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Laser Skin Tightening: Everything You Need To Be Aware Of

woman with smooth facial skin had undergone a laser skin tightening

Skin tightening treatments are not generally used for tattoo removal. However, if you are exploring your options for rejuvenating your skin, this treatment may be something you are interested in.

Are the first signs of aging starting to take a toll on your skin's appearance? Forget about the scalpel. Skin tightening is an effective and non-invasive way to lift sagging skin, eliminate cellulite, and smooth away wrinkles. And all of this is possible without surgery, downtime, or recovery. So how does skin tightening work? And is this treatment really as amazing as it sounds?

Non-invasive skin tightening has delivered amazing results to countless patients. But you should never undergo a procedure, regardless of how low-risk it is, without doing extensive research. Before visiting your dermatologist, learn about the cost, risks, and potential benefits of this revolutionary skin treatment.

What Is Skin Tightening?

Skin tightening is precisely what it sounds like: tightening loose skin on the face, neck, and body. Sagging and loose skin can occur after extreme weight loss, but for many people, this is just a natural part of aging. As we age, the collagen and elastin in our bodies begin to break down. Since these compounds are what gives skin its elasticity and tautness, without it our skin no longer fits the contours of our face and body.

Most skin tightening treatments work by contracting the skin and stimulating the production of new collagen. This helps bring new life into sagging or loose skin around the face, neck, and body. Skin tightening can help eliminate wrinkles and give your skin a more youthful appearance overall.

Skin tightening is appealing to many people because it is non-invasive. While there are several ways to perform a skin tightening treatment, very few require major surgery or incisions. Instead, skin tightening patients are in and out of their doctor's office in no time.

However, it's important to note that skin tightening is not a weight loss procedure. While some skin tightening results can give the appearance of weight loss, these procedures do not affect the fat tissue underneath the skin. Some other non-invasive treatments, like Coolsculpting, combine fat reduction with skin tightening for even more dramatic results.

The Most Popular Types of Skin Tightening

When it comes to non-invasive skin tightening treatments, you have a variety of options. Not only are doctors developing new techniques to improve the treatment process, but brand new technologies also emerge from time to time. Each technique has its own pros and cons, and some dermatologists specialize in one treatment type over the others.

The type of treatment that's best for you will depend on a variety of personal factors, and only a licensed dermatologist can say which is the right one. Before committing to any one treatment type, make sure to consult with multiple doctors and explore all of your options.


dermatologist doing a facial treatment on a patient

The most popular brand name for ultrasound skin tightening is Ultherapy. The same ultrasound waves that have been used for decades to create images of fetuses and view internal injuries can now also help tighten your skin. While this treatment method penetrates deeper into the skin than most lasers, it's currently only used for the face, chin, and decolletage. After Ultherapy or another ultrasound treatment, the skin around your face, brow, and chin will slowly tighten and lift. For the decolletage, or the skin between your neck and breast, this treatment can smooth wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging.

Ultrasound treatments can penetrate deeper into the skin because they use sound waves instead of light. These waves can reach the base layers of the skin to trigger collagen production. While it can take several weeks or even months to see the full results, this procedure generally leaves skin noticeably tighter and lifted.


woman is having a Radiofrequency treatment with her dermatologist

Radiofrequency treatments use the same wavelengths as your radio, television, or even your Wi-Fi network. But radiofrequency, or RF, treatments use a specific set of wavelengths honed to penetrate and heat the inner layers of the skin. This heat helps promote the production of new collagen and elastin underneath the skin's surface.

Unlike ultrasound skin tightening, which only treats the face and surrounding area, RF treatments can help contour and tighten the entire body. Some patients choose RF therapy to treat cellulite and tighten loose skin on their abdomen or legs. But facial skin tightening is still one of the most popular uses for this treatment. Properly administered RF treatments can deliver results that last for up to two years.

Intense pulsed light

woman is having an Intense pulsed light process for her facial skin

Sometimes, intense pulse light, frequently called IPL, is combined with radiofrequency techniques to penetrate deeper into the skin. The addition of IPL to this treatment supposedly helps the doctor target certain areas of the skin more specifically than radiofrequency alone. One of the popular brand names for this combination therapy is called Refirme.

With the inclusion of IPL, some patients might also see improvements to their skin's color, texture, and more. Studies show improvement in elasticity and tone, as well as pigmentation and visible veins following this combination treatment.

Who Is an Ideal Candidate?

old woman with nice and smooth facial skin

These skin tightening procedures are ideal for patients who have noticeably lost some elasticity and firmness in their skin. This could present itself in a change in skin texture, the appearance of small wrinkles, or sagging skin. Tightening treatments are not ideal for patients who have excess skin following weight loss or more dramatic signs of aging that require cosmetic surgery. A licensed dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon can tell you if you're a good candidate for these procedures.

While these skin tightening procedures are low-risk for most patients, some conditions can prevent you from getting one of these treatments. Pregnant women will need to wait until after their pregnancy to undergo one of these skin procedures. Plus, certain medications or pre-existing skin conditions may prevent you from qualifying for non-invasive skin tightening. Consult with your doctor to determine if any of these concerns apply to you.

Will skin tightening affect your tattoos?

When it comes to gaining or losing weight, many people worry that their tattoos will warp with their changing skin. This is certainly a potential side effect of extreme weight change. But can the same thing happen to a tattoo through non-invasive skin tightening?

Thankfully, the changes in your skin following this treatment may look dramatic, but the actual movement of the skin is minimal. Tattoos in the treated areas shouldn't show any noticeable signs of warping, stretching, or other changes. In fact, smoother skin on and around the tattoo might actually improve its appearance.

Before undergoing non-invasive skin tightening, always ask your doctor about any tattoos near the treatable area. The tattoo shouldn't be harmed by the tightening itself. However, some lasers and other non-invasive treatments can have undesirable effects on the ink itself. Your dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon will be able to determine if this side effect is a concern for you and your chosen treatment type.

How Much Does Skin Tightening Cost?

