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Laser Tattoo Removal in San Diego, CA

Living with a tattoo that you no longer admire is difficult. At La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic, we offer laser tattoo removal for men and women in San Diego, Encinitas, La Mesa, El Cajon, and surrounding areas of California.

That tattoo that seemed like such a great idea now is a constant reminder of a decision you wish you’d never made. With StarWalker MaQx you can “undo” that decision.

The StarWalker MaQx’s third generation technology combines the unsurpassed range of pulse duration modes to more effectively rid the skin of tattoos.  Unlike previous tattoo removal laser technologies, the StarWalker is an ablative laser that aids in destroying unwanted pigment. It can even treat scars under the tattoo that either previously existed or were created by the tattooing process.

Laser Tattoo Removal Before and After Pictures San Diego, CA

The StarWalker laser represents an upgrade from our previous laser, QX MAX. We are now using this superior technology for all of our laser tattoo removal patients, and our pricing has changed as a result. This is the most advanced and highest performing laser system now available, so the incredible results you can get are more than worth the price.

How Does A Laser Get Rid Of Tattoo Ink?

The laser is absorbed by color – this instantaneous reaction causes an effective shattering of the pigment and destruction of the cells that the pigment is contained in. The now micronized pigment can be removed by the body’s natural clean up system.

This depth capability is important to break up the dark tattoo pigment that will continue to show through even when upper level pigment is removed. The use of larger spot sizes also reduces the risk of unwanted side effects such as collateral tissue disruption, bleeding and changes to skin texture.

The StarWalk laser system features the entire range of super short pulse technologies in a single high-performance solution.  StarWalker’s patented MaQx pulse modalities produce powerful bursts of laser energy that photo-acoustically break apart skin pigmentation into smaller, more easily eliminated particles.

How painful is laser tattoo removal?

Most of our patients say that getting the tattoo was more painful than removing it. They equate the feeling to that of having a rubber band snapped on the skin with each pulse of the laser. We apply a topical anesthetic prior to your removal session, but you’ll still feel the laser bursts. The location of the tattoo will affect how much you feel the removal. Tattoos on areas with thicker skin away from bones will be less painful to remove than, say, the back of your hands.

Is laser tattoo removal safe?

Removing your tattoo is safer than getting it. And, compared to other removal methods such as dermabrasion, it is safer and there are few side effects. At La Jolla Cosmetic Laser, our StarWalker MaQx laser is the best available for tattoo removal. These procedures are safe and effective for removing unwanted tattoos when they are done by a team of experienced practitioners, such as the team we have at La Jolla Cosmetic Laser. This isn’t something to trust to a nail parlor or day spa.

Is there a risk of infection after a laser tattoo removal session?

Yes, it is the main risk. We’ve addressed it in other sections on this page, but a couple basics again. Use antibiotic cream religiously until your skin has healed. You must keep the area covered with a large Band-Aid or non-stick gauze dressing. Wash your hands before touching any treated area.

It’s important to stay out of pools, hot tubs, saunas, and the ocean for 2-4 weeks after your session, as the bacteria in these water sources and your healing skin should not become acquainted. Also, avoid direct exposure and tanning beds.

How much time is necessary between removal sessions?

You need to wait from 6-8 weeks between sessions. That is necessary to let your body’s white blood cells get to work removing the fractured ink particles. Plus, your skin needs to fully heal and return to normal before the next session.

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How do I care for my skin after my tattoo removal session?

We apply an ice pack immediately after your treatment, followed by antibiotic cream and a bandage. You’ll probably want to continue icing for a bit when you get home. Most discomfort runs its course quickly after your session.

After your session, your treated area may seem as if it has a superficial burn. At first, the tattoo will turn a frosty white color. This is caused by the release of carbon dioxide as the laser penetrates the skin. As mentioned above, you’ll probably want to ice the tattoo and take some Tylenol to sooth any discomfort. Don’t take aspirin, as it can cause bleeding. Within eight hours and continuing for the next three days the treated tattooed skin will begin to peel or blister. This usually isn’t dramatic, but it is important to not pick any scabs that form. This can cause scarring. You’ll need to keep the area covered with antibiotic cream and a bandage for the first 3 days. After that, you’ll keep the area clean and dry. In 1-2 weeks, all crusting and scabbing should fully resolve.

Can I Shower Right After a Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure?

You can shower just a couple hours after your treatment but avoid water pressure directly on the tattoo. You won’t be able to soak the area until all scabs and blisters have completely healed. That means no baths, no hot tubs, and no swimming pools. This minimizes any risk of infection. You can exercise immediately, as long as you follow your skin care instructions. You’ll need to keep the tattoo area completely protected with SPF 25 or higher sunscreen for 3 months.

