Laser tattoo removal aftercare is extremely important. Without following the proper aftercare procedures, you significantly increase your risk of scarring, discomfort, and infection. Fortunately, the aftercare process is not very difficult or complicated. Many people that have problems after laser tattoo removal are following many of the common aftercare protocols; however they don’t know what they shouldn’t do. These 7 tips for laser tattoo removal aftercare will cover both the do’s and don’ts of what to expect.
1. Keep the Area Clean and Dry
It doesn’t matter what aftercare procedure you look at, the central elements all revolve around keeping the treated area clean and dry. In most cases, you should wash the affected area gently with mild soap and water for several days following the procedure. When drying the area, make sure that you pat it dry rather than rub it dry. This will minimize the chance for infection and additional skin irritation. Another important step to keeping the treated area clean is applying antibiotic creams several times a day. Once the cream is applied, make sure that you cover it with a sterile pad.
2. Let Scabs and Blisters Heal Naturally
One of the most common mistakes is picking at scabs or popping blisters that occurred following the tattoo removal process. Not only can this length and the overall healing time, but it can cause infections and leave long-term scarring. When a blister finally pops on its own, make sure that you clean the area and apply antibiotic cream.
3. Ignore the Urge to Scratch
During the healing process, your skin will naturally get itchy from time to time. This is primarily caused by raw nerve endings being exposed to air or being surrounded by new skin cells. Ideally, your anti-infection cream should have active ingredients which minimize the itching. If it doesn’t, then hydrocortisone ointment can be a viable alternative.
4. Eliminating Sun Exposure
While the treated area is healing, it is ideal to eliminate the possibility of direct exposure to the sun. In most cases, the sterile gauze you apply after using antibiotic cream should be enough. There will come a point where applying antibiotic cream will no longer be necessary, but the skin will not be fully healed. During this time, try to always use sunblock – minimum SPF 25, until the area is completely healed.
5. Use a Cold Compress
Any time the affected area starts to physically feel warm, apply a cold compress. This will not only cool down your skin, but can also minimize itching, blistering, and scabbing.
6. Avoid Soaking
After your laser tattoo removal procedure, avoid any activity which submerges the treated area underwater for an extended period of time. Initially, the most important things to avoid are baths, hot tubs, and swimming pools. Soaking the skin for an extended period of time slows down the healing process and increases your risk of infection.
7. Be On the Lookout for Signs of Infection
One of the most important aspects of laser tattoo removal aftercare is being vigilant about infection. If the area begins to look infected (abnormal crusting, oozing, spreading redness/tenderness, bleeding) then let your practitioner know. Not only will they be able to tell you if this is serious enough to be concerned about, but they will also give you specific steps in which to treat it. Not only can infection slow down the healing process, but they are the primary reason for scarring as a result of laser tattoo removal.
How you approach your laser tattoo removal aftercare will directly impact how long it takes for the treated area to heal. It can also be the difference between having beautiful skin or ugly scars where your tattoo used to be.