August 23 2014

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Rethinking Ink


This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail celia_

Are there any developments in skin grafting to cover some ill-advised tattoos I got when I was a teenager?

I always recommend the MedLite laser. New York Dermatology actually just launched a citywide tattoo removal facility called RethINK; we only have board-certified doctors with at least four years of skincare experience operating the lasers. It’s a medical treatment and this is real science from real doctors. We use a handheld spectrometer to determine what kind of pigments are in each specific tattoo so we can set the wavelength to target specific colors. Some colors require different wavelengths and don’t respond as well to treatment, like sky blue, orange, and red, but if you have a blue-black ink tattoo, you’re going to get a really good result. In general, though, most tattoos take about six to 12 months to treat, except those that were not done professionally, which I’d suggest not removing at all as you risk getting a ghost outline of the tattoo.

The wound healing process is also different at RethINK. Tattoo removal is essentially the creation of a wound, so we use the most advanced treatments, like Biafine and Bactroban, to heal the area.

David A. Colbert, M.D., is the founder of New York Dermatology Group and its Head Physician. A board-certified member of the American Academy of Dermatology, he has served as a consultant for Chanel skincare and has published numerous articles on medical and cosmetic dermatology.

Photo: Greg Kessler

The Doctor Is In