The price of a skin tightening treatment greatly depends on your geographical location, the size of the treated area, and your chosen treatment method. Many dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons are happy to provide a cost estimate when you visit them for a consultation. Unfortunately, since these procedures are considered cosmetic in nature, insurance won't cover them. Therefore, you should expect to pay the full cost out-of-pocket.

Ultherapy, the popular ultrasound treatment option, can cost up to $5,500 for a full face and neck treatment in areas with a high cost of living. Smaller treatment areas and geographical locations with lower costs of living can go as low as $750 to $2,500. Refirme, which uses IPL and RF wavelengths, is considerably cheaper. These treatments cost anywhere from $100 to over $1,800, with the average treatment costing around $525.

Where Should You Go for Skin Tightening?

patient consulting a dermatologist regarding laser skin tightening

Like any medical procedure, you should always visit a licensed medical doctor for non-invasive skin tightening. The best doctors for a procedure like this include dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons. Even though no surgery is actually involved in skin tightening, proper application is still necessary to prevent burns, scarring, and other negative side effects.

Even if you think you can get a better deal, you should avoid unreputable medi-spas and salons that offer laser or ultrasound treatments. While there's a chance that your treatment will be overseen or administered by a doctor, you're more likely to find yourself in the hands of an unlicensed, untrained member of their staff. If something goes wrong during your procedure, this individual doesn't have the knowledge or expertise to prevent and treat issues as they arise. Don't put your skin's health and appearance at risk by going to a cheap spa. Instead, always choose a licensed medical doctor for this and related treatments.

What Are the Side Effects of Skin Tightening?

These skin tightening procedures are non-invasive, meaning they don't require any type of surgery. However, they are not entirely risk-free. Most negative side effects can be attributed to improper treatment. But they are still potential risks that you should consider when deciding if this procedure is right for you.

Even though most people go right back to their daily life after undergoing non-invasive skin tightening, there are some normal side effects that you can expect. These include swelling, redness, and bruising at the sight of treatment. These side effects are completely normal. However, if they worsen or persist for a long period of time, don't hesitate to contact your doctor for further information.

Outside of these common side effects, there are some long-term or permanent effects that can result from a skin tightening treatment. If you see any of these side effects after your procedure, contact your doctor immediately. While these side effects can be temporary and harmless, it's better to be safe than sorry.


woman with skin discoloration on her facial skin

Skin tightening that utilizes a laser, like Refirme, can result in skin discoloration in the treated area. The same damage that triggers additional collagen production can also trigger melanin, the compound that gives skin its color.

Patients with darker skin have a greater risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) or hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin). Evidence also points to certain post-treatment techniques increasing the risk for this side effect. Potential side effects caused by discoloration may fade over time or be permanent.

Burns and scarring

Some non-invasive laser procedures heat the skin to help encourage collagen and elastin production. However, if these procedures aren't administered correctly, they can burn the skin. While most burns will heal over time, severe burns could leave behind scarring that will never completely fade.

The best way to prevent this serious side effect is to only go to a licensed dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon for your skin tightening treatments. An experienced doctor or nurse will know how to properly administer the treatment without burning your skin. This might not be true at an unlicensed spa or salon.

Allergic reactions

woman with allergic reaction to laser skin tightening

In rare cases, patients may experience an allergic reaction following a skin tightening procedure. These reactions might result from topical products used during the treatment or the device itself. Allergic reactions have been reported following tattoo removal and laser hair removal, so this side effect isn't exclusive to skin tightening procedures.

Luckily, these reactions typically don't last long and will not return as long as you don't return for more skin tightening treatments in the future. Ask your doctor about the best over-the-counter medications to take and other recovery instructions you should follow to minimize your symptoms.


Numbness of the treated area can occur following ultrasound, radiofrequency, or laser skin tightening. This side effect isn't too surprising considering that these tightening treatments work by causing slight damage to the deeper layers of the skin.

Most post-treatment numbness rectifies itself within a few days. If your numbness persists, though, make sure to contact your doctor. Nerve damage could have occurred during the treatment and should be addressed right away. While there are no current studies on this occurring after a skin tightening procedure, it has been documented following other non-invasive cosmetic treatments.

Will You Transform Your Body With Skin Tightening?

The side effects listed above are real risks to consider before undergoing any of these skin tightening procedures. But they pale in comparison to the potential dangers of a surgical facelift. If you have your heart set on treating your sagging or wrinkled skin, then non-invasive skin tightening is generally the safest option. However, you should always consult with a trusted, licensed doctor before choosing to undergo one of these procedures.

Of course, your other option is to simply embrace the aging process. As well as the changes in your skin that come along with it. Society might seem to prefer youthful-looking skin, but beauty is fleeting and subjective. If you choose to feel happy and empowered with your natural skin, this confidence will radiate from within. Whichever path you choose, it is your body and you should do whatever makes you feel best.

12 Questions You Should Know to Ask a Skin Specialist

Consulting a skin specialist

Once you have considered all the relevant factors and booked an appointment with the skin specialist on your shortlist, it’s time to prepare. But exactly how should you go about it? The answer is simple, you just have to ask the right questions -- Literally.

In order to hire someone to remove your tattoos, you first need to get a feel for how that person works. That’s why you need to have a list of important questions to ask the skin specialist. How that expert answers those questions will determine whether you end your search for a tattoo removal professional or not. If you are going to spend your money on removing your ink, then you need to make sure you get your money’s worth.

Questions to Ask Your Skin Specialist

It never hurts to write down the questions that you intend to ask your skin specialist. You cannot hope to remember them all off-hand. In addition to preventing you from forgetting what you want to ask, having a notebook with the questions will enable you to write down the answers that the specialist gives you as well. It will also allow you to jot down your impressions of the skin expert when he or she is answering those questions. That, in turn, ensures that you have more accurate information to go on when deciding on whom to pick as your tattoo removal service provider. So, what questions should you ask?

1. What laser tattoo options should I consider for my tattoos and why?

tattoo removal process

Laser tattoo removal is one of the most common ways of removing tattoos from the body. It is highly effective, accessible, and best of all, non-invasive. This method of removing tattoos involves the use of a high-intensity beam of laser light, directed at the ink pigments. The light then breaks up the ink particles with time. Once that is done, skin macrophages, which are forms of immune cells that tend to hold onto tattoo ink, will eliminate them from the skin. Different skin specialists are experts on different types of laser tattoo removal options, which is why you need to understand what these options are.

