QX-MAX Tattoo Removal

Some things like wine get better with age. Human skin isn’t one of them. So what does that say about the large dragon tattoo that covers your back? It may look like a dragon today, but in 30 years, it could look more like a jellyfish. Tattoos are popular, especially with Millennials, ages 18 to 29. But sometimes the wearer of a tattoo wants to remove the ink. Removing a tattoo used to be a formidable exercise that involved either serious dermabrasion (think sanding the skin with a diamond-tipped wheel) or even surgical excision. Those methods left a scar in place of the tattoo. Today, our QX-Max Fotana laser can break down the actual ink in the tattoo, removing it in a series of sessions. If you have second thoughts about a tattoo, let us remove it for you at Remington Laser Dermatology Centre.


What is Tattoo Removal?

 

The ink in professional and amateur tattoos is imbedded into the lower levels of the skin and there is no standardization to the depth or type of ink that is used. The QX-MAX Fotona laser has nanotechnology to break down the pigmentation without penetrating the top layer of the skin. The energy of the laser “shatters” the pigmentation deep below the skin, breaking in into small fragments that the body can then remove through natural processes.


How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

When we direct the energy from our QX-Max Fotana laser down onto the tattoo ink, the pigment in the tattoo absorbs the laser energy. This energy breaks up the pigment into small particles. The laser energy creates an inflammatory response in the skin where white blood cells are sent to the area, in this case, the tattooed skin. The white blood cells then remove the ink particles over the next few weeks.


Who Is A Candidate For Laser Tattoo Removal?

Really anyone who has a tattoo is a good candidate for laser tattoo removal at Remington Laser Dermatology Centre. You do need to wait for at least one month after the tattoo is initially created so that the skin can settle down.

The real question of candidacy is to understand that these procedures involve a certain amount of pain. This can obviously be dictated by the location of your tattoo. We apply topical numbing cream prior to your laser session, but you’ll still feel some pain. Afterwards, you’ll need to apply ice to mitigate this.

You also need to think in multiple sessions. Different ink colors respond better to laser energy than others. Complete removal can take from 3-12 sessions, so you wouldn’t want to partially remove a tattoo and then not finish the series.

Good candidates for these treatments cannot have open sores or skin infections.


Preparing For Your Laser Tattoo Removal At Remington Laser

You need to limit sun exposure for a month prior to your session. Remember, you want to make it easy for the laser to differentiate between your skin tone and the tattoo inks. Avoid shaving, waxing, or exfoliating for a week or so before your appointment, as well. Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatories, or herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.


What To Expect During My Laser Tattoo Removal Session

When you come in for your treatment, we’ll usually apply a topical anesthetic. This needs 30-45 minutes to fully numb your skin. Next, we match the laser wavelength to the pigment in the tattoo. For instance, one session we may target all the black. Another it may be blue or red. Once the light wavelength is set, we give you a pair of protective eyeglasses and get to work. The laser delivers extremely short pulses (measured in billionths of a second) of energy through the handpiece as it is held close to the skin. We work our way across the outlines of the tattoo delivering repeated short pulses until the area is covered. The length of your appointment will depend on the size of the tattoo.


Is Laser Tattoo Removal Painful?

Most of our patients say that getting the tattoo was more painful than removing it. They equate the feeling to that of having a rubber band snapped on the skin with each pulse of the laser.

We apply an ice pack immediately after your treatment, followed by antibiotic cream and a bandage. You’ll probably want to continue icing for a bit when you get home.


Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment

The treatment is like taking off layers of an onion and must be done in a systematic fashion. The laser is most effective for blue-black tattoos, and is less effective for green, red, and yellow tattoos. White or beige coloured ink has the risk of “oxidizing” to a rust brown color, therefore we often discourage treatment when these pigments are present. Sometimes a combination of laser wavelengths will be required to create the best cosmetic result. The removal technique involves focusing a special form of laser light over the entire surface area of the tattoo. Usually it feels like someone shuffling across the carpet and giving you a small shock, but larger and darker tattoos can be more painful. A topical anesthetic can be applied one to two hours before the laser treatment prior to coming to the office.

The number of treatments required for optimal improvement depends on the size, location, depth and color of your tattoo. Treatments should be spaced a minimum of 1-3 months apart to allow your body to remove the maximum amount of tattoo pigment in between treatment sessions. Treatment sessions usually take 10-30 minutes. You will continue to see a lightening of your tattoo after each treatment as your body disposes of more pigment. Some tattoos only require 4-5 treatments, while others need 6-12 sessions or more.


How Many Treatments Will I Need To Completely Remove My Tattoo?

The number of sessions required for our lasers to remove your tattoo is based on a few things: size, color, type of ink used, and the age of the tattoo. Color is the main determinant, as is the density of that color. Different colors require different wavelengths. Black and red are the easiest colors to remove; turquoise is the most difficult single color to target. All tattoos have layers of ink that are stacked on top of each other within the skin. Shaded areas clear more quickly because those areas have a lower ink density. Older tattoos can be removed with fewer treatments than newer tattoos.

Once we see your tattoo, we can give you a better idea, but expect from 3-12 treatments to fully remove it. These treatments need to be spaced about seven weeks apart.


Can All Tattoos Be Fully Removed With Lasers?

As noted above, there are many variables in every tattoo. The majority of tattoos respond very well to our laser removal treatments. All tattoos can be lightened, usually dramatically, but there can remain a slight ghost of the tattoo after the final treatment session. The patient’s immune system plays a role, responding to the inflammation of the laser energy and removing the broken down tattoo color particles. We can’t guarantee that all tattoos can be removed, but we’ll do everything we can to lighten them as much as possible.

 


Recovery From Laser Tattoo Removal Sessions

Immediately after your session, the tattoo typically turns a frosty white color. This is caused by the release of carbon dioxide as the laser penetrates the skin. We apply an ice pack and you’ll probably want to do that when you get home as well. You’ll probably want to take some Tylenol to sooth discomfort. Within eight hours and continuing for the next three days the treated tattooed skin will begin to peel or blister. The skin can crust and scab. It’s important to keep the area covered with antibiotic cream and a bandage. In 1-2 weeks all crusting and scabbing should fully resolve.

You need to wait from 6-8 weeks between sessions. That is necessary to let your body’s white blood cells get to work removing the fractured ink particles.


Are There Side Effects With Laser Tattoo Removal?

The ink in professional and amateur tattoos is imbedded into the lower levels of the skin and there is no standardization to the depth or type of ink that is used. The QX-MAX Fotona laser has nanotechnology to break down the pigmentation without penetrating the top layer of the skin. The energy of the laser “shatters” the pigmentation deep below the skin, breaking in into small fragments that the body can then remove through natural processes.


Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about the QX-MAX Tattoo Removal procedure, contact Remington Laser Dermatology Centre today. To contact Dr. Kent Remington, call 403-252-7784. To call Dr. Todd Remington, call 403-255-1633.

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Our Office

Remington Laser Dermatology Centre

150 - 7220 Fisher Street SE
Calgary, AB T2H 2H8

Dr. Kent Remington ( Mon – Wed )

Tel: 403.252.7784 | Fax: 403 259 5245

Dr. Todd Remington ( Mon – Fri )

Tel: 403.255.1633 | Fax: 403 259 5245

Dr. Sharon Hackett ( Wed – Fri )

Tel: 403.255.1633 | Fax: 403 259 5245

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