How to prepare for a Tattoo Laser Lightening sessionStacey Blanton
Laser tattoo removal services are getting as popular as tattoo shops, since not only that being tattooed is now more socially accepted, but also having really good tattoos is the trend to follow. Whether change of heart or the desire to have a hotter tat, the fact is that there are many people who just want better tattoos.
If you desire to stick out amongst the crowd of us tattooed bunch, but replace your existing ink with another, larger or louder tattoo, cover-up is the right solution for you. It’s an opportunity to improve, alter, or replace your old ink, which could be a fast and cost effective solution.
A cover-up tattoo is the application of a new tattoo over an old tattoo. Making different colors of the existing tattoo and the new tattoo coexist side-by-side can prove to be a challenge even for the most experienced artist. Depending on the quality, age, size and colors used in your primary tattoo, you might find yourself faced with limited selection of designs for your new tattoo. For example, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to cover a dark-colored tattoo with anything other than a darker tattoo.
To have a better understanding of this concept, imagine you took a blank piece of paper, drew something on it with a thick permanent marker and then changed your mind about this design; now try to draw on top of that design or even create different drawings surrounding it, with a finer marker or more colors – and see how satisfied you are with the final outcome. Usually not so much.
This is where your tattoo artist will say you need laser treatment before they can get to work. The main goal of the laser treatment, the safest, quickest, and most likely to leave your skin intact following treatment, is to fade the unwanted ink. Getting a tattoo lightened in preparation for a tattoo cover-up is an excellent way to improve the results of your future cover-up procedure.
Rather than tolerate a world of cover-up tattoos consisting of black crows, massive crosses, black 8-balls, and black blobs, lightening old tattoos will make room for the artist of your choice to do more prominent and effective cover-ups. The tattoo of the black skull might be far too dark to allow for the application of a beautiful colorful flower. Cooperation of the laser removal specialist and the tattoo artist will prove as crucial in finding an elegant solution and in preparing your skin for the new inking.
Fading takes fewer sessions than total removal and that’s why it’s up to the tattoo artist to determine when the tattoo was light enough to perform the cover-up. Fading involves targeting only portions of your existing tattoo or specific colors that would be difficult to cover.
WHY LASER? I’M TRYING TO ECONOMIZE…
Laser tattoo removal is not the only way to get a tattoo cover-up, but it is an alternative to simply drowning out the original tattoo with more ink. Since you decided you’d like replacing your unwanted tattoo, it’s most likely you already know what kind of image you would like to take its place – something you’ll be much happier with. When your artist has to work the design you envisioned around what’s already on your skin, it greatly limits the work that they can do.
No tattoo artist wants a dissatisfied customer complaining because they aren’t happy with their cover-up. Any artist who cares about their reputation will always lay down the facts for you and give you the best recommendations possible. Fading certain portions of the unwanted tattoo can free up your artist to work on a design you will be happy with. It’s important to grasp why your tattooist recommends you get laser tattoo removal prior to getting a tattoo cover up. Yes, removal might add to the overall cost of the cover-up procedure, but it helps creating an emptier canvas for the tattoo artist to work on in order to give you a tattoo that you will appreciate more than the custom cover-up design or even worse, a badly done cover-up that reveals the bit of the tattoo you wanted removed.
Tattoo cover-up artists who are able to cover-up a tattoo without laser tattoo removal usually require tattoos that have already faded over the years, or are not complex in colors and ink density.
If you still insist on a cover-up without prior laser removal, be aware that heavily pigmented, large and complex tattoos will require double the amount of ink on your skin in an attempt to cover them up. Too much ink and conflicting colors might lead to an eyesore that neither you nor your tattoo cover-up artist are proud of. To make matters worse, should you decide you don’t like your cover-up tattoo, it will cost more to have these types of tattoos removed with laser tattoo removal – purely because the ink in your dermis is highly dense and its particles would require more laser sessions to break.
BUT THEN HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO GET A COVER-UP?
It’s difficult to determine how many sessions it will take to lighten your old tattoo simply by looking at it. There are many factors that determine the likelihood of fading tattoos including the color and chemistry of the tattoo ink, the depth of placement, the density of ink, and certain medications, the existence of scarring, your skin type, strength of your immune system, whether you smoke, your overall health, and the care that you will take in protecting your healing skin.
As all lasers have impact on the skin, it is important that your skin fully heals between laser removal sessions, which might take from one month up to 6 weeks.
You will notice the tattoo fades more and more with every laser treatment. A large and complex tattoo can take between 10 -20 treatments although some Indian ink and amateur tattoos can be removed within 6 treatments and some smaller and older ones only take 1 or 2 removal sessions.
HOW CAN I MAKE MY CONTRIBUTION TO A SUCCESSFUL LASER TATTOO FADING?
Other than following your artist and your tattoo removal expert’s advice, you can slightly alter your lifestyle in order to improve the chances of a successful tattoo removal.
A major factor in removal is quitting smoking. Smoking cigarettes can reduce your chances of removing your tattoo in 10 or fewer sessions by a whopping 70%. Smoking is well-known to impair wound healing – have you ever had an operation or a cosmetic procedure, you were probably warned about this by your surgeon. Tattoo removal is aided by the laser, but it is your own lymphatic system that ultimately does the work of mopping up the tattoo ink. Cigarette smoking predictably suppresses the immune response.
The sooner you quit smoking the better – not only for the success of the tattoo removal, but also for the overall state of your lungs, heart and blood vessels.
When doing the actual cover-up, the advice is more or less the same you get when going for an initial tattoo. Firstly don’t have any alcohol before getting inked. It might seem tempting but alcohol and other chemicals, including aspirin, can thin your blood which can lead to more bleeding than normal. This could make the tattoo scab more and the more you bleed the longer your skin will take to heal.
WHEN CAN I START?
So, either you hate what you’ve just gotten inked or you grew to like your tattoo less and less throughout the years – tattoo removal doesn’t have to be the answer. We’ll outline some of the milestones of your tattoo cover-up journey and things to consider throughout:
- Make sure enough time has passed after getting tattooed, so that you are sure that your skin has fully recovered from getting a tattoo, but also that the ink has settled in your dermis.
- Sleep on it and make sure you pick a design that you going to be happy with. Having a tattoo that you dislike is not an experience you want to have… especially not twice in a row. Still, make sure to be flexible and open to advice from a tattoo artist you choose to do your cover-up. Some ideas you have might not work or would not look as good as you envisioned… a trustworthy and experienced artist will know which design would make the most elegant solution.
- Educate yourself about different tattooists and find a person that is experienced in cover-ups. Make sure to bring printouts of what you’d like and discuss with the artist openly when you show up in an appointment.
- If you are advised to have your old ink faded by laser treatments, brace yourself with patience and trust your artist that this is for the benefit of the final result – a stunning new tattoo that will replace the outdated one.
Last but not the least – even if you decide that a cover-up is not what you are satisfied with, it will be by far much easier to remove it if you have had your old ink faded. Our body works wonders in getting rid of unwanted ink but only if we enable its white blood cells to do their job, by using laser to break the ink particles into residue that they can attack. And this whole process can be shortened if we have had our skin canvas as free as possible from the remains of an unwanted tattoo.
Ready to lighten?
Take advantage of our – $65 per treatment session – special pricing.
It won’t be around for very long!