Quality-switched (Q-switched) laser removal

PicoSure laser tattoo removal

2. What non-laser removal options should I also consider?

laser tattoo removal

While laser technology is quite popular, it’s not the only option where tattoo removal is concerned. Other non-laser methods exist. It’s important to inquire about these too if you are considering more solutions available to you. The skin specialist that you question may have the expertise to offer them. And if he or she does not know, it’s best to know beforehand to save time.


Surgical excision

3. How much pain will I be in after the procedure?

What’s your relationship with pain like? Most tattoo removal procedures are at the very least, uncomfortable. Others are downright painful. Q-switch laser tattoo removal is a quite painful procedure, and local anesthesia only relieves the pain moderately. You may continue to feel pain after the doctor completes the procedure. PicoSure laser tattoo removal may be mildly painful. You may need a numbing agent during the procedure, but the discomfort is tolerable after it’s complete.

Both dermabrasion and surgical excision are invasive. They both require a local anesthetic during the procedure, with some people needing painkillers for a few days after. You may also require a corticosteroid medication to reduce swelling. Surgical excision, on the other hand, is very invasive and painful. The wound will take a while to heal. Without the anesthesia, it would be intolerable.

4. What are tattoo removal methods provided in this clinic?

If you are considering getting your tattoo removed in a particular clinic, then it’s important to inquire about the removal methods that they offer. That is very important if you have already settled on the tattoo removal procedure that you want to undergo. No need to waste your time putting a skin specialist in that clinic under the microscope if he or she doesn't offer the services that you want.

5. How many sessions will the procedure take?

How many sessions a procedure will take is something that you should have an idea of beforehand. If you are operating on a deadline, then you have no choice but to limit the tattoo removal process. It could be that you have your wedding to consider and having a tattoo of an ex is just in poor taste. It could also be that you want to take advantage of a job opportunity, and a tattoo might stand in your way. Regardless of the reason for the deadline, you should have an idea of whether your ink will have faded enough in the time frame you are working with.

6. How much will it cost me to get these tattoos removed?

The cost of tattoo removal services varies based on the geographical region, the training of the skin specialist removing them, the size of your tattoo, and the removal method that you intend to use. If you are on a limited budget, it’s always better to know how much you would be expected to pay in order to get rid of your regrettable tattoos. Then you can compute the total and determine which method is cheaper for you overall.

For example, the average cost of laser tattoo removal is $200 to $500 per session. You would need anywhere from 6 to 12 sessions to remove the tattoos. Dermabrasion, on the other hand, may cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on how much skin resurfacing you have to do, the specialist’s fees, and other costs that include anesthesia fees. However, laser tattoo removal procedures vary, with PicoSure being more effective and requiring fewer sessions. Surgical excision may charge a much higher fee per session but may end up removing the entire tattoo at one go. So, you need to pay very close attention to the answer your skin specialist gives you in this regard.

7. Will the tattoos fade completely after the tattoo removal procedure?

unfinished tattoo removal process

There is no guarantee that the tattoo removal method that your skin specialist uses will fade the tattoos completely. Brighter color pigments tend to be stubborn and may require more sessions to eliminate. Even then, the results may not be what you would be 100 percent satisfied with. It’s always good to know to what extent the tattoos will disappear after the tattoo removal process so that you can manage your expectations accordingly.

8. Do you have any special offers or discount packages available?

Don’t be ashamed to inquire whether there are any special packages available. If you look hard enough in the right places, you will find special packages that will enable you to cut down the cost-per-session. Groupon is one of the sites in which to find discounts for tattoo removal services. And some skin specialists use such sites to attract more customers. Tattoo removal is generally an expensive process. If there is any way you can cut down costs, you should do it. So feel free to inquire about any available special packages because your skin specialist may have one.

9. Are there any health risks associated with this procedure?

Tattoo removal, just like any other procedure done on the human body, has health risks associated with it. Different methods of removing tattoos may affect your body differently. So, ask your skin specialist what risks there may be in your case. Be sure to mention all the pre-existing conditions that you have. For example, if you choose to go with an option like surgical excision, remember that blood thinners often increase the level of bleeding and may affect your recovery rate or raise your risk of losing blood during the procedure.

There are other complications as well. Infection is always a possibility regardless of whether you use an invasive or non-invasive tattoo removal option. You may also experience allergic reactions to the anesthesia or some of the painkilling drugs prescribed. In addition, your skin may end up with blisters, scarring, keloids, fungal infections, and hyperpigmentation, among other things.

10. Are there any aftercare tips that I should bear in mind?

laser tattoo removal gel

The skin is one of the body’s largest organs. When you interfere with it, it may take a while to recover. For this reason, you may need to implement some aftercare procedures after a tattoo removal session. These may include cleaning and dressing the treated area, using cold compresses, avoiding overexposure to the sun, managing blisters, taking painkillers, and getting antibiotic treatments for any infections that arise.

11. Do you provide emergency services in case of complications?

What if you end up with a medical emergency because you got an infection or allergic reaction from something used to remove your tattoos? Will the skin specialist be willing to offer emergency care? Does that clinic have a partnership with a hospital that will take you in to treat your medical complication until you stabilize?

Do pay very close attention to the skin specialist’s body language when you ask about emergency aftercare. If the professional is not coming across as transparent or trustworthy, take note of it. The last thing you want is to end up in medical trouble and receive no help from the person that may be partly to blame for it. You need to be able to trust your skin specialist. And someone with a horrible bed-side manner is not one you should hire to get rid of your tattoos.

12. Do you have any patient testimonials that I can look at?

One of the main reasons for getting rid of tattoos is so that you can improve your appearance. With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to ask for patient testimonials. A good skin specialist should have a portfolio of tattoo removal pictures from previous patients. These will help you see to what extent the tattoo is removed so that you can determine if you are comfortable with that kind of work.

