Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare Tips

Tattoo Removal Aftercare for Day of Treatment (Day 1 & 2)

  • ICE: We will provide patients with an ice compress immediately following tattoo removal treatment. It is vital to apply an ice compress to site on and off for the first hour. Alternate the compress on and off every 1 to 3 minutes as needed. DO NOT leave ice on the treated area for more than 3-5 minutes at a time. The ice helps to alleviate the heat felt in the skin and also helps to prevent blistering. Natural Aloe Vera gel may also be applied.
  • MOISTURIZE: Patients need to keep the treated tattoo moisturized following their session. We have our own, WIFH Heal Ointment or patients can use Aquaphor 3-4 times a day for the first 3 days after treatment to promote healing and reduce itching and irritation. DO NOT USE Neosporin or any other antibiotic ointments; use of these may increase the chance of blistering.
  • REST: Patients should limit physical activity on the day following treatment. This means avoiding exercise and any activity that result in perspiring. Exercise can reduce the blood flow the area as it is redirected to the muscles and can slow healing. Avoid hot steamy showers and harsh soaps/cleansers. We also recommend if patients are treating a tattoo on the foot, ankle or lower leg that they should refrain from having a pedicure until the skin has healed. This is because there are often tiny little abrasions in the skin and soaking the feet in the pedicure tubs could invite infection.
  • ELEVATE the treated area above the heart when possible. This is especially important for tattoos on the lower leg, ankle and feet. We realize this may be hard for some people and if they are returning to work near impossible. The elevation again just helps to decrease the chances of blistering.
  • Skin Reactions: It is not uncommon for the tattooed skin to exhibit a tissue or skin reaction after each treatment, and the reaction could be different each time. This is okay and normal1. Below is a brief list of signs and symptoms of normal after treatment skin reactions:
    • The treatment site appears unchanged or appears brighter.
    • The area appears white, pink, or red.
    • The treatment site has pinpoint bleeding, blistering or red, yellow, or clear discharge and swelling.

*If patients ever question if something they are experiencing is normal, please call us we are always happy to help. It’s better to be safe and know.

Tattoo Removal Aftercare Until Healed…

  • MOISTURIZE: Keep treatment site well moisturized with WIFH Heal Ointment or Aquaphor. Again, do not use Neosporin as this may increase the chance of blistering.
  • ACTIVITIES: Patients may resume activities unless a blister is present. Avoid swimming pools, ocean, and hot tub and tub soaking pedicures for 5-7 days until healed.
  • BLISTERING: Blistering is normal. DO NOT BREAK the blister. If the blister is uncomfortable, call our office. We may need to drain it. Blisters can take up to 1-2 weeks to resolve. Patients can use a non-stick bandage to protect the blister. If blister does break, apply WIFH Heal ointment or Aquaphor and a non-stick bandage.
  • HEALING: Do not pick or remove scabs or crusts that develop during the healing process. This is a leading cause of infection and can lead to scarring. Healing can take anywhere from to 5 to 25 days (or more). Infections are rare. However if aftercare is not followed they can occur. The signs to look for are foul odor, fever, red streaks from area, yellow-green drainage, and pain. Patients should call the office if they suspect an infection.
  • BEFORE THE NEXT TREATMENT: Should be booked in 6-12 weeks. It takes the body up to four weeks to break down the ink so results will not be immediate, and every treatment will react differently.
  • NEXT APPOINTMENT: Should be booked in 6-12 weeks. It takes the body up to four weeks to break down the ink so results will not be immediate and every treatment will react differently.
Citations
1. Klein, A., (2014). An Internet-based survey on characteristics of laser tattoo removal and associated side effects. Lasers in Medical Science. 2014; 29(2): Pages 729-738. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23907603
About the Author

Shayna Flash, PA-C, MPH

Shayna Flash is a licensed Physician Assistant and Senior Cosmetic Laser Practitioner certified by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. With more than 14 years of laser experience, Shayna administers treatment for laser hair removal, tattoo removal, vein treatments and skin rejuvenation procedures. She also currently sits on the Georgia Composite Medical Board’s Cosmetic Laser Services Advisory Committee that develops rules, regulations, and application materials for both Senior and Assistant practitioner levels of licensure.