The Apple watch has been creating quite a buzz lately, and not just because it is loaded with features to help you manage your schedule, seek out information, and more. It is also a device designed to help people stay active, an important component of health. One of the key features of the Apple watch is monitoring your heart rate and physical activity—but it is not doing its job when it comes to one demographic: people with tattoos on their wrists.
The Apple Watch’s Fitness Functions
The embedded heart rate monitor on the Apple watch uses photoplethysmography to measure heart rate and provide information about calories burned, create fitness goals, and more. Using green LED lights, photodiodes, and infrared technology, the watch measures bloodflow to calculate the heartbeat at any given time. This information is recorded and stored every 10 minutes during everyday use.
How Tattoos Interfere
Wrist tattoos cause problems for the Apple watch’s heart rate monitor due to the way the pigment can affect light reflection in the skin. On the product page for the watch, the company states that “permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.”
Out of Luck?
If you have wrist tattoos, you may be wondering if you are out of luck when it comes to accessing all the features of the Apple watch. First, it depends on your tattoo. Darker, larger tattoos are more likely to block light and cause problems, such as sleeve tattoos that extend to the wrist. If your tattoo does block the functionality of the watch, you have a few options. First, you can use the other features of the watch and forget about the heart rate monitor. You can also use an external Bluetooth heart rate monitor in place of the one on the watch. The most extreme option, however, is tattoo removal.
While even the most devoted of Apple fans might hesitate to erase their body art over the watch’s functionality, there is always the option for tattoo removal. Tattoo removal is very common, and people seek the treatments for many different reasons.
The most effective, safest, and accepted method in use today is laser treatment. The color, size, and type of ink all play a role in how much a given tattoo can be faded. Laser treatments are uncomfortable, but most people tolerate the procedure well, and sessions are short—about 10 minutes apiece. Depending on the tattoo, patients may require anywhere from 2 to 10 or more sessions in order to produce the desired results. Some tattoos may be stubborn and may never be able to be faded completely.
The process works by using the light from the laser to break up the tattoo pigment in the skin. Over the weeks following treatment, the body disposes of this pigment and the tattoo begins to fade. Some basic aftercare is necessary following each treatment, but the instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. Most people who want to get their tattoos removed are candidates for the procedure, provided they are in general good health.
Choosing an Expert
Tattoo removal as an industry has experienced a large boom in the last few years, with many people capitalizing on the demand for laser treatments. Because of this, there are many barely qualified laser technicians administering these procedures. This can be dangerous and subject patients to avoidable complications. An experienced plastic surgeon is your best bet for good results if you are considering laser tattoo removal, as their skill and experience cannot be matched by most tattoo removal clinics.
If you would like to speak with a board certified plastic surgeon about your tattoos and your plans for removal, come meet with laser specialist Dr. Stuart Bentkover of New England Tattoo Removal at Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery and Laser Center in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA. Dr. Bentkover is highly experienced in removing tattoos of all types, and is standing by to help you reach your goals. Call either location today to schedule your consultation.