hypertrophic scarring is a thick raised scar at the site of the trauma. It can often fade with time.
- Keloid scars are bumpy and shiny and can extend beyond the site of the trauma. In those who are prone to them, they can appear months after the wound occurs and can continue to grow.
- Both hypertrophic and keloid scars are caused when the body produces extra collagen to heal a wound. We just want to say once more that this is rare. One study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that after tattoo removal using a Q-switched laser, the incidence of hypertrophic scarring was .28% (that’s 3/1,041) and 0% for keloid scarring.
That being said, even a small risk is still a risk. If you have a history (or your family has a history) of forming keloid scars, please let us know at your consultation because you will be more at risk for developing these types of scars. They are more common in those with black or brown skin and in people who are under the age of 30.
- You should always ask for advice at the time, but silicone sheets or gel are often used to flatten hypertrophic and keloid scars.
- Doctors sometimes recommend applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the area and wrapping it with a nonadhesive flexible pad several times a day.
- Aloe vera is one home remedy that can reduce the appearance of scars. It can improve skin texture and encourage the regeneration of new skin cells. An added benefit – you can apply it straight from a cut-off piece of the actual plant. There is no need to spend money on an expensive aloe vera ointment.
- Vitamin E has long been the superhero of home remedies for reducing the appearance of scars. Does it work? Honestly, there aren’t any scientific studies to support that. However, applying it to the skin won’t hurt – and it can moisturize your skin, which is never a bad thing.
- Moisturizers won’t reduce scars, but by hydrating your skin, you may make scars less noticeable.
Keep in mind: you should not apply any ointments or creams until well after your skin has completely healed from your sessions.
Immediately after each session, you need only to follow our aftercare instructions – and we do not recommend covering the area at all. You should also avoid any ointments or creams because your skin needs to breathe, and the heat needs to escape in order to avoid the formation of heat blisters.
Every person and every tattoo is different, so ask our experts!
When you’re ready to look into laser tattoo removal, it’s important to find a professional and expert technician you trust. Before you commit to anything, you can come in for a free consultation here at Ink-B-Gone, the leading laser tattoo removers in Colorado. We are conveniently located in Denver, but many of our clients visit us from out of state.
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