When you have laser tattoo removal treatment, the laser uses extremely short pulses of light to target and heat up ink molecules, which then break into small enough particles that they can be flushed out of the body by your immune system.
This process can take anywhere from 8 to 24 months, depending on several variables. Our clients want to bid good riddance to a tattoo that is no longer meaningful to them, and in many cases, they are content to venture forth into the world, showing off and reveling in their unblemished skin.
In other cases, our clients want to lose one tattoo to allow another tattoo to take its place. The second tattoo comes with the benefit of hindsight – and wisdom – and even (depending on their mindset and age when they were first inked) – maturity.
Cringeworthy choices, changing tastes, and different romantic partners aren’t the only reason people want to create a blank slate and start their tattoo adventure from scratch. Unfortunately, although thoroughly trained and experienced tattoo artists can create masterpieces (we do love good tattoos!), inexperienced and untalented tattoo artists also exist. In other words, there are some truly awful tattoos out there–and people want a second chance to wear a work of art that they can be proud to show off.
Perhaps you are considering having a tattoo (or two) removed and are wondering how feasible it will be to replace it with something you prefer.
The good news is that you can definitely get a do-over. You just need to take some considerations into account.
1. Take your time
Wait until your skin has had time to thoroughly heal after the last of your laser tattoo removal sessions. Just as you had to let your body take the time to heal for at least 6 weeks between laser tattoo sessions, you also need to give it time between your last session and your new tattoo.
In general, you shouldn’t rush into anything. It may be that 6-8 weeks after your last session is sufficient, but it’s not uncommon for tattoo artists to suggest waiting 6 months before you get your new ink. Remember when you were young and your mom used to try to calm your impatience by saying, “All good things come to those who wait.”? (No? Was that just my mother?) Anyway, that old adage is true (Sorry, Mom…).
2. Do you have scarring?
Another consideration is the fact that you may be left with a little scarring after your tattoo removal.
This is extremely uncommon, occurring less than 1% of the time (a study from the National Institutes of Health found the prevalence of scarring after laser tattoo removal treatment to be .28% – less than a third of one percent).
Scarring can cause an uneven skin surface, which could cause uneven distribution of ink in your new tattoo. When skin is scarred, collagen proteins grow in the same direction, so the skin is not as elastic as normal skin.
Tattoos on scar tissue (which is thick and fibrous) can also be painful because the scar may rest on nerve endings. Remember that scarring is not inevitable, and there are many steps you can take to give your skin the best chance to heal. (You can read more about this in our blog: What Does the Laser Tattoo Removal Process Look Like?)
3. Find a great tattoo artist
You may not need your tattoo to be 100% invisible to replace it with another. But when it comes to deciding how faded your original tattoo needs to be for an effective cover-up, you should consult with your tattoo artist. Choose this professional with great care!
Read reviews online (on Yelp, local Facebook groups, or websites like tattooshopreviews.com).
Study the artist’s style by looking at examples of work on his or her website, on Instagram, or at their place of business.
Ask a friend or relative with a tattoo you admire to name the artist.
Check to see if the business is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (this simply means that they make a good-faith effort to respond to customer complaints).
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 can commit to anything, you can come in for a free consultation here at Ink-B-Gone, the leading laser tattoo removers in Colorado.
Or follow along for more helpful tips and guidance