But you also need to take a close look at online sites that allow reviews on services rendered by skin specialists and other professionals. Read the customer reviews and pay attention to the ratings the skin specialist you are considering has. Websites like realself.com provide customers the opportunity to post before-and-after photos of their tattoo removal procedure. Yelp is another review website that enables customers to talk about their experiences under different service providers. Also, take a peek at Google and Facebook reviews concerning your skin specialist. The more information from other clients you have about a particular skin specialist, the better off you will be.

Why You Should Ask Your Skin Specialist Questions

It’s not just a matter of asking a skin specialist questions. You must also pay close attention to the body language that the professional shows throughout. That body language will help you determine whether the skin specialist is simply repeating memorized information to appeal to you as a customer or if he or she is sincere.

With the skin being your largest organ that acts as a barrier between you and the outside world, you cannot afford to hire the wrong tattoo removal expert. Equally important is the hard-earned money that you will be paying to remove your ink. So, ask all the right questions, and listen to all the answers the skin specialist gives you while observing their body language. Then you can hire a skin specialist who will safeguard your health while giving you great value for your money.

How to Find a Good Skin Doctor for Tattoo Removal – Tattoo Eraser

skin doctor treating a patient

Still looking around for a good skin doctor to help remove your tattoos? Well, take comfort in knowing you are not the only one who regrets those tattoos of yours. Of the 40 percent of Americans who have a tattoo, at least 23 percent regret getting inked. You may be one of them.

It could be that you started to regret the tattoos as soon as you sobered up. Or maybe the body art no longer has the sentimental value that it once had. It’s also possible that your body tattoos are preventing you from advancing up the career ladder as fast as you would like. Whatever the reason you may have for wanting to remove your tattoos, a good skin doctor will be instrumental in helping you achieve that goal.

Qualities of a Good Skin Doctor

What Is a Dermatologist

Not every person who has the title of skin doctor is actually good at what they do. Some are merely quacks masquerading as professionals. Others have the qualifications, but their personality makes them the wrong choice for your tattoo removal needs. It’s important that you know what the qualities of an excellent skin doctor are. That way, you can use these qualities as criteria to choose the right expert for your needs.

Skin doctors must have proper training

Officially, the people you call skin doctors have studied dermatology. That's the field of medicine that deals with every aspect of the skin, nails, and hair. They are known as dermatologists. But not all skin doctors are the same. Dermatology, just like most fields of medicine, has different branches.

Since your interest lies in removing your tattoos, then you need to concentrate on experts who have specialized in cosmetic dermatology. These professionals have the training that enables them to treat disorders or complications that affect the aesthetic appearance of the skin. That includes your inked art, wrinkles, scars, and skin conditions like acne.

So, if you find out that the skin doctor you want to choose does not have cosmetic dermatology training, it’s better that you start your search again. Because that person, though qualified, doesn't have the training that is necessary for tattoo removal. However, if you're interested in undergoing more invasive tattoo removal methods like surgical excision of tattoos, then you need a professional trained in dermatologic surgery. But there is no need to consider invasive surgical tattoo removal procedures when so many non-invasive options exist.

Affordability of tattoo removal services

Some high-end skin doctors only deal with wealthy patients like Hollywood celebrities, and their charges are in line with the high circles in which they move. Think of TV star dermatologists who are celebrities in their own right. If you're capable of paying the kind of money that these skin doctors charge, by all means, consider doing so. But that may not be possible in your tattoo removal case.

For this reason, the affordability of tattoo removal services offered will determine whether a skin doctor qualifies as an excellent choice for your needs. It’s also worth noting that most tattoo removals are not covered by insurance unless they pose a threat to your life. That leaves the entire burden of the tattoo removal on your shoulders. With this in mind, it never hurts to dismiss skin doctors who are absolutely out of your budget range.

Caring nature and judgment-free attitude of the skin doctor

If the skin doctor that you want to hire to help you remove your tattoos has a horrible bedside manner, you will be in trouble. Not all doctors consider their work as a calling. Some are in it for the money, and it shows in the way they work and deal with their patients.

Studies show that people who have tattoos feel stigmatized, and you may have felt judged in the past because of your ink. Some skin doctors may end up judging you for getting inked. And such professionals wouldn't be the right people to help you remove your tattoos because it may affect the level of your care.

There's the possibility that their judgmental attitude may spill over into their work. What if the doctors’ attitude ends up affecting the quality of service that they provide, and they mess up your skin even more? If such uncaring skin doctors work on your body, you may end up worse off then where you started.

Experience in the tattoo removal field

Just because someone works as a dermatologist does not mean that person is qualified to remove your tattoos. So, it’s not enough for you to consider general work experience. You need to qualify your skin doctor based on the length of tattoo removal work experience. Don’t be a guinea pig.

How to Choose a Good Skin Doctor

Finding the best dermatologist

Once you know the qualities to look for, it’s time to begin the process of finding the best skin doctor for your needs. It’s a process that will enable you to create a shortlist of qualified potential dermatologists. And it’s from this shortlist that you will be able to select a professional to work on getting rid of your ink.

Research on dermatology credentials


Understanding the branch of dermatology from which your skin doctor comes is half the battle, but it’s not enough. In addition to qualifying as a cosmetic dermatologist, the skin doctor who will handle your tattoo removal should be board certified. Board certified dermatologists met the threshold that makes them worth recognizing as specialists in their field.

When researching skin doctors, bear in mind that they receive their certifications from two official boards. Any certified professional you select belongs to either the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) or the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology (AOBD). You can use web listings in order to find a board certified skin doctor in your area.

Eliminate doctors who advertise and ask for tattoo expert referrals instead

cross out

You need to worry if the skin doctor you're thinking of choosing advertises a lot and seems deceptive. That may mean that the doctor is not good enough to have customers lining up for his or her services. It could be that the dermatologist is inexperienced and hasn't had the time to build up a large clientele. But it could also be that the skin doctor in question doesn't provide services that are good enough to compel clients to refer others to his or her practice. Either way, a dermatologist that advertises a lot should give you cause for worry.

