Can Tattoo Removal Scar?

Snowflake TattoosA common concern when evaluating whether to have a tattoo removed is, will I be left with a scar? The answer is, tattoo removal can leave a scar but it shouldn’t leave a scar. That’s why researching where to have your tattoo removed is a critical step in the process. Like most cosmetic procedures, your results will depend largely on whether the provider knows what they’re doing.

It is becoming increasingly common for med spas, dermatologists and plastic surgeons to purchase a tattoo removal laser in order to offer an additional service offering. The problem is, that clinic isn’t focused on tattoo removal. They specialize in something else and they’re simply adding too the their menu of services. It is far better to find someone who has seen hundreds, if not thousands of tattoos, and knows how they’ll respond to the laser. There should be little guesswork involved.

Tattoo ink can be unpredictable because there is no FDA requirement for what it contains, making every tattoo truly unique. A clinic with with more experience has probably treated a tattoo that’s similar to yours and therefore is less likely to make a mistake.

Tattoo removal lasers have multiple settings and should only be used by a nurse who has been highly trained on when to select which setting. The depth of the tattoo, colors of ink and the person’s skin tone are all factors that help inform which setting should be used and when it should be used. The best clinicians are able to determine the type of laser to use, and the strength the patient can handle. A qualified clinician understands all the nuances of when it’s safe to be aggressive and when it’s better to be conservative. In the interest of getting faster results, some less qualified clinics might use too strong of a setting and burn or scar the patient. It’s far better to be careful, than rush the process.

To this end, the most important factor in choosing a tattoo removal clinic is finding one with experience. Lots of it. Many people are focused on the wrong questions like: How long is it going to take to remove my tattoo? Or, what type of laser do you use? The smarter questions that should be posed, for example are: How long have you been in business? How many treatments have you done? Is tattoo removal your focus or is it one of many services you provide? What are the medical credentials of the person who will perform the treatment?

In all cases, if there is already scarring underneath the tattoo or scarring that happened when the patient received the tattoo, that scar will remain when the tattoo removal is complete. Tattoo removal is not scar removal. It’s tattoo removal. So expect that if you currently have a scar, when the tattoo is gone you’ll still have the scar. If parts of your tattoo feel raised, then you likely received a scar when you got the tattoo. The tattoo itself can be removed, but the skin will still be raised in the same place it is today. So before deciding whether to have a tattoo removed, consider whether you’ll be happy with that outcome.