Having a Tribal Tattoo Removed: What You Need to Know

Having a Tribal Tattoo Removed: What You Need to Know

“When I got this tribal tattoo, I was in one place in my life,” Adrienne said, “and now I’m in another. While I don’t regret everything that happened during that time – namely my two great kids! – I am ready to say goodbye to this tattoo. What should I expect from laser tattoo removal?”

Laser tattoo removal involves the use of a special laser that breaks down the ink pigments used to create the tattoo. This process isn’t painful, in part because it works gradually, with your body’s natural processes. You will need several sessions to have a tattoo completely removed: the exact number of sessions depends on the size of your tattoo as well as how responsive your body is to treatment.

Tribal tattoos are often entirely or mostly done in black. This is great news from a removal perspective, as the black ink absorbs all laser wavelengths. Colored inks need to be treated with specific wavelengths. There are a number of styles of tattoo which fall under the tribal umbrella: one factor to consider is how thick or large the black areas are. If you have a design that involves multiple small black areas, that will be a faster removal process than a design where a large area, such as an entire shoulder, is covered in black.

Before you have laser tattoo removal, the tech will test your skin to see how responsive you are to treatment. Then, if you’re a good candidate, treatment can proceed. Laser tattoo removal is much less intense than having a tattoo done: many people compare it to the sensation of being snapped with a rubber band. The technician will talk to you ahead of time about how much of your tattoo can be addressed at a time; keeping your skin healthy is the top concern. After treatment, icepacks and topical ointment are used to soothe the area. You will need to keep the treated area protected from the sun for a while.