Good skin doctors, on the other hand, will be in demand. Moreover, they will come highly recommended by previous clients. For this reason, one of the first things that you should do when looking for a tattoo removal professional is to ask for recommendations. You could start by asking for a referral from your General Practitioner (GP). Also, ask your family, friends, and colleagues to recommend an excellent skin doctor they know. Include them in your shortlist.

Consider your budget for removing tattoos

wallet with money

No two tattoos are alike. Their size, design, ink depth, and quality will vary even if the same tattoo artist did them. It’s important to realize this when you shop around for a skin doctor to help get rid of your body art. That’s because the variations will affect the cost of removing them.

Be prepared to fork out quite a bit of money to get rid of your tattoos especially if yours are large. There is a reason why the tattoo removal industry is worth $3 billion. Undoing your regretful body art is not a joke. Tattoo removal is a tedious and sometimes painful process. The average cost of a complete tattoo removal procedure stands between $1,350 to $1,450 and usually takes place over seven sessions.

Tattoo removal processes that involve lasers take about three to four weeks between sessions. So, it may take months for you to get rid of the entire tattoo that only took you hours to get. Life's so unfair sometimes, isn’t it? For this reason, it’s important for you to have enough money in your budget to pay for your skin doctor’s tattoo removal services.

Higher doesn't necessarily mean better

credit cards and bills

If you want to try and cut down your dermatology service expenses, consider shopping around. The costs of hiring one may range from $100 to $200 per hour depending on factors like experience, brand value, and location. Some dermatologists charge as low as $26 to $30 per hour.

You shouldn’t necessarily choose the cheapest dermatologist around because cheap can be expensive. Instead, find someone in the middle who may not be as famous as the celebrity dermatologists you see on TV, but who has a decent amount of experience in tattoo removal. The goal is to find a skin doctor who will give you the best value for your money.

Read client reviews on previous tattoo removals


Just because the skin doctors you're considering are blowing their trumpets does not mean that you should hire them. There is a significant difference sometimes between what professionals think they can do and how customers feel about the services they receive. Dermatologists aren't any different. Some of them think they are all that, but clients would disagree. Your job is to find those who are as good as they claim.

It's your responsibility to read client reviews and check the ratings of individual skin doctors. Try to find cosmetic dermatologists with scores of four out of five stars and above. But ensure that there are a decent number of reviewers who have given such a rating. A good skin doctor is the one who will consistently provide excellent services to a large number of patients. Such a professional will have the ratings and reviews to match.

Sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook facilitate business reviews. Search for reviews concerning the skin doctors on your shortlist and see what people say about them. Many professionals also have their own websites and usually provide a platform for clients to offer their testimonials. Go through those sites too. The more reviews you read, the more information you will have to decide on which skin doctor to select in the end. How successful your tattoo removal sessions are will largely depend on the choice you make.

Get a consultation appointment and ask questions about the tattoo removal procedure

woman on the phone

Once you come up with a short list of potential skin doctors, you need to take the next step. That step involves scheduling a consultation appointment to discuss your tattoos and your removal options. With so many tattoo removal options available, you need to decide on the course to take, and each doctor has a different way of doing things.

Many dermatologists offer a free consultation, while others may charge you. Regardless of the cost, that initial consultation is crucial. It enables you to get a feel for how a particular skin doctor works. When you get an appointment, take the time to ask questions. Seek clarifications on any issues that may confuse you regarding the tattoo removal process. Pay attention to how the dermatologist answers the questions you ask.

Does that doctor listen? Is there communication transparency? Your conversation will tell you a lot about his or her bedside manner. Also, consider how other employees in the medical practice behave. That will give you clues on the kind of aftercare you will receive in case of complications. Based on those reactions and the attitude the doctor portrays, you can decide whether to hire that professional to remove your ink.

Go with your instinct

woman thinking

Your instinct is your survival mechanism. That sinking feeling in your stomach is there for a reason, so always go with your gut feeling even if it doesn't make sense. If you don't click with your potential skin doctor, reconsider hiring that professional. Remember, most tattoo removal procedures will take a while. The last thing you want to do is entrust your appearance to someone you don't even like or feel comfortable around.

Why You Should Choose a Good Skin Doctor

It’s okay to regret having tattoos. It’s also okay to want to remove them. While the procedure may end up being painful, it shouldn't be more uncomfortable than necessary. If you're going to spend a big chunk of money on undoing your ink, you might as well get the best skin doctor for your needs. In this case, that means a well-trained reputable professional who provides an excellent value for your money and cares about your comfort. The criteria you use to pick your doctor will determine your experience, so choose wisely.

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work: Facts You Need To Know

woman is undergoing a laser tattoo removal on her right arm

Everyone has made a bad decision in their life. In the case of many people, their regretful decision has something to do with tattoos. Getting a tattoo is so easy. You go to a tattoo shop, pick a design, and leave with a permanent mark on your skin. However, you do not have to carry the cute cat you got tattooed on your back when you were young and foolish (or the name of your ex) on your skin forever, thanks to laser tattoo removal. So how does laser tattoo removal work?

Don’t be fooled. The tattoo removal process is not as easy as getting the tattoo in the first place. Removing a tattoo requires more of a time commitment (and you can't do it drunk). And of course, it costs more money as well. It may seem as easy as getting the ink done in the first place, but it is a far more complex process.

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

So how does laser tattoo removal work? To understand this, you need to know how the artist puts ink on the second layer of your skin (called the dermis) in the first place. The ink of tattoos contains metallic compounds such as copper, manganese, and lead. Red ink even contains mercury. Don't worry, it's not dangerous like ingesting these compounds would be, but there are risks involved.

tattoo artist holding a tool to make tattoos

Risks aside, these metals are responsible for making the ink latch permanently (more or less) on to your skin. When the needle deposits the ink on your skin, the immune system gets to work because it recognizes the ink as an intruder. This reaction is why the white blood cells do its best to bring these particles to the liver. The liver's job is to eliminate waste from the body, after all.

However, because most ink particles are larger than the white blood cells, they remain on your skin despite fading over time. In order to erase a tattoo, you will need the help of lasers to facilitate the cracking of ink particles. This cracking makes ink particles smaller and allows for the removal from the body.

