Procedure Time: 10 Minutes
Recovery Time: None
The Best Laser Tattoo Removal in Seattle, Bellevue & Kirkland
Tattoos are likely just slightly older than tattoo removals in the history of human invention. We are fortunate to live in a time where professional laser tattoo removal has replaced the crude (and ineffective) methods of tattoo removal used in the past.
Professional Tattoo Removal at The Gallery of Cosmetic Surgery
Here at The Gallery of Cosmetic Surgery, we are happy to offer laser tattoo removal services for our patients in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Lynnwood and Tacoma utilizing our custom-made Nd:YAG laser tattoo removal machine. Laser tattoo removal is the only method that carries close to no risk of scarring whatsoever. The lasers we use are the best of the lasers available. Please feel free to read more about the process below or, if you are pressed for time, contact us now to schedule a private consultation where we can tell you more in person.
Laser Tattoo Effectiveness
Above you can see just how effective our tattoo removal laser is through a brief clip of a first-time patient’s first session. Notice the drastic difference after each pulse of the laser.
Questions about Laser Tattoo Removal Procedures
How does laser tattoo removal work?
To best understand professional laser tattoo removal, we first need to understand tattoos through a brief discussion of the science behind them. When a person receives a tattoo, the tattoo artist creates thousands of minuscule injection sites to inject inks just underneath the outermost skin layer, usually at a depth of 1-2mm. As a result, the tattoo ink stays in place, rather than being absorbed by our bodies, because the individual particles of ink are larger than the microscopic blood cells that remove foreign invaders.
Blood cells work to remove foreign invaders in our bodies by “swallowing” them and carrying them to our livers to be processed and flushed. Just as we cannot eat an entire watermelon in one bite, no matter how much we enjoy watermelon, our blood cells cannot eat a larger foreign invader without help. However, we can use lasers to come in and assist our blood cells.
Lasers and our cells
Tattoo removal lasers are incredibly powerful devices capable of emitting extremely powerful bursts of light energy. Were these bursts not controlled, they could burn us. However the ones used in tattoo removals are only emitted for billionths or even trillionths of a second. In the hands of a trained provider, tattoo removal lasers work by literally shattering the ink particles into smaller pieces our cells can envelop for removal. It’s akin to using a knife to cut the theoretical watermelon discussed above into bite-sized pieces.
Through a series of laser sessions, we are able to continue breaking down the larger ink particles into progressively smaller sizes for removal. All of our bodies are different. In addition, some tattoos take longer than others to remove. We will discuss why below. After all required laser tattoo removal sessions at The Gallery of Cosmetic Surgery though, it will be close to impossible for anybody to ever even know there was once a tattoo
Who is a good candidate for laser tattoo removal?
To put it succinctly, anybody who has a tattoo they no longer want is a good candidate for laser tattoo removal. Close to 45 million individuals in the United States have a tattoo. Statistics show the overwhelming majority of people get tattoos between the ages of 18 to 25 years old. The average age for tattoo removal is just 4 years older at 29. As we all know, many of the decisions we make in our youth are not the same ones we would make in our later years. Everybody changes over time. Our thoughts on the tattoos of our youth are no exception.
While your reasons for seeking to have a tattoo removed are personal to you, there are some common culprits we see in our office. These include: changes in individual attitudes and styles, breakups, concerns about workforce issues and fading of the tattoo itself. In addition, some people just no longer wish to have a particular tattoo.
The majority of our laser tattoo removal patients are from Lynnwood, Bellevue, Kirkland and Tacoma. You should not be pregnant, be in relatively good health, with realistic expectations and no skin cancers or recent wounds within the tattoo area and its immediate vicinity.
How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
The exact cost of a laser tattoo removal depends on many different factors. As a result, exact costs can be difficult to predict, though we have provided a pricing mockup at the bottom of this page. Ultimately, your costs will depend on the size of your tattoo and the number of treatment sessions. Factors affecting the time necessary to remove a tattoo include:
- The number of treatments required for removal. It usually takes 4+ sessions.
