How to Care for Your Skin After Tattoo Removal

Laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective way to get rid of unwanted tattoos. Laser treatment works by breaking up ink particles in your skin. Once the pigment is destroyed, your body naturally eliminates the particles, and your tattoo begins to fade.

Oswald Mikell, MD, and our team at Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry specialize in removing tattoos, no matter the sizes or colors.

Most tattoos require a series of treatment sessions, and completely eliminating a tattoo can take several months. When you come to Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry, Dr. Mikell will examine your tattoo and map out a treatment plan that will include an estimated timeline and the number of sessions you might need.

Attending your laser treatment sessions will obviously be important, but caring for your skin after your sessions will be just as important. Properly caring for your skin will help it recover and stay protected as your tattoo disappears from sight.

Caring for your skin

Post-treatment care will begin immediately after your laser tattoo removal session ends. 

Immediate care

We’ll carefully bandage the tattooed area with sterile gauze after a session to protect it, and we’ll likely recommend applying an ice pack for periods of no more than 20 minutes at a time to minimize inflammation. 

Dr. Mikell may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to speed recovery and prevent infection. You’ll need to follow our guidelines for applying the medicated ointment and changing your bandages, and you should only clean the area with gentle, antibacterial soap and warm water. 

Itching, redness, and discomfort are common side effects during the healing process. It’s normal for skin to blister after laser treatment, and it’s considered part of the body’s healing process. You should apply medicated ointment to blisters that pop, but you shouldn’t pick at or pop the blisters yourself.

What to avoid

In the days following your laser tattoo removal session, your skin will require a little extra care. Keep it dry and clean and remember not to pick at any scabs or blisters that may form.

Avoid strenuous physical activity, hot showers, and saunas, which may aggravate your skin. Consider wearing light, loose clothing over the tattoo to prevent irritation from rubbing, and only get the area wet when absolutely necessary. 

Keep potential irritants, such as makeup, lotions, and other cosmetic products, away from the treated area for several days. Do not shave the treated area until it’s completely healed, because shaving may peel off scabs and increase the likelihood of scarring.

As your skin heals, avoid direct sun exposure, hot tubs, and pool water. Ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays can damage healthy skin, and skin that’s undergone laser treatment can be particularly sensitive. Furthermore, chemicals in hot tubs and pools can irritate healing skin.

Overall wellness

You need to give your skin time to heal after each laser tattoo removal session. Your immune system is in control of your body’s healing process, so maintaining a strong immune system can help you recover faster.

Eat a healthy diet and participate in moderate physical activity as your skin heals. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs, as these substances can work against the natural healing process.

You should wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin while it’s healing, but it’s important to continue wearing sunscreen even after the area has healed. Regularly apply sunscreen for at least three months after tattoo removal to help reduce your risk of suffering long-lasting skin damage.

You don’t have to live with an embarrassing tattoo. If you want to get rid of one or more, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry today.

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