I'm sure you found this all fascinating but let's get to the nitty-gritty: How does laser tattoo removal work? What exactly is involved?

What Is Laser Tattoo Removal?

person is undergoing a tattoo removal process

Laser tattoo removal is also called ultrashort pulse lasers or Q-switch lasers. These lasers are not only immensely fast, but also very hot and work with small frequency waves of light. Two of the most important aspects of laser removal are the heat and the speed of the device to break up the ink particles.

For an ink particle to crack, it needs to be heated so that it expands due to thermal expansion. However, this has to be very fast to make sure that parts of the tattoo remain cool. The contrast in cool and hot temperatures is responsible for cracking the particles. This process is called photothermolysis and is the same process used in laser hair removal.

So how does laser tattoo removal work during this process? Because the lasers break up the ink particles into smaller sizes than the white blood cells, these cells can (at long last) take the smaller ink particles to the liver. And from here, the liver expels the ink particles from the body.

How Long Does It Take?

arm showing his vanishing tattoo after the treatment

Now that we have established that removing a tattoo would not be as easy as getting it, you may already have the inkling (pun intended) that it would not take just one day. In fact, the grueling process could take months. First, you have to do an initial tattoo removal consultation so that your doctor can tell you what to expect. This consultation outlines the process and helps you decide whether or not you want to go through with the treatment.

Many people want their tattoos removed as soon as possible. However, that is often not viable. But how does laser tattoo removal work with your timetable? It’s safe to say that although it is effective, it is not immediate. You just have to trust that patience is a virtue. The time frame of the tattoo removal process depends on how your body eliminates the ink particles in your skin. So it is best not to push through with the process if you only have a week until an important event or job interview that requires no tattoos. Your wedding next week will not miraculously make your tattoo disappear.

In some cases, the body takes up to a year to completely get rid of the ink. This slow process is because you have to give your skin time to recover between treatment sessions. It is recommended to have sessions six weeks apart for those who have lighter complexions and eight weeks apart is better for those who have darker skin. Additionally, having treatments without adequate recovery time may cause complications.

Number of treatment sessions vary

There is no definite number of session that works for everyone. One reason is that there is no way of knowing how many treatments you need to get to have your tattoo entirely erased. The process involves many body systems, and medical science cannot guarantee these outcomes. Despite this, your doctor can assess the ease or difficulty of your tattoo removal.

Usually, many people who get laser tattoo removal will see optimum results within five to eight treatments. However, some people are the exception and are able to remove their tattoos after only three to four sessions. But others may need as many as 10 sessions if their tattoo has multiple layers and features scarring.

How fast the treatments can remove your tattoo gets is also dependent on factors such as its location, the color of the ink, amount of ink, pre-existing scarring, and Fitzpatrick skin type. This practical method uses the Kirby-Desai scale and is used to assess the relative success and number of sessions that you need for laser tattoo removal.

How Much Does It Cost?

Many of our purchase decisions revolve around the price of a good or service. So how does laser tattoo removal relate to other purchase decisions? Usually, the cost of getting laser removal treatment is around $200 to $500 per session. However, the price may change due to various factors including the size of the tattoo and the expert level of the professional.

To fully remove your tattoo, it may cost you as much as $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the number of sessions you require. However, do not be overwhelmed. Many clinics have discount rates and payment options to help.

Does It Hurt?

man wearing eye gear is getting his tattoo removed by a laser

Ask anyone who wants to know how does laser tattoo removal work, and one thing is for sure, they want to know if the process hurts. As expected with any procedure, you will definitely feel an amount of pain. However, many people have said that it hurts less than what they initially had in mind.

According to many people who have undergone the procedure, the pain feels like a rubber band is snapping on your skin. Some people also said that the pain is similar to the sensation that they feel when they got the tattoo. In other words, although it can be quite painful, it is definitely bearable.

It is important to remember that you can manage the pain level and discomfort associated with the process. If you have a very low pain tolerance, you can speak to your surgeon or technician about giving you something to soothe your skin during the procedure.

You can opt to go through with skin numbing procedures such as the Zimmer Cyro 6, which is a machine that blows cold air on the skin throughout the entire duration of the treatment. This chilling tool is very effective. If you want other options, you can also apply ice packs, numbing creams, or lidocaine injections. Just remember that some numbing methods may have their own drawbacks.

Can You Get Another Tattoo on the Lasered Area?

person getting a tattoo on the arm

If you still want to re-tattoo your lasered area, do not worry, this is actually possible, believe it or not. Researching how does laser tattoo removal work will tell you that you can re-apply a new tattoo on the treated area. Laser removal is, more or less, wiping the slate clean. In many cases, people do not want to get rid of their entire tattoo during the process. Instead, they want it to have a new look. This preference results in either fading before a cover-up, or selective removal.

For those who just want to fade their tattoo so that the cover-up will be easier, a few sessions can do the trick. Selective removal, on the other hand, is when a patient wants to get rid of a portion of the tattoo completely. For this procedure, the laser targets a specific area to treat.

Just remember that you already made the mistake of getting a tattoo that you regretted once and it is something that you do not want to happen again. Make sure to research the tattoo artists near you so that your cover-up or re-tattoo will look amazing.

Are There Side Effects?

We've answered the question “How does laser tattoo removal work?” However, it is also essential to know that you might encounter some side effects. Side effects are common among people who remove tattoos via lasers. Don't worry, though. These side effects are simply part of your body's reaction to the treatment and generally aren't permanent.

Hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation

white scars on the skin after removing the tattoo

One of the most common side effects of removing a tattoo through lasers is skin pigmentation. This side effect is very common, especially with people who have a darker complexion. Hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation happen when your body produces too much or too little melanin respectively. These conditions result from altered melanin production because of the laser treatment.

Hyperpigmentation is when your skin darkens. Meanwhile, hypopigmentation is when your skin lightens. When this happens, you will notice that the lasered area has a different shade than the rest of your skin. This noticeable patch bothers many people. But don’t worry. This discoloration does not pose any health concerns and is purely cosmetic. In most cases, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation will heal on its own after 6 to 12 months.

