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?
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
Q-switched laser tattoo removal involves the use of short, concentrated laser pulses that each last for a billionth of a second. These pulses penetrate the skin and shatter the tattoo ink into fragments. This method is non-invasive and gentle on the skin compared to other methods of removing tattoos. The minimal contact with the skin minimizes scarring and reduces the chance of skin damage in the surrounding areas. But it’s painful and may require the use of local anesthesia.
Q-switched lasers come in three major forms: Q-switched alexandrite laser, Q-switched Nd: YAG laser, and Q-switched ruby laser. The Q-switched alexandrite and ruby laser are excellent for black, blue, and green color pigments. The Q-switched Nd: YAG laser, on the other hand, removes a wide range of tattoo ink colors including blue, red, and black pigments.
PicoSure laser tattoo removal
The PicoSure laser is an FDA-approved tattoo removal method. It uses concentrated ultra-short laser beam pulses that each last a trillionth of a second. It is more effective than other laser tattoo removal methods though it may cost more per session. However, it usually takes half as much time to remove tattoos. Its pain level is somewhat mild. This laser removal method also works on both black and colored inks like blue and green.
2. What non-laser removal options should I also consider?
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.
Dermabrasion is an invasive method of tattoo removal that involves the surgical resurfacing of the outer skin layers using a rotating device. The goal is to remove up to the skin’s middle layer of the tattoo. While it can be an outpatient procedure, it’s painful and carries the risk of infection, bleeding, and even scarring.
Surgical excision is another method that you can undergo to remove your tattoos. It is highly invasive and involves the use of a scalpel to remove the ink. After the procedure, the doctor closes the wound. Local, general, or regional anesthesia is usually used depending on tattoo size. And while it’s quite effective for getting rid of smaller tattoos, it is painful and may cause infection and scarring. It is sometimes very costly, especially if the surgeon’s fees are high.
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?
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?
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.