Just as you did when you got your tattoo, you are going to have to look after your skin when you are having it removed. The process is in many ways quite similar to tattoo aftercare, however there are some key differences. Here's what the tattoo removal industry has to say about looking after yourself while you heal.
Tattoo Removal Aftercare: The Rules.
As you are having your laser tattoo removal treatment "frosting" will appear on your skin. This is perfectly normal and is caused by the release of carbon dioxide from your skin as it is pentrated by the laser. This will subside within the first hour after treatment and requires no special attention.
Laser Tattoo Removal Frosting.
Just as with getting tattooed, the first three days after a laser tattoo removal treatment are the worst. During this time you will need to keep the treated area protected with anti-biotic cream, a sterile gauze and a bandage. As with tattoo aftercare you will need to keep the area of treated skin clean and dry, when washing the treated area make sure you use a mild soap and luke warm water and pat dry, just as you would with a tattoo.
It his highly likely, that the lasered area will become blistered. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal. Try to avoid bursting the blisters prematurely, let them run their natural course. Continue applying the anti-biotic cream for a minimum of 24 hours after the blisters have burst.
To help deal with the discomfort of the first 24 hours you can apply cold compresses to the freshly lasered skin and also take paracetamol, avoid using asprin as this can increase the chances of bleeding and bruising.
With regard to bathing and showering, the rules are much the same as they are when getting tattooed, however, you can shower after a couple of hours, rather than a couple of days. Again, keep the treated area out of the direct flow of the shower and don't soak it in the bath, sadly the swimming pool and jaccuzzi are going to be out of bounds for a while.
As with tattoos, laser tattoo removal will lead to some scabbing and, just like with tattoos, leave them to fall off on their own. When the scabs come away some of the ink will come with it, picking the scabs off before they are ready to come off can lead to scarring. Also, avoid any activity that could cause the scabs to come off prematurely. You may want to wait until they have completely gone before indulging in things like hair waxing and shaving the treated area.
As we've mentioned scabbing we had better mention itching. Once again, just as with getting a tattoo, healing means scabs which means itching and, again, don't scratch. You can alleviate the itching by using a vitamin E cream, applying something cool to affected area and by finding something to distract you from the itch. Unfortunately, it will itch and you will have to grin and bear it to a degree.
Going out into the sunshine? Well for the first three months after you've been treated you will need to be using at least a factor 25 sun cream on the area that's been treated. Cosmetics and cosmetic creams should not be applied to your freshly lasered skin for at least a couple of days after treatment.
Contact your GP immediately if you experience any kind of bad reaction to the treatment or if you suspect it may be infected. Should you find that there is a redness to the area that is spreading, if the area is weeping, if it develops a honey coloured crusting, if you experience any unexpected discomfort or the wound bleeds you could be infected and your first stop should be your doctor. Thankfully the risk of infection is quite low. The laser treatment, unlike getting tattooed, doesn't physically break the skin so provided you are diligent with your aftercare and don't pick at the scabs or pop the blisters, you should quite happily avoid the risk of infection.
From laser treatment to full healing can take anywhere between four and eight weeks, which includes time when you may seem to visibly healed but behind the scenes your body is still repairing the damage you can't see and ridding itself of ink particles. Most of the advice I've found suggests not going back for another session for six weeks but there is a strong case for taking the "belt and braces" approach and waiting the full eight weeks.
So that, in a nutshell, is that. Having trawled a variety of laser tattoo remova aftercare sites and articles, this appears to be the industry standard for aftercare (in fact many of them appear to have copied and pasted the same thing). So keep it clean, keep it dry, apply your cream and don't rush to your next appointment.