You now know the answer to the question “How does laser tattoo removal work?” Considering this information, it makes sense that you can avoid pigmentation problems by not treating your skin with another session of laser treatment until it has returned to your normal skin tone. Skin pigmentation issues worsen if the practitioner treats the area without waiting for it to heal completely.

Skin sensitivity

red skin allergy around the tattoo area after a laser tattoo removal process

If you didn't skim over the part when we explained the science behind “How does laser tattoo removal work,” you will recall that it involves zapping your skin with a laser to heat up the ink. Naturally, this will have effects regarding sensitivity. They're zapping you with a laser! When getting your consultation, it is important to ask your doctor about the side effects that you may suffer.

This way, you will not have any unrealistic expectations about the process. And it won't shock you when you experience tenderness, swelling, scabs, blistering, redness, and bruising. Remember that these side effects will not last long. Typically, redness, swelling, and tenderness will subside within a day or two after the session. On the other hand, scabs, blistering, and bruising may take up to a week to heal. It is also important to note that while your skin is still healing, it is at greater risk of infection.


scarred tattoo with red skin allergy around it

One side effect that may be permanent after the tattoo removal procedure is scarring. However, it only happens to a small percentage of people. Scarring occurs if the patient does not give proper care to the treated area. This adverse outcome is why it is essential to follow the proper steps to ensure that the affected area will completely heal. Scarring is also likely if the patient picks at the scabs or blisters.

Other Alternatives Available

man on suit sitting down the sofa with a lot of tattoos on his hands

Finding out how does laser tattoo removal work will let you make a more informed decision if you decide to push through with it. If you are still considering other options to remove your tattoo, there are other forms of treatment.


This treatment involves using a device that rotates fast to sand the skin until your tattoo disappears. Dermabrasion is a conventional method of skin resurfacing. Usually, the skin that grows back looks younger and smoother. However, sometimes, it leaves a scar or a pale area.

Surgical excision

Surgical excision is an invasive option to remove a tattoo. It is best for small tattoos. This process involves removing the tattoo with a scalpel and closing the wound through stitches. This method also offers high precision and accuracy.

Topical treatments

This method is common among people who want their tattoos to fade. Topical treatments usually involve lotions and creams that help make the tattoo less visible. Although it cannot completely eliminate your tattoo, it can help make it less noticeable over time if you use it consistently. Be careful, these are often marketed as “removal creams,” but so far none have lived up to the hype.

Summing It All Up

There are tons of reasons why people decide to remove their tattoos. Whatever the reason may be, they're going to want to know how does laser tattoo removal work. And having the answer will help you determine if it is suitable for you. Although it requires time and money, removing a tattoo through the use of lasers is one of the most effective ways to get rid of your ink. Tattoos aren't a life sentence. It won't be fun to get rid of, but it's not nearly as scary as it sounds.

Have you had a tattoo removed with a laser? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

All of the Ins and Outs of PicoSure Tattoo Removal

PicoSure Tattoo Removal
All of the Ins and Outs of PicoSure Tattoo Removal

Decisions you make when you are young can easily come back to haunt you. That is never truer than when it comes to a tattoo that you now regret. Many people who grow to regret a tattoo they got in their youth wish to have it removed. In the past, this was not always a simple process, but today you have the option of PicoSure tattoo removal.

That's a new technology that allows for easier and quicker tattoo removal. Before you make a decision, you should learn more about how the process works and what to expect if you choose to have it done. Do keep in mind, the information in this article is not medical advice. It is for information only. Please contact a licensed medical professional to discuss the procedure further.

What Is PicoSure Tattoo Removal?

What Is PicoSure Tattoo Removal

CynoSure, the developer of PicoSure, explains this is a new laser technology. What makes this laser so special is that it uses a special Focus lens. The lens produces short pulses of lasers that flash at the speed of trillionths per second. Because it works so fast, it does not produce a large amount of heat, and there is no damage to the skin.

While doctors may use it to treat a variety of skin conditions, it is especially useful when it comes to tattoo removal. To understand exactly how PicoSure tattoo removal works, you need to understand the basics of tattoos and the skin.


How tattoo removal works

Business Insider explains that tattoo ink often contains metal. It is the metal that enables the tattoo to remain permanent. When injected into the skin, the ink causes a reaction in the body. The immune system recognizes something foreign and tries to remove it. The body may succeed at removing some of the ink particles at this time. The white blood cells can engulf them and carry them away. Most of them are too large. The large particles remain, creating your tattoo.

When you want to remove the tattoo, you have to break those large particles down into smaller bits. It allows the white blood cells to take them away. That's what happens in the PicoSure tattoo removal process. The laser uses heat and speed to shatter the ink particles. The immune system kicks in, and you see your tattoo disappear.


How PicoSure removes tattoos

The PicoSure laser uses pressure to stimulate the cells. With stimulation, a photomechanical effect occurs. According to NLO Source, a photomechanical effect is when cells change due to exposure to light. In this procedure, that means the cells produce collagen and elastin to repair the skin, and at the same time, the photomechanical effect breaks down the ink in the tattoo enough that the body can naturally remove it.

The PicoSure tattoo removal process has some special characteristics that make it stand out. The speed at which it works allows for minimal damage to the skin. Also, its special lens makes it more efficient at breaking down the ink, so the process has much better results than other laser treatment options.

What to Expect from Treatment

What to Expect from Treatment

When you consider PicoSure tattoo removal, it helps to get an idea of what to expect from the procedure. Going into it with more information may help you to know if this is the right choice for your situation.


How long PicoSure tattoo removal takes

How long it will take for the complete removal of your tattoo using this procedure varies. It depends on some specific factors. The amount of pigment is one factor because more pigment takes more work to remove. In addition, lighter skin tones make removal easier and faster than darker skin tones, so if you have a darker skin tone or have recently gotten a tan, this will require more work to remove the tattoo. Also, the size of your tattoo affects the length of treatment required, since it is a larger area requiring work. Finally, the older the tattoo is, the longer it takes to remove it simply because of the type of ink used and the amount of time it has been in the body.

