Whether you’re freshly inked, or you got your tattoo eons ago, you probably remember the artist giving you specific instruction for caring for your tattoo right after the procedure. Even people who’ve never gotten a tattoo generally know the basics: keep it covered, apply lotion, and avoid direct sunlight for a while.

When you have a tattoo removed, you need to take special care of your skin afterwards, just as you did when you got the ink done. Here are the things you’ll want to be aware of before getting your tattoo removed for good.

Prepare Yourself For Side Effects

Everyone reacts to laser tattoo removal a little bit differently. Common side effects include swelling, redness, itchiness and the occasional dryness. Some of this may be familiar to you, as these effects are common after the tattooing process, as well. Swelling and redness are short-lived symptoms, lasting anywhere from a few hours to two days. Itchiness and dryness are both signs that your skin is healing — if either one starts to bother you, apply a moisturizing ointment to soothe the area.

If your tattoo is relatively new, or involves a cover-up design, you’re more likely to face blistering — this is because in both cases, the pockets of ink beneath your skin are much denser. With newer tattoos, your body hasn’t had a chance to break down the edges of the ink yet; in the case of a cover-up, you have two layers of ink in one place, giving the laser twice the amount of work to do.

If you experience blistering as a result of your treatment, resist the temptation to pop your blisters. That blister is forming a protective bubble around your skin that blocks out potentially harmful bacteria, and they should reduce naturally in less than five days. If your blister happens to pop on its own, immediately cover it with antibiotic ointment and a bandage.

Clock in Some Down Time

As you go through the process of laser tattoo removal, the best thing you can do to help your body heal is to give it as much rest as you can manage. When you overexert yourself, your body has to split its healing abilities between tending to your treated skin, and restoring energy to the body parts you’re exhausting.

Keep hydrated, get plenty of rest, and try not to exert the treated area. If you’re getting laser removal treatments on your shoulder, avoid heavy lifting. You don’t want to risk stretching and popping healing blisters, or otherwise damaging the skin.

Damage to the area may delay future treatments, forcing the removal process to take longer than you originally planned. Give your body time to heal, and you’ll face much fewer complications.

Know Your Body

The healing process after laser tattoo removal is far less complicated — and less painful — than the original tattooing process. It’s also much quicker (a huge plus when it comes to minimizing times between treatment sessions), but the success of the removal treatment is dependent on you taking good care of your skin after each session. You know your body better than anyone, so pay special attention to your skin and the way it reacts to the treatments. By simply being conscious of your body as it heals, you can address any minor side effects quickly, before they become issues. Treating your body to rest and proper care, and preparing for the range of side effects that could occur, will put you on the road to smooth and complete tattoo removal.

Do you have questions about how to prepare for laser tattoo removal? Leave a comment below!

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