If you're reading this, you're probably in the tattoo regret phase, and we feel your pain! Before you make moves to get that unloved tattoo removed, we created this list so you can learn from our mistakes ! Here are the 10 most helpful, must-know tips to read before you go under the laser. Without further ado...
1. Set your expectations.
Before going in, know this: No tattoo removal is guaranteed. Set your expectations by speaking with a laser treatment expert — or three. Some tattoos fade only partially after several treatments and may leave a ghost image of your tattoo, as well as permanent raised scarring. So the big question is: Would you rather do a cover up or be left with a ghost image or partial tattoo?

2. One treatment isn't going to do it. 
You probably already realize this by now, but multiple treatments will be required and unfortunately, the number of sessions isn't something that can be predetermined during your initial consultation. Be cautious of your technician giving you a standard 6-to-10-treatments answer, as on average, the number of treatments actually needed is often much higher. In addition, intervals between treatments are a also a key factor. We know you want to remove that unwanted ink as quickly as possible, but treating again too soon can increase the risk of side effects like skin irritation and open wounds. The average time between sessions is 4 to 6 weeks, but of course, everybody is different. In some cases, 8 weeks is the recommended minimum time to go between treatments or longer for patients experiencing textual changes and other side effects.

3. Location of your Tattoo.
In most cases location does matter. Fading is generally slower for tattoos located further down the arms or legs as they are further from the heart. The closer the tattoo is to the heart the better circulation, therefore better results.

4. Professional vs Amateur Tattoos.
As with removal in general it depends on many factors. Professional applied tattoos penetrate deeper into the skin at uniform levels which can make it easier to treat, but not always, as the ink is usually more dense. Amateur tattoos are often applied with an uneven hand which can make the removal challenging but overall they are easier to remove.

5. Educate yourself on the different types of lasers.
No single laser can remove all tattoo colors, different laser wavelengths treat different colors and sometimes you may need multiple lasers to remove the pigment.

6. What to expect after a treatment.
There are a handful of symptoms you might see post-treatment. Among them are blisters, swelling, raising of the tattoo, pinpoint bleeding, redness, and/or temporary darkening. Not to worry, though. These are common and usually subside within one to two weeks. If they don't, talk to your doctor.

7. Be aware of the potential side effects.
The most common side effect is hyper- (darkening) or hypo-pigmentation (lightening) of the skin. This usually corrects itself anywhere from 6 to 12 months later. Scars (including keloid scarring) are also a potential risk, as well as infection, burns, and textural changes of the skin. 

8. The darkening effect is real.
Some of the ink used in cosmetic tattoos, including colors containing white ink, may darken (oxidize) immediately after treatment because of the presence of titanium dioxide. This can usually be corrected with further treatments.

9. There's a higher risk of hypopigmentation with tattoo removal on darker skin tones. 
People with darker skin can remove a tattoo with laser, however there is a higher risk of hypopigmention because the laser may remove pigment from your skin along with pigment from your tattoo. Your technician/doctor should proceed with caution and always do a test spot to minimize any risk.
10. Ask questions and ask for photos. 
Laser tattoo removal is generally safe when performed by a qualified technician or doctor. Each person's health, skin, and tattoos are different, so it's important to ask lots of questions! During your consultation, don't be afraid to ask about all the potential side effects and risks based on your own situation. On top of that, you should always ask to see before and after pictures from other clients with similar skin type and tattoos. All of this will help you set realistic expectations of your treatment.


Photofacial Vs. Peel  By Claire McAdams

Based in Los Angeles, Claire McAdams has been writing professionally since 2006. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and also online at and She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Belmont University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Political Science from King College.

Photofacials and chemical peels are cosmetic procedures that deliver many of the same benefits. They both can address skin hyperpigmentation issues as well as fine lines and shallow scarring. However, while a photofacial can treat skin flushing issues caused by broken capillaries and rosacea, a chemical peel can correct deeper wrinkles such as forehead creases and nasolabial folds.


The photofacial procedure uses a high-intensity, multiple wavelength light beam that can penetrate through all levels of the skin. Excess pigment deposits within the epidermis and stagnant hemoglobin in broken capillaries absorb the light from the procedure. This causes the pigment deposits to break apart and the capillaries to constrict, which reduces discoloration. During a chemical peel, a dermatologist applies an acidic peeling agent that exfoliates the upper layers of the skin and causes them to peel away, revealing the healthier, more vibrant skin cells underneath. Chemical peels can be administered in various levels of potency and the results depend upon the level of aggressiveness used. Significant wrinkling and discoloration require a moderate or deep peel to show improvement, says the American Academy of Dermatology.


Photofacials are non-invasive and patients can return to work the same or the following day. You may experience some mild discomfort during the procedure that feels like the momentary snapping of a rubber band against your skin. Superficial and moderate chemical peels can also generate mild discomfort in the form of stinging or burning, and these treatments do require some recovery time. During a deep peel, general anesthesia is administered while the dermatologist applies a potent acid that reaches deep into the middle layer of the skin. Deep peels are often conducted in an outpatient surgery center and they require significant post-treatment recuperation.

Spider Vein Treatment

Side Effects

Photofacials can cause a few mild side effects that include redness or swelling, which usually subside in one to three days. On rare occasions, bruising or blistering, infections or scarring can also occur. Chemical peels also present a risk of side effects, and the more invasive the peel, the greater the risk. Darker skin types can experience a temporary or permanent discoloration of skin after a peel. Chemical peels can also cause skin redness that can last for several months. Infection and scarring are possible, as well. However, properly caring for the treated area after the procedure greatly reduces the risk associated with having a chemical peel.