Should I avoid using any skincare products before my laser tattoo removal sessions?

Don’t use any tanning lotions or spray tans. Avoid UV rays, as these can stimulate your production of vitamin D and will affect your skin’s melanin. This can increase your risks of hypopigmentation/lightening of the skin. If you’re taking antibiotics, it’s not a good time for a laser removal session. You need to wait 14 days after you finish your antibiotic phase before having a laser procedure to avoid side effects.

Don’t use any harsh treatments, such as depilatory creams for at least 1-2 weeks prior to your session. Also, take it easy on retinol, exfoliators, chemical peels, benzoyl peroxide, and the like.

After your session, be nice to your skin. Don’t apply any makeup if the tattoo is on your face or neck, or if you’re trying to cover it elsewhere, for 72 hours after your session.

Can I exercise after laser tattoo removal?

You shouldn’t exercise immediately after your laser tattoo removal session. Depending upon the size of your tattoo, you should wait between 1-2 days after each session before exercising. You need the tattoo skin to heal, and if you exercise immediately after your removal this can cause your skin to swell and blister. When you do return to exercise, remember, no public pools, hot tubs, or baths as you must not allow bacteria onto the area. When you are done exercising, be sure to shower to keep the tattoo clean.

Can Laser Tattoo Removal Remove Colored Tattoos?

Yes. Professional tattoos with many colors overall require more sessions for complete removal in comparison to plain black tattoos. The size of the tattoo also makes a difference. In general, tattoo removal requires multiple sessions spaced about one month apart per session.

The Fotona StarWalker Q-Switched laser technology generates single nanosecond pulses, which are more efficient at removing pigment than multiple-pulse technologies of equivalently high power. The laser system offers four wavelengths in one system, enabling treatments for virtually all commonly used pigment colors. The StarWalker transmits extremely short energy pulses that cause tattoo pigments to break into smaller particles that are then removed by the body’s own immune system.

  • 1064nm Nd:YAG for removal of DARK PIGMENTS
  • 532nm KTP for RED, TAN, PURPLE and ORANGE tattoo inks
  • 650nm KTP for GREEN tattoo inks
  • 585nm KTP for SKY BLUE inks

Laser Tattoo Removal in San Diego, CA

Photoacoustic interaction of laser beam and pigment

  • Fragmented ink and cells particles are removed by body’s own immune system
  • Immediate reduction in visible pigment occurs in the first week after treatment, followed by gradual fading over the next several weeks

Improved Tattoo Removal

FracTAT is proprietary technology that vastly improves the tattoo removal process by

  • Eliminating the need to have two laser systems to enhance tattoo removal
  • Improves removal efficiency by drilling micro holes in the skin with fractional Q-s procedures (1st step) before full beam Q’s tattoo treatment (2nd Step) which allows gas, steam and some pigment to escape, allowing the tattoo to be treated again after just a few minutes in the same session

Unparalleled Efficiency For Shorter Treatment Time And Fewer Sessions

Tattoo removal is not painless and the goal is to be as efficient as possible in the shortest amount of time. StarWalker gives the technician the following options for laser selection in a single treatment session with one system.

Laser Tattoo Removal Before and After Pictures San Diego, CA

Multifunctional Laser

The StarWalker can also effectively treat the following skin conditions:

  • Lentigines: usually 1-2 sessions
  • Café-au lait macules: 1-2 sessions
  • Freckles: 1-2 sessions
  • Dermal pigmented lesions: multiple sessions
  • Vascular lesions and Port Wine Stains

Laser Tattoo Removal FAQs

How Effective is Laser Tattoo Removal?

Laser tattoo removal is the only effective option when it comes to eliminating unwanted tattoos. In fact, since laser technology has become so advanced, these treatments are effective on nearly all skin types and ink colors.

How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cost?

The cost of laser tattoo removal will vary depending on the size of the treatment area and the number of treatment sessions necessary to produce your desired results. Thanks to financing options, laser tattoo removal treatments can be quite affordable.

How Painful is Laser Tattoo Removal?

The pain of laser tattoo removal treatments can be compared to the pain of receiving the original tattoo. Generally, most patients find the treatment to be more comfortable than expected.

How Long Does a Tattoo Continue to Fade After Laser Treatment?

Your tattoo will begin to fade within a few weeks of treatment. It may continue to fade for up to two months following treatment.

Can You Remove a Tattoo in One Session?

Generally all tattoos will require multiple treatment sessions before they are completely removed. The size and color of the tattoo will affect the number of treatments needed. Some tattoos may need two or three treatments, while others may need as many as seven or more treatment sessions.

If you are interested in laser tattoo removal, entrust your procedure to the experts at La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic, serving the communities of San Diego, Encinitas, La Mesa, El Cajon, and surrounding areas of California. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.