People have many different reasons for wanting to remove a tattoo, but everyone asks the same question, “How much is this going to hurt?”

Laser tattoo removal is definitely associated with some discomfort, but there are ways to make the process less painful.  Hopefully, this entry will provide enough information to enable one to know some of the available options before undergoing laser tattoo removal.  At Vamoose Tattoo Removal, we discuss the procedure and come up with an individual plan for pain control prior to proceeding with the tattoo removal procedure.  At Vamoose, we try to provide our clients with safe tattoo removal with the least amount of physical (or financial) pain.

Laser tattoo removal involves the use of a burst of laser energy which breaks up the ink deposited in the skin so it can be removed by the body’s natural defense system.  Many people equate each laser pulse to that of a rubber band being snapped on their skin.  This sensation will vary for each individual based on the amount of energy the laser is programmed to emit, the density and color of the ink, the location on the body, and each individuals pain tolerance.

While a single pulse may seem tolerable, the cumulative effective of the multiple pulses can be a lot to tolerate, especially with large tattoos.  Thankfully, even with large tattoos, laser tattoo removal is a relatively quick procedure.  That said, there are several different options available to minimize the discomfort involved in the procedure.

Topical local anesthetics (numbing agents) can be applied to the skin which numb the nerves involved in transmitting the pain.  These drugs need to be applied approximately 20 – 30 minutes prior to the procedure to give the drug time to work.  While they only numb the top layer of skin, they are effective in making the procedure much more tolerable.  This may not be the best option if the tattoo covers a large surface area, as toxic reactions to these medications can occur with large doses.  Local anesthetic medications can also be injected into the area, but this technique is more invasive and may or may not be an option.

Chilling the area both before and after the procedure is also widely used – it’s inexpensive, safe, and very effective.  Cold can numb the nerves and also decrease post-procedure swelling and inflammation that can occur with laser tattoo removal.  At Vamoose we use a Zimmer chilling device which blows very cold air directly on the skin surface during the procedure, and we recommend using an ice pack afterwards.  Most people feel that the chiller alone suffices for most procedures.

Finally, taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed both before and after the procedure is also a useful way to decrease discomfort both during and after the procedure.   It’s imperative to not use other anti-inflammatory medications or aspirin, as both can increase the risk of bleeding.

Hopefully, this information has been helpful.  At Vamoose Tattoo Removal we offer free consultations.  At that time we can discuss your pain control options, explain them more in depth, and find the method that works best for youComing soon

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