However, there are some general guidelines for how long the PicoSure tattoo removal procedure typically takes. The actual treatment usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes. So, when you go for a session, expect it to be rather quick. The number of treatments you may need ranges from 4 to 10. Again, this depends on the factors mentioned above. The time between the treatments is anywhere from six to eight weeks. That allows the skin to heal and the body to remove the broken ink particles.

With all that in mind, it could take anywhere from six months to almost two years to get your tattoo removed through the PicoSure tattoo removal process. Keep in mind that your doctor will assess your tattoo during your initial consultation. He or she can then give you the best estimate on how long the process will take.


How the procedure feels

One of the main things people said about older laser removal treatments was that they were painful. The good thing about PicoSure tattoo removal is it is far less painful. Some people may feel no pain at all. Others may feel pain similar to the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. At most, the procedure is as painful as the process was to get the tattoo. However, the doctor can apply a numbing cream before the procedure, which can eliminate or greatly dull any pain.

Is PicoSure Tattoo Removal Safe?

Is PicoSure Tattoo Removal Safe

According to MedEsthetics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved PicoSure tattoo removal, which does verify it as a safe procedure. Throughout testing and using the procedure, it has been proven not to damage the skin. Older laser removal procedures would often cause serious damage and even burns to the skin, which PicoSure does not. It produces excellent results with no long recovery period or lasting issues.

Most people who have a PicoSure tattoo removal experience only minor redness and swelling for one to three hours following the procedure. Some people may experience blisters or scabs, but this is very rare. To ensure proper healing, you should treat the area carefully and protect it for a couple of days following the treatment. You may have hyperpigmentation, which is the lightening of the skin, but this does not last. The actual tattoo removal results are permanent.

You should be aware that you can only get PicoSure tattoo removal from a licensed medical professional. Typically, plastic surgeons or dermatologists will offer this service. Anyone else offering laser tattoo removal services is not likely using PicoSure. Also, if you do not get services from a doctor, the chance of complications or issues is very high. It is recommended to seek only the services of a licensed medical professional to ensure a safe and successful procedure.

How Much Does the Procedure Cost?

How Much Does the Procedure Cost

It is not possible to give an actual cost estimate for PicoSure tattoo removal because cost directly relates to how long the removal process takes. The size of your tattoo, the pigments it contains, your skin tone, and how old your tattoo is all play a role in how many treatments you will need to remove the tattoo completely. The more treatments you must have, the more money it will cost. You should understand that since it is a new technology, it is one of the most expensive options you have for tattoo removal. Also, insurance rarely covers the cost of this procedure.

PicoSure Tattoo Removal Compared to Other Tattoo Removal Options

PicoSure Tattoo Removal Compared to Other Tattoo Removal Options

PicoSure tattoo removal really is not comparable to other tattoo removal options. It is revolutionary in its results and technology. However, it is a costly procedure. It may help you to make a better decision to look at how PicoSure tattoo removal compares to other options.


PicoSure vs. older lasers

According to Severn River Plastic and Laser Surgery, the way the PicoSure laser works is very different from the way older laser treatments work. PicoSure uses pulses of energy to produce a photomechanical effect. That allows the pigment in the ink to break down into a dust-like form. Older lasers break the ink pigment into larger chunks. These large chunks take much longer for the body to remove. In addition, the older lasers produce a lot of heat that may burn and scar the skin. PicoSure produces very little heat and causes no damage to the skin.

As far as results, PicoSure tattoo removal is very precise. A doctor can target a particular area and remove only small parts of the tattoo. For example, if you want just a background color removed, PicoSure can do it. Older lasers do not have these capabilities.

Above all, PicoSure tattoo removal takes fewer treatments than older laser treatments. It also offers a much easier and shorter recovery period. Plus, you get better results overall because PicoSure can remove all ink colors. Older treatments have limitations when it comes to color removal. Sometimes, they cannot remove lighter ink colors completely.


PicoSure vs. cryosurgery

Cryosurgery was a popular and commonly used tattoo removal procedure at one time. According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, in this type of procedure, the doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the cells quickly. When frozen in this way, the hope is it destroys the cells.

The good point is that almost anyone can have cryosurgery done. It also does not require any preparation, which is similar to PicoSure. In addition, the pain level is similar to PicoSure tattoo removal with a slight burning.

However, there are some downsides to this procedure. These include bleeding, blisters, swelling, loss of feeling at the site, loss of hair, scarring, and pigmentation loss. Almost everyone who gets this procedure will experience swelling blisters and redness. There is usually a healing process where you have to ensure the site remains clean. That prevents infection. It can take six weeks or longer to heal fully. Because the skin never breaks with PicoSure, you don't have to worry about keeping the area clean to avoid infection issues. It's another plus for PicoSure over other laser methods.


PicoSure vs. creams

According to Michele Green, M.D., a common at home tattoo removal method is the use of special creams. These creams often have a basis in the idea of microdermabrasion or removing old skin cells. As you may guess, this does not usually work well if at all. If you think about it, every day your old skin cells die and fall off your body. So, that would mean that over time your tattoo would just remove itself, and there would be no need for PicoSure tattoo removal or any other type of removal procedure.

What typically happens is people waste money on creams that do nothing to help remove their tattoos. If they do work, they take a very long time. Typically, they only work on certain pigments when they do anything. Also, there is always a risk for scarring with this method of tattoo removal.

The Bottom Line on PicoSure Tattoo Removal

PicoSure tattoo removal is a breakthrough in the field of removing tattoos effectively and efficiently. This new treatment option open doors for the removal of difficult tattoos with hard to remove colors or those that are older. It can be just the right option regardless of the size, color, or age of your tattoo because it is gentle on your skin and requires hardly any recovery.

The benefits of PicoSure over other options even further show why a PicoSure tattoo removal is a top option. It may be one of the most expensive choices for tattoo removal. However, if you really want your tattoo gone and do not want scarring or other negative side effects, PicoSure offers you the best solution.

This article is for informational purposes only. Please seek the services of a licensed medical professional if you consider PicoSure tattoo removal. A doctor can offer further assistance and explain the procedure fully.

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