As with any medical or cosmetic procedure, there are some side effects associated with laser tattoo removal. Many people will experience at least one of the side effects over the course of their treatments; others will experience more than one or possibly all. It helps to have a good understanding of what possible side effects there are, why they happen and how to deal with them. Here we cover three of the most common side effects you may experience with laser tattoo removal: blistering, itching and swelling.
What it is: Blistering can happen after laser tattoo removal. The blisters can be multiple blisters that are smaller in size or they can be one large blister. The blisters look similar to a blister from a bad sunburn.
Why it happens: Blisters form because of the heat from the laser that is used during the laser tattoo removal process. The lasers use heat to break up the ink pigment and after the treatment the heat is released. Sometimes the heat can injure the surface layer of the skin break blood vessels in the skin (like a bad sunburn), causing blisters.
How to handle it: One of the best ways to prevent blistering after laser tattoo removal is to keep the skin cool by icing it. Ice in a baggie and towel should be applied to the treated area for 10 minutes every 1-2 hours after the treatment if able, especially during the first 24 hours. If blisters do form, do not pop them or try to drain them. Let them heal on their own.
What it is: Itching is pretty typical during the healing process after the treatment. The treated area will begin to itch, sometimes pretty intensely. This is a good and normal reaction to laser tattoo removal.
Why it happens: Itching happens for a couple of reasons. One is that it is just your body is working hard to heal after the treatment. Another reason for itchiness is dry skin. The heat from the laser can sap moisture from the skin causing dryness. Itching should resolve in three to five days on it’s own.
How to handle it: Don’t scratch that itch! Scratching can lead to skin breaking, which may cause infection or scarring. If your skin is dry, you can use a gentle unscented lotion, coconut oil, or aloe to help moisturize it. Avoid hot showers – the water pressure may feel good and may temporarily ease the itch, but heat can dry the skin causing more dryness and more itchiness in the long run.
What it is: The treated area may appear larger than normal and puffy. There may be some redness along with the swelling.
Why it happens: Swelling is another way the body’s immune system responds to a threat. The laser creates a superficial skin wound and the body responds by swelling.
How to handle it: Swelling can be managed with ice, rest and elevation. Ice can be applied intermittently right after the treatment to reduce swelling. Rest can also help make swelling go down, especially when avoiding repetitive movements. You may need to take it easy the day or two following laser tattoo removal. If you have a tattoo on the arms or legs, elevating the area above the heart may improve circulation and help reduce the swelling. Swelling is normal and should resolve three to five days after a treatment.
It is important to follow the aftercare instructions provided to you by Dr. Brotzman. If you have any questions or concerns following your treatment, please call us. Side effects are a normal part of laser tattoo removal. If you are someone that is looking for laser tattoo removal, please contact Remove a Tattoo – laser tattoo removal clinic. We serve the Greater Milwaukee Area and offer tattoo removal that is safe affordable and effective. Call us today for your free consultation.