When you live in an outdoor paradise like Bend only vampires spend a lot of time indoors. We’re hiking, biking, golfing, skiing, playing in the water, and anything else just to get out there. And we’re out there in shorts, tank tops, and other less than covering attire.

Ah, but there’s that tattoo on your shoulder. You know, the one that seemed like a good idea 20 years ago when you’d had 11 cocktails and were in love with Steve. You got matching dragons together!

Now, that dragon is starting to look like a platypus, and Steve has gone the way of the Pony Express. Maybe that tattoo should, too.

Aging skin is not tattoo-friendly skin

Everyone’s skin ages. Well, not Dracula’s or the neck biters from Twilight, but everyone else watches as their skin loses its collagen supply (collagen is the protein that provides and maintains the skin’s support structure) and its elastin (the protein that keeps the skin supple). Throw in sun damage and your skin becomes looser and less elastic. For a tattoo, that means the sharp lines and definition of days gone by are no longer so defined. Give it another 10 years and you may be hard pressed to even be able to make out what the tattoo is supposed to be. All of this is exacerbated with weight gain.

Removing it

It used to be that there were only three ways to get rid of a tattoo: surgery to remove the skin, acid bleaching, and dermabrasion (basically sandblasting of your skin). All of them were just as pleasant as they sound.

Fortunately technology has come to the rescue in the form of the laser. Lasers can remove any tattoo, returning your arm, neck, shoulder, calf, or wherever to its pre-tattooed clarity. At Deschutes, we use the Spectra Laser for tattoo removal, employing different wavelengths for the different colors in the tattoo.

How does it work?

At Deschutes, our lasers deliver quick high-energy pulses that are absorbed by the pigment in the tattoo. The energy breaks the pigment into particles small enough that they can then be cleared from the body by the lymphatic system.

Now many treatments are necessary?

It’s very difficult to pinpoint just how many treatments your tattoo will need to remove it completely. This is because of the different ink colors, as well as the depth the ink has been placed. Single black tattoos with the name of your former boyfriend are easy. Multicolor scenes from Lord of the Rings, not so much. Black, red, dark orange, and dark blue tattoos respond quickly, while certain other colors such as green, purple, brown, and light colors take more time. Most tattoos require a number of treatments spaced from six to eight weeks apart.

Tattoos generally take from 3 to 13 treatments to go the way of the passenger pigeon.

Does it hurt?

The procedure has some discomfort, but not much. We apply an anesthetic cream to the location prior to beginning the laser treatment. After each treatment, you will have three to four days of sensitivity at the site. You’ll also need to apply an over-the-counter antibiotic to the site and keep it covered.

Are you as tired of that tattoo as Mr. Rourke must have been of Tattoo on Fantasy Island? Call us at Deschutes, [primary_phone], and let’s zap it away.