The increased popularity of tattoos has become prevalent in recent years, and so has the number of people seeking to remove them. In fact, tattoos have been part of the recent developments in body scar removal equipment that can be erased easily and almost painlessly without risk of scarring. Also, laser treatment can be highly effective in helping people deal with their tattoo regret.
Aside from that, lasers have been the most preferred tattoo removal method since the 1980s. With minimal side effects, the laser is a beam of high-intensity, monochromatic light and provides a bloodless, low-risk, and effective method for erasing tattoos. However, the removal procedure is a series of treatment sessions.
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?
Laser tattoo removal breaks up the pigment colors using a high-intensity light beam. The easiest color to treat is the black tattoo pigment since it absorbs all laser wavelengths. Selected lasers can only treat other colors based on the pigment color.
First, a consultation will be scheduled with a trained professional who can evaluate the tattoo and advise on the process. The number of treatments will rely on the tattoo’s age, size, and color. The color of the skin and how deep the tattoo pigment goes will also affect the removal technique.
What Are The Different Types Of Laser