We won’t lie; laser tattoo removal isn’t painless. However, pain is gain. The blistering and swelling that occurs after an aggressive laser tattoo removal treatment indicates high levels of ink shattering and a strong immune response to flush away the tiny ink particles. Also, most patients that can tolerate the pain of getting a tattoo can tolerate its removal. Yet, most practitioners wish to provide some sort of anesthetic or numbing solution for patients having tattoos removed.
Having a numbing option for patients gives them some comfort both physically and mentally during the tattoo removal process. They have a sense of control over the inevitable pain of the procedure. Plus, offering numbing can make your clinic appear more professional and considerate of patient comfort.
There are a number types of numbing products available for laser tattoo removal: local anesthetic creams, injectable local anesthetics, and contact cooling options. Contact cooling options include icepacks and cooling machines.
Creams are generally a complicated choice because they take a long time to penetrate deep enough to have true numbing effects. If you treat too soon after applying the cream, the patient will still be in pain. If you have the patients wait after the cream is applied, they may be annoyed by the time taken for the numbing in relation to the speed of the laser treatment. Also, many creams require a doctor’s prescription for use.
Injectable anesthetics generally work well to numb pain, but they can only be provided by doctors (or other high-level medical professionals). Injectables do not provide a solution for tattoo removal clinics that do not have a doctor on-site or want a no-fuss, fast solution.
Contact cooling is a great option for most tattoo removal clinics. Both icepacks and cooling machines are fast, effective, and easy for anyone to use. Icepacks are cheap and useful, yet may lessen the perceived professionalism of your tattoo removal clinic because of their simplicity. Also, it is important to find a sterilization method between tattoo removal patients.
Cooling machines, specifically the Zimmer Cryo 6 and Cryo Mini, are the gold standard of numbing in the laser tattoo removal industry. These devices blow ice-cold air onto the skin and turn on at the press of a button. The machines are very effective at making the skin numb for tattoo removal, plus are easy to use. The greatest advantage is that both the Zimmer device and the tattoo removal laser can be used simultaneously, so that you can actively numb the skin during the tattoo removal procedure. The Cryo 6 is great if you have a high-volume tattoo removal clinic and space for a standalone machine. The Mini is a solid solution if size, price, and portability are important, but your tattoo removal clinic is relatively low-volume.
Regardless of the choice you make for your numbing process, it’s important to show your patients that you care for them and their concerns.