Skin spots making you older than you are? Try doctor-performed laser treatments!

As we age, the appearance of our skin changes.  The smooth, flawless skin we are born with gives way to imperfections that demonstrate the life we have led.  While some people may wear their wrinkles and spots and scars with pride, many of us don’t like what time has done to our appearance, and we seek to change it.

While nothing can restore your skin to baby skin perfect again, laser treatments can help improve the appearance of some of these imperfections.

Take pigmentary changes, for example.  Uneven skin pigment results from a variety of insults to your skin including sun damage, resulting in freckles and solar lentigines, acne, scarring, and melasma.   The cause of the pigment spots on your face (sun damage, inflammation reactions as with acne/trauma, hormonal changes) may be different from your friend’s pigment spots, so the laser treatment to correct the problem for each individual person is different. 

One laser does not correct all pigment problems, and that’s why I have 4 (yes, four) to choose from when it comes to treating your pigment concerns.   Additionally, targeting the correct layer of skin that the pigment resides in is an important decision in determining the correct laser to use, and knowing what laser wavelengths can be safely used on the various skin complexions (Fitzpatrick skin types) is also important to determine prior to getting any laser treatment.

Many spas will try to sell you on a certain brand of laser which will be touted to cure all of your skin concerns.  Keep in mind that one laser does not do everything for everybody.   I would love to get my hands on that too good to be true device, but it does not exist.  Don’t be roped into believing everything you see advertised.

Your safety is always my first concern when you become my laser patient.  That’s why I am the only one to do your laser treatments.  Understanding the technology and using it medically appropriately avoids undesirable outcomes.

We all want to look our best.  Let’s work together on it.  Call me today.

Why is 8 weeks the magic number for laser tattoo removal?

I have recently consulted some patients who have come from other laser offices where they have been treated with a tattoo removal laser every month.  They hope to continue with that same interval frequency with me.  However, that frequency is too soon between treatments to allow for the body to remove the shattered ink.  Consequently, I decline to treat them before 8 weeks.

A study published in 2012 in JAMA looked at treatment intervals and resulting number of treatments required to remove tattoos.  The findings suggested that waiting longer intervals between treatments (8 weeks or more) resulted in fewer treatments needed. They also discovered that smokers had a harder time getting rid of their ink.  So, tattoo removal is another good reason to quit smoking (along with reducing cancer risk, better immune system, etc.).  Understanding the physiology and not being treated with the laser quite as often, you’ll save money because you’ll require fewer treatment sessions.

Also, some of the other consults have shown up with fresh ink they already regret.  You need to wait at least 8 weeks for the skin to heal and the ink below the surface to dry.  By analogy, think of your new tattoo as a newly laid down concrete sidewalk that you put in the wrong place.  You want it removed but you wouldn’t take a jackhammer to break it up until after it has dried, would you?  Of course not.  The jackhammer would just slosh around in the wet concrete.  It would be much easier to wait until the sidewalk dries and then shatter the concrete to remove it. Same goes for your new tattoo. 

I know when you come to see me for a consult, you wanted the tattoo gone yesterday. But do yourself a favor; be patient and do the right thing.

Thanks for reading.

Questions?  Give me a call. 618-236-7555

PicoSure is not painless, but it's an improvement over the original laser.

I've now done several previously treated Revlite SI (my first tattoo laser) patients with the brand new PicoSure laser and while the treatments are not painless, most people are reporting that the PicoSure laser is better tolerated than the original laser.  I have witnessed this improvement myself as patients have been allowing me to continue firing the PicoSure laser longer without taking a breather between treating sections of the larger tattoos.  Still, I recommend using the prescription-grade topical numbing cream and take advantage of the cold air system.  It's too early for before and after photos, but I anticipate great progress with this new PicoSure workstation.

Read this before you try removing your tattoo on your own

I have recently seen a lot of people with regrettable tattoos, who have prior to their consultation with me for laser tattoo removal have scarred/injured/burned their skin trying to get their tattoo off themselves. Their methods have included acid, salts, or things they have found on the internet. Please be aware that if you use these methods, and you scar/burn your skin making it rough and uneven, laser cannot safely be done to remove the rest of your ink. Surgical removal of your inked and now damaged skin becomes your only alternative to get rid of the now even more unsightly tat.

Please come and see me first. My consultations are free and without obligation. Yes, it costs more to remove a tattoo by laser than it did to apply it to your skin in the first place. But visits can be spaced as far apart as you like allowing you to save up your money between laser treatments.

When you opt to remove that regrettable tattoo, do your research and make sure you don’t hurt yourself and lose the opportunity for a complete tattoo removal.

Breastfeeding not compatible with laser tattoo removal

I've done several consults lately for women who are currently breastfeeding their babies. They have asked if breastfeeding and laser tattoo removal are compatible. As an OB physician, my answer is "no".

When you consider the process of the removal of the ink from shattering the ink with the laser and then allowing the body's natural defense cells, the macrophages, to gobble up the particulate and send it through the lymphatic system and then into the blood stream to ultimately be excreted through the kidneys, why would you want to risk the ink particles getting into your breast milk?

No one will ever conduct a study of how much gets into breast milk and if it causes the baby problems because that would be an unethical research project and who would volunteer and potentially put their baby at risk? Pumping and dumping does not even work as it does in the case of medications because once the ink is shattered, the body continually works to dispose of it over the next several weeks. Having practiced obstetrics and being a mother myself, I know breastfeeding moms are a cautious group when it comes to medications and exposure to chemicals. Why take the risk? Wait until you wean your baby, and then come to get your tattoo removed by laser.

Incidentally, the same argument goes for pregnancy. We don't know for sure if that ink is going to get across the placenta to the unborn child. Please err on the side of caution for both pregnancy and breastfeeding.