A tattoo is created by injecting ink into the dermis (the second layer of skin) to incorporate a form of skin decoration. Tattooing is practiced worldwide and has often been a part of cultural or religious rituals. In Western societies today, tattooing has re-emerged as a popular form of self-decoration.
Technically, a tattoo is a series of puncture wounds. An electric device uses a sterilized needle and tubes to penetrate to a deeper layer of skin and inject ink into the opening it creates. The tattoo machine moves the needle up and down between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The machine’s operator, a tattoo artist, will use a flash or stencil of the design you select. Typically the design is outlined in black, shading is filled in and then solid areas of color are completed.
Any puncture wound is susceptible to bacterial or viral infection, which is why it is imperative that you work with a licensed tattoo artist who adheres to stringent infection control standards. Single-use needles and disposable materials should be used in conjunction with sterile procedures, such as the artist wearing latex gloves, cleaning the affected area after each stage of tattooing and using an autoclave to sterilize any materials or equipment that is re-used.
After the tattooing is completed, it is important to care for the damaged skin until it fully heals. Keep a bandage on the area for at least the first 24 hours. Wash the tattoo with antibacterial soap once daily and gently pat it dry. Avoid touching the tattoo and don’t pick at the scabs as they form. You can also use an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection. Do not use petroleum jelly because it may cause fading. If you experience redness or swelling, put ice on the tattoo. Keep your tattoo away from water and out of the sun until it has completely healed.
Complications from tattoos generally involve either an infection or an allergic reaction to the ink. If you have a skin condition, like eczema, you should probably avoid getting any tattoo.
A tattoo is designed to last for a lifetime. However, if your feelings about a tattoo change over time, we offer laser removal technology. Essentially, the laser’s energy is aimed at pigments in the tattoo. The laser emits short zaps of targeted light that reach the deeper layers of the skin. This can be painful so we use topical and local anesthesia and can provide sedation for patients who desire sedation. If topical sedation is used alone the tattoo is usually targeted for small areas that are treated with multiple quick visits based on pain tolerance. But at our office, Dr. Silkey is a master at getting great anesthesia for any procedure. Local injections make the procedure virtually pain-free and Dr. Silkey will perform the injections and laser tattoo removal. The laser targets black and red pigment the best. We can offer a free consultation with Shanae for anyone who wants to see if you are a good candidate for laser tattoo removal with us.
We also offer no cost radiation tattoo removal for cancer patients. We will only bill your insurance and take whatever your insurance pays (even if it is zero!!)
This is a service that we feel you deserve!
Home care following laser removal treatments is similar to the care recommended for getting a tattoo.