How Soon Can A New Tattoo Be Removed?
Maybe you got a new tattoo that just didn’t turn out the way you hoped. Or maybe you just broke up with your significant other a week after getting his/her name tattooed on your arm. Whatever the situation, we encounter patients with immediate tattoo regret on a relatively consistent basis (it happens more than you think!).
While these individuals usually want to start laser tattoo removal right away, waiting a few weeks prior to starting treatments is necessary. The recommended start time for each individual patient can vary depending on characteristics of the tattoo (including ink type, color, and body area where the tattoo resides). However, most tattoo removal providers will recommend waiting at least 8-16 weeks from the time the tattoo was applied before starting the removal process.
Waiting to removal a fresh tattoo is necessary in terms of safety, as treating a new tattoo too early can result in negative side effects:
Excessive Skin Blistering: In the first few weeks after getting tattooed most people will have some ink particles in the top layer of the skin (dermis) since the skin is not fully healed. Targeting this skin with a tattoo removal laser can result in unnecessary burns and blistering of the skin.
Skin Discoloration: Attempting laser tattoo removal on fresh ink can increase the risk of developing permanent discoloration in the treatment area. As the laser targets the tattoo, the ink shatters into tiny particles. In the case of a new tattoo, the shattered ink particles can become embedded in new collagen strands as the skin heals before it can be removed from the body through metabolic processes.
Scarring Risks: Treating a new (unhealed) tattoo is the equivalent of picking away at a scab on the skin that’s trying to heal. Starting too soon can increase the patient’s risk of developing permanent scarring along the treatment area.
It’s also important for patients to realize that newer tattoos will often require more treatment sessions to fully remove since the ink is fresh. This means removing a brand new tattoo takes more time (as treatment sessions must be spaced apart) and can be more expensive compared to getting rid of an older tattoo due to the need for increased sessions.
So, in a nutshell, you’ll have to live with your new tattoo until it’s fully healed. In the meantime, it’s very important to take care of your tattoo to ensure it heals properly and is ready for removal.