- The size of the tattoo. Larger tattoo removal is going to be costlier than small tattoo removal.
- The depth of the ink. Deeper inks are more resilient.
- The colors of the tattoo. Some colors are harder to break down.
- The age of the tattoo. Inks break down on their own over time, with older ink typically easier to remove than newer ink.
- The composition of the ink itself. Some brands of ink break down easier than others.
- Your body’s overall health. Healthier individuals have stronger immune systems and can process the broken-down ink particles quicker.
Please see the bottom of this page for more pricing information.
Is laser tattoo removal safe?
Laser tattoo removal at The Gallery of Cosmetic Surgery is a very safe procedure. Lasers have undergone decades of research on their safety and efficacy. Furthermore, the FDA has approved the use of certain lasers to remove tattoos. We discussed above how lasers emit extremely powerful bursts of energy, but only for a very brief period of time. Because we use such quick bursts from the laser, our patients are not burned. It’s similar to how you can run your finger over a match and not be burned vs leaving it over the match for longer and receiving a burn.
Does laser tattoo removal hurt?
Many patients report a feeling similar to the original tattoo, best described as a burning sensation at the treatment site. Many individuals have the procedure performed without the use of any numbing agents. If you are particularly sensitive, we recommend the use of a 15% lidocaine numbing agent roughly 30 minutes prior to your treatment session to minimize any potential discomfort.
Why should I choose professional tattoo removal over cheap tattoo removal creams and at-home devices?
Your safety should be your primary concern when seeking to have a tattoo removed. While there are at-home tattoo removal devices on the market, these are not required to undergo any sort of quality control. Tattoo removal creams may contain ingredients that cause permanent damage. We utilize the best tattoo removal lasers on the market. Furthermore, our Master Estheticians have received the highest levels of training available and work under the direct supervision of physicians with multiple board certifications.
Why is laser tattoo removal best?
As discussed above, lasers use focused beams to target and destroy the individual ink molecules, so they can be permanently flushed from your body. It is the best medically-tested method of permanent tattoo removal available. At best, creams cannot penetrate deeply enough and at worst, can cause burns and scarring. And tattoo removal clinics don’t have to go through the same stringent health and safety inspections as we do, so you have no guarantee of their safety.
What should I do to prepare for laser tattoo removal?
To prepare for your first and subsequent laser tattoo removal sessions, we ask that you:
- Discontinue taking any photosensitizing medication for at least 6 months prior.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure at the tattoo site for at least 4 weeks prior.
- Avoid exposure to any harsh chemicals or products for 2 weeks prior.
- Shave all hairs and clean your skin of all soaps and lotions immediately before your session.
What should I do after a laser tattoo removal session?
Immediately after your session, you may notice a grayish appearance at the treatment site. This is not any sort of disfigurement or scarring. Rather, it is caused by the formation of tiny gas bubbles from the cells’ exposure to the high energy beam. Patients who do experience minor side effects report them as a slight burning sensation, swelling, redness and minor blistering for the first week or so. Your treatment provider will provide you with specific care instructions after each session, which include:
- Keeping the treatment area covered with sterile bandages and protected with a thin layer of antibiotic ointment for the first week. Do not pick any blisters or scabs; this could cause scarring.
- You may apply a cold compress if you experience any swelling.
- You may resume showering 2 hours after treatment, but avoid water pressure directly to the treatment site. Do not submerge the site until healed, to avoid infections.
- Wear SPF 25+ sunscreen for 3 months after treatment.
- Avoid lotion and makeup to the treatment area for 2 days after your session.
- Full healing is usually complete within a few weeks of treatment.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Jonov or with any questions about our Laser Tattoo Removal procedure at The Gallery of Cosmetic Surgery serving Kirkland, Bellevue & Lynnwood, WA.