Full and half-sleeve tattoos have been popular for the last couple of years, and many tattoo aficionados opted not to stop at just the bicep or a shoulder but incorporated full back and torso pieces. These larger tattoos are an investment and typically something a person will want on their body permanently. At Delete, we have assisted many with the complete removal or fade of full or partial sleeves either for clean slate or a larger, more comprehensive piece of art.
One of the most frequent questions asked at Delete – Tattoo Removal & Laser Salon is “Can you remove a sleeve tattoo?” When there is a mistake or an unwanted large tattoo, many have been told that sleeve tattoos are “too big” and cannot be completely treated with laser tattoo removal. It is very common for people to change their minds about their physical appearance and this includes large tattoos.
Here are the most common tattoo removal questions answered:
How is a Sleeve Tattoo removed?
Depending on the colors, size, depth, and date of the tattoo, different techniques will be used. Larger tattoo removal sessions are often broken into two shorter versus one long appointment. At Delete, we have invested in the best technology available. The PicoWay laser utilizes three different wavelengths to target all colors and more completely to shattering ink particles. It’s ultrashort, pico-second mechanism is more powerful and much safer than previous technology that used heat to destroy ink particles. Older Q-switched tattoo removal lasers found elsewhere use heat which causes blistering and scarring. At Delete, heat and nearly all side effects have been nearly eliminated.
Does it Hurt to Remove Large Tattoos all at Once?
Some patients report that the PicoWay laser removal treatment is not as painful as getting a tattoo in the first place. Everyone has different levels of pain tolerance which is why Delete’s physicians provide injectable numbing. Even though the PicoWay’s ultrashort wavelength minimizes pain, nearly 95+% of patients opt-in for numbing. Based on individual pain tolerance, lidocaine is provided to completely numb the area treated. It is not the pain but the avoidance of pain that motivates us to split up larger tattoo removal appointments. Numbing with lidocaine limits the area treated per visit. Only so much lidocaine can be absorbed by the body in a given 24 hour period. How Long Does It Take to Completely Remove a Sleeve Tattoo?
Large or small, factors such as the type and depth of ink used, different colors and your health, and the skill of your tattoo artist all play a role in the timeframe for sleeve tattoo removal. At Delete, we are cautious when it comes to making predictions regarding the time needed to complete the removal. Every tattoo removal is a unique experience. We never know exactly how the ink ingredients will respond to treatment. We recommend giving your body at least six to eight weeks between treatments. This allows your body the opportunity to heal and start removing the shattered ink particles. The best way to assess how many treatments will be needed is by scheduling a complimentary consultation with one of the expert physicians at Delete Tattoo.
Can You End Up with Scars After Sleeve Tattoo Removal?
Most people pondering tattoo removal worry about scarring – for good reason! The history of laser tattoo removal has been marked by scarification and amateur laser treatments with antiquated or even inappropriate technology. Tattoo removal is a complicated process with a multitude of factors impacting success. The lasers used to remove tattoos are very powerful and in the wrong hands dangerous. Since 2010 when Delete opened, only naturopathic doctors have delivered laser tattoo removal treatments to ensure that every patient is treated by a medical expert.
Scarring during laser tattoo removal should not happen. Tattoo removal lasers target the ink, not your skin. In our experience, scars are caused by technicians using the wrong setting, the wrong wavelength and/or even the wrong type of laser. Post-procedure care limits scarring as well. At Delete, we do not rush the healing process to speed up your results. This and our safer PicoWay laser technology means scarring very rarely occurs. The biggest issue we see is when there was scarring before, from tattooing, there is a chance that the scars remain there after the removal as well.
Is There a Risk of Side Effects?
Many lengthy procedures carry the risk of side effects, not just tattoo removal. While there are possible side effects, they’re considerably lower with an expert, medical team than most people realize. After a treatment, you are apt to be warm and feel tenderness. Some bruising may occur. It is important to ice the area after treatment.
One side effect that we cannot always predict is an allergic reaction to ingredients found in your ink. During your complimentary consultation, you will be asked about your body’s response when the tattoo was received. Tattoo ink is unregulated thus any ink treated may contain ingredients your body responds to negatively. Typically if you had a negative reaction when you received your tattoo, you are probably allergic to an ingredient in the ink used. Naturopathic medicine focuses on helping your body naturally heal and detox. Every step of your removal will be managed by our doctors.
Hyper and Hypopigmentation is a common tattoo removal risk. At Delete, we understand the causes and treat with the proper wavelengths and settings to protect the melanin in your skin.
Most side effects are temporary and disappear in less than seven days. Proper post-procedure care eliminates nearly all risk of side effects
Should You Remove Your Sleeve Tattoo?
This is a decision only you can make. Many factors play a role, and we recommend gathering information to make an informed decision. At any point in the process, you are invited to contact our knowledgeable staff at Delete. You might regret getting a tattoo, and the same can be said about removing one.
If you still feel unsure about tattoo removal or have specific questions regarding tattoo sleeve removal, you can schedule a consultation with Delete and explore all of your tattoo removal option.