It is estimated that in the United States, approximately 17% of people with tattoos experience some regret. Once considered permanent, it is now possible to remove or fade tattoos non-invasively using Q-switched lasers.
How Does it Work?
The thousand of particles of ink that make up a tattoo are ‘permanent’ because they are too large to be absorbed into the body. Q-switched lasers react with these suspended particles of ink and fragment them into much smaller particles. Once the ink has been broken down, the smaller particles can be re-absorbed into the body and removed by natural body processes.
What Types and Colors of Tattoos Can Be Treated?
Each color in a tattoo has a pigment with a specific light absorption spectra. A tattoo laser emits energy within the given absorption spectrum of the pigment to address the color of ink being targeted.
Several colors of laser light (measured as wavelengths of laser energy) are used for tattoo removal, and vary from visible light to near-infrared radiation. The ability to use different wavelengths makes it possible to treat and fade a variety of tattoo ink colors.
Certain tattoo pigments, such as yellows, greens and fluorescent inks are more challenging to treat than darker blacks and blues. These lighter colors have absorption spectra that fall outside or on the edge of the emission spectra available in tattoo removal lasers.
Since most tattoos are comprised of multiple colors, they usually require the use of two or more laser wavelengths.
How Many Treatments Are Required?
The number of treatments required to adequately fade or remove a tattoo vary with each individual and depend on:
The size, color(s) and location of the tattoo
The amount of ink that was used and/or layering
Scarring or tissue change
The goal of each patient (for example, fading a tattoo takes less time than compete removal)
In most cases, multiple treatments are required to sufficiently break up the ink in the tattoo. Treatments are typically spaced at least eight weeks apart so that the particles of ink that have been fragmented during each laser treatment can be absorbed by the body in the following weeks. The bottom line: Tattoos are lightened over time.
Tattoos located on the extremities, such as the ankle, generally take longest.
How to Get the Best Possible Results with Laser Tattoo Removal
Multiple factors contribute to the outcome of laser tattoo removal, one of which is a patient’s own immune system. A healthy patient will usually get the quickest and best results since their body is better able to absorb and excrete the ink that has been broken down by the laser. To help you achieve the best possible results, we recommend adequate hydration, eight hours of sleep each night, maintaining a healthy weight, a well balanced diet, exercise, and not smoking to help improve results.
At Cosmetique, we go to great lengths to make sure you laser tattoo removal experience is a successful one. If you may have any questions, please call us at (310) 837-5555.