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Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New
Ask the Surgeon
I am tired of my tattoo, is there a way to make it less obvious?
Yes, there are options to make your tattoo less intense and less noticeable. The method of choice is by laser. Lasers work by producing short pulses of intense light that pass through the top layers of the skin and are selectively absorbed by the tattoo pigment.
This laser energy causes the tattoo pigment to partially disintegrate. The body’s white blood cells capture the shattered ink particles and transport them to the liver via the bloodstream.
Although most patients do not require anesthesia, an anesthetic cream or local anesthetic may be used to numb the area. Treatment time is usually limited to a few minutes. The skin may feel sunburned and bruised for a couple of days.
Even after multiple sessions, many tattoos resist complete removal. Make an appointment to have your tattoo evaluated, and discuss the optimal plan to make you more comfortable with your appearance.
There are other options for closing an incision besides sutures or staples. Fibrin sealants are gaining wider acceptance for use with facelifts, brow lifts, rhinoplasty, and many other procedures. Fibrin sealants or tissue glue is used to bring the skin together.
The sealant is applied along the incision lines and acts as a vasoconstrictor, closing off the severed capillaries and sealing the incision within a few minutes. There is no need to come back for removal, as the body naturally rids the sealant by the time it is no longer needed. Some surgeons feel that the advantages include higher patient satisfaction, decreased bruising and swelling, faster recovery, and decreased operative time.
After exposing your skin to the elements of summer, treat your skin to specialized care. For skin that has suffered sunburn, it is important to avoid any exposure to the sun until the skin has completely healed, usually within one to two weeks. During this time, you may want to take aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation or control pain. Cold compresses can also help ease discomfort. Make sure you re-hydrate and re-moisturize the skin as it heals. One of the best treatments is using aloe vera gel, a natural product that helps cool, soothe, and heal burned skin. If you do suffer from peeling skin, do not pick or pull at it. Let your skin heal naturally.
Even though the sunny summer days are over, the sun’s rays are still damaging. Continue to apply sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater. For extended outdoor activities, consider applying a sunblock with SPF of 30, with repeated applications every two hours.