First thing's first: if you have a tattoo and love it, God bless you. For some people, it’s a beautiful, colorful way to express themselves, whether it’s on their arm, leg, face, neck, etc.

But if you’re one of the many who made a spur of the moment decision (perhaps on that college spring break trip?) and you now regret getting inked up (especially if your ink includes an ex-boyfriend who’s perhaps no longer in the picture), there are new techniques being used by some doctors that are making it a little quicker and easier to wipe away those mistakes of the past.

Metairie Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Poole says it's a combination of some old and new techniques, protocols and lasers that’s making it all possible.  Dr. Poole says the most common tattoo removal lasers are the combination 1064/532 that address blue, black, red, and green colors.  These lasers have 2 different wavelengths, and each wavelength, he says, is a different type of laser. 

Laser tattoo removal can be done on all skin types and colors, and your doctor can tell you which laser protocol is best for your particular skin type.

Typically, it can take 3 to 8 treatments, two months apart, to get rid of a tattoo at a cost of about $300 to $500 a session.  Dr. Poole says how a tattoo is treated, how long it will take, and how much it will cost is done on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the size and the colors of the tattoo (those vibrant yellows, greens, and browns can be hardest to remove).

But there is some good news! Dr. Poole says on some types of tattoos, the new R20 treatment protocol is showing promising results.  Dr. Poole says essentially multiple treatments are done at one time.  He says the tattoo is lasered, they wait 20 minutes for the steam bubbles to fade away, then the tattoo is treated again. He says that is done 4 times in a row, which allows them to get usually a 70% improvement with one treatment, whereas previously it would have taken 4-6 treatments to get the same result. 

Another new technique now being used is the fractionated CO2 laser - yes, the same popular laser used to treat acne scars and wrinkles.  He says in some cases, it’s helping with those stubborn colors when used alone or as an adjunct treatment with the standard tattoo-removal lasers.

And while Dr. Poole doesn’t recommend getting a tattoo, he says if you do decide to get inked up, you may want to stick with a tat that’s black, blue, or red, because he says those are the most responsive colors to tattoo removal lasers.

And finally, Dr. Poole says one of the most troubling, potentially dangerous things they are seeing today is unlicensed facilities opening up laser tattoo-removal clinics.  Remember: these are lasers being used to do this, and lasers, when not used properly, can severely scar or injure the skin.  He says a licensed physician must be on duty overseeing the procedure. 

Remember: if the price sounds too good to be true, it may just be. Sacrificing your skin and your health is probably not worth saving a few extra bucks.

For more info on the tattoo removal procedures being done by Dr. Poole:

Poole Dermatology
Dr. Jeffrey Poole
Board Certified Dermatologist
111 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Suite 406,
Metairie, LA 70005
Office 504.838.8225
WWW.POOLEDERMATOLOGY.COM