Frequency and Cost

University of Texas physicians recommend a series of three to five photofacial treatments to get the best results. As of 2013, a photofacial session is between $300 to $600 per treatment. For a chemical peel, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests three to five superficial peels for optimal results, while a medium peel is often administered twice, spaced several months apart. The price for a superficial peel runs from $150 to $300, and a medium peel can cost from $1,000 to $2,000. You may undergo a deep chemical peel only once in your life, and the cost can reach $5,000 or higher.


Both procedures induce extra sun sensitivity, so use sufficient sunscreen while outdoors. Moderate and deep chemical peel recipients must avoid sun exposure as well as smoking during the healing process. Photofacials are not recommended if you are pregnant, have an autoimmune or connective tissue disease or have taken Accutane in the past six months. Before a chemical peel, let your doctor know if you scar easily, get frequent cold sores or have ever taken isotretinoin, as these conditions may increase the potential for side effects.


The 8 Worst Things You Can Do to Your Skin

Stop. Picking.
By Lauren Valenti

Scary truth: You can wreak a lot of havoc on your own face. Scarier truth? You can even do it in the process of trying to improve the quality of your skin.

For some tough-love insight, we looked to two of our most trusted experts, celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau and dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., at Schweiger Dermatology Group, to spell out the most common bad habits that keep women from achieving the complexion of their dreams. The main takeaway? It's not our skin—it's us.

1. Picking
Reminder: You're not a dermatologist and should not be picking at your pimples, ingrown hairs, or anywhere else on your face. It's one of the biggest assaults against your skin and can have permanent effects.

"The more people press and manipulate blemishes, the more inflammation they create underneath," explains Dr. Nazarian. "The result is scars or discolorations left on the skin, which can last months, if not forever."

2. Over-Exfoliating
Your skin can't take too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to exfoliating. Dr. Rouleau's advice? Use a good facial scrub or exfoliating acid—sparingly. "It can be used seven days on and seven days off," she says. "During the days when it is not being used, nourish the new healthy cells with a great moisturizer appropriate for your skin type."

3. Over-Washing
Washing is another skin habit that will suffer from surplus. Don't forget, your skin is a super delicate organ—be very particular about what you put on it and how often you do so.

"Most tend to use harsh soaps that strip natural oils from their body and disrupt the ideal pH of their skin," says Dr. Nazarian. "Chronic over-washing will cause skin to dry and crack, leaving it prone to infections and flares of inflammatory conditions like eczema, and can even highlight signs of aging, like small wrinkles and lines."

To ensure you're not over-drying your skin, look to super-hydrating cleansers that gently clean without destroying the balance of natural oils.

4. Using the Same Products Year-Round
Your skins needs different things from season to season. Each change should be a reminder to re-evaluate your regimen. Here are Rouleau's recommendations:

Winter: "The focus should be on moisturization and hydrating products."
Spring: "Think spring cleaning with deep pore cleansing and exfoliating products to revive the skin from the winter dryness."
Summer: "Focus should be on protecting skin from the sun with sunscreen and antioxidants, which have powerful protective qualities. Products should be lighter-weight in the spring and summer since there is more humidity in the air."
Fall: "Increase exfoliation to repair the skin from the summer sun damage."

5. Tugging at the Skin Around Your Eye
This is where skin is thinnest, which makes it the most delicate. And since it's the first to show signs of aging, be gentle with it!

" Pulling on the skin while putting in contacts, applying eyeliner, or rubbing aggressively to remove stubborn eye makeup can create wear and tear on the collagen and elasticity fibers, causing visible lines and wrinkles prematurely," explains Rouleau. "Always apply eye cream with the ring finger (it's the weakest) and use a gentle patting motion to avoid rubbing and tugging."

6. Tanning and/or Not Wearing Sunscreen
It's no secret that sunning yourself is just about the worst thing you can do to your skin. "Every tan, even a slight darkening, is a sign of skin damage," explains Dr. Nazarian. "With repeated exposure to UV-radiation, skin cells can mutate, causing deadly skin cancers like melanoma. If that wasn't bad enough, chronic radiation and tanning also causes signs of skin aging, like wrinkles, sagging and drooping, brown spots, and uneven tone."

As far as protection goes, you should be taking precaution daily if you want to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer. "Every day of the year, rain or shine, harmful UV rays come through windows in your office, home, or car," says Rouleau. "Make sure your moisturizer contains a sunscreen, so you only need to apply one product. Don't forget, the best anti-aging product in the world is sunscreen."

7. Smoking
As if you needed another incentive to quit, just know: Your skin will be so grateful. In addition to causing premature aging and wrinkling, it's endangering your health. "Smoking cigarettes increases your risk of squamous cell skin cancer, a dangerous skin cancer that can metastasize and spread if not caught early," warns Dr. Nazarian.

8. Neglect
Failing to look after your skin, like you would your teeth or hair, is its own form of abuse. But just cleansing ain't gonna cut it: "Washing your face in the morning isn't quite enough to satisfy your skin-care quota," explains Dr. Nazarian. "Skin requires daily moisturizing, daily sun-protection, and annual monitoring to screen for skin cancer. Skin cancers can usually be treated, and cured, if caught early. There's no excuse for neglecting your health by skipping your exam."


Would you like to make a positive change in someone's life?

The REWRITTEN program's mission is to help rewrite the life stories of ex-gang members, ex-convicts and victims of sex trafficking by offering tattoo removal funding.

Please click the link below or navigate to to learn more!