Published Dec 4, 2016, modified Jul 17, 2018 by Dr. Bard (Dermatologist in NYC) of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists

Depending on the size and color of your tattoos, you can expect to make between 2 and 12 visits to remove your tattoo. It’s difficult to predict how stubborn your tattoos will prove to be until you start. Each treatment takes only minutes. Make your appointment today with a leading NYC dermatologist Dr. Bard of Manhattan Dermatology.

Tattoo Removal

Tattoo Removal Specialist NYCWhen you were young, you most likely made some choices that you’ve come to regret as an adult. Perhaps you skipped your last year of college in favor of a big job and now find yourself returning to school. Maybe you’re among the many baby boomers who spent considerable time on mood-altering substances or as a teen decided that driving fast was more fun than keeping your license.

Of all the mistakes you could have made, however, one stands out as being quite a bit more permanent than others — getting a tattoo. Long gone are the days when the only people getting tattoos are drunken sailors and outlaws. Anyone with a tinge of the rebel or a desire to fit in gets inked these days. And just as many live to regret the choice, especially when it’s in a place that you can’t easily cover up.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination  for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Inked Skin

Tattoos literally invade your skin. They’re made by needles that create puncture wounds deep into your layers of skin and deposit ink. The reason tattoos last so long is because of the depth of their insertion — well below the upper layer, or epidermis, and far into the dermis, which is the stable second layer of your skin.

Tattoo artists mostly use mechanical equipment now to insert the ink. Run by a foot pedal, the needle is attached to a tube filled with ink and when it’s set in the right spot, digs about 1/16th of an inch into your skin. Getting a tattoo can be painful, depending on where it’s located. Fatty parts of your body feel less pain than areas of skin close to bone with little or no padding.

Take It Off

Now that you’ve changed your mind about your dedication to the art or name you’ve implanted in your skin, you want it gone. In the past, you would have had to undergo a pretty extensive surgical procedure that meant cutting away the layers of your skin where the ink lies.

The process today is not so ominous, particularly with the advances made in laser technology. Many tattoo shops offer laser tattoo removal, but it’s much safer to consult with a New York dermatologist for the procedure. You don’t need to make any more bad choices — tattoo removal by a medical doctor is the best choice to make.

The Best Candidates

It’s important to remain realistic even when you visit an experienced NYC dermatologist. It’s possible that — because of your skin, the type of ink that was used and the age of your tattoo — that all of it can’t be removed. The best candidates for tattoo removal know that there are no guarantees. Additionally, a good candidate for the procedure is:

  • In good physical condition
  • Self-conscious or embarrassed by the ink
  • Held back from certain jobs because of the glaring tattoos
  • Aware that the tattoo is offensive or not in line with your values any longer
  • Aging and unhappy with the current shape of the skin art
  • Tired of always having to cover it up
  • Able to pay for multiple treatments because tattoo removal rarely is covered by insurance

The Procedure

You need to plan on making a number of visits to have laser treatments; it’s a process your dermatologist will explain that takes time. Depending on the size and color of your tattoos, you can expect to make between two and 12 visits. It’s difficult to predict how stubborn your tattoos will prove to be until you start.

Each treatment takes only minutes. You may or may not need numbing anesthesia on the area; that depends of where the tattoo is located and on your level pain acceptance. Laser surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. The process works as a process:

  1. Using beams of light, the laser zaps spots of ink in your skin.
  2. Once your skin is “burned” by the laser, your immune system rushes antibodies to the area.
  3. The zapped pigments then disappear more and more with each treatment.
  4. Pain is minimal and may feel just like it did when got the tattoo — like a bee sting or being snapped by a rubber band.
  5. You’ll apply an icepack immediately after each laser treatment.
  6. A non-stick bandage covers the area to aid healing.
  7. After a few months, you shouldn’t be able to see anything but a mere trace of the artwork.

After each treatment, you’ll be advised to take care of the wound by keeping it clean, allowing a scab to form and leaving it alone. You’ll receive instructions on how to care for your skin that includes wearing sunscreen at all times. You can resume normal activities immediately following the procedure, but you may want to take it easy for a few hours and find someone to drive you home.

Potential Risks

Most tattoo laser removal processes are successful in achieving your desired result with little or no side effects, but risks do exist and can include:

  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bleeding
  • Underlying structural damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Hyperpigmentation, which leaves your skin darker than your normal coloring
  • Hypopigmentation, a condition that results in lighter skin than normal

You should maintain vigilance and call your Manhattan dermatologist if you notice:

  • Any redness around the area that was treated
  • Your skin becomes warm to the touch
  • Swelling
  • Excessive pain

Surgical Option

If your tattoo is small enough or your dermatology specialist believes that you aren’t a good candidate for laser tattoo removal, you may try surgery. While all dermatologists are trained in dermatology and cosmetic dermatology practices, your New York doctor has extensive experience making sure you receive the treatment that will provide you with the optimal results you’re looking for.

For the surgical procedure, you may be given a light sedative to relax you while the area where the tattoo is situated is numbed. The dermatology surgeon then cuts the tattoo right out of your skin. To close the wound, either stitches or a previously chosen skin graft are used.

Surgical risks are similar to the risks you take from getting laser treatments. With surgery, however, you have a better chance of seeing a complete removal of the ink. Continue with your scheduled follow-up visits and follow your post-op instructions carefully for the best results.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination  for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Do you have any questions about Tattoo Removal? Would you like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, award winning, best dermatologist in New York, Dr. Susan Bard of Manhattan Dermatology? Please contact our Midtown or Upper East Side NYC clinic for a consultation with cosmetic and laser dermatologist in Manhattan.

Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
Dr. Susan Bard, Dermatologist Midtown
Midtown Dermatology:
51 East 25th Street, Ste 411, New York, NY 10010
: ☎ (212) 889-2402
Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
Dr. Susan Bard, Dermatologist Upper East Side
Upper East Side Dermatology:
983 Park Ave, Ste 1D1, New York, NY 10028
: ☎ (212) 427-8750
Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
Dr. Susan Bard, Dermatologist Union Square
Union Square Dermatology:
55 W 17th St, Ste 103, New York, NY 10011
: ☎ (212) 378-9984
The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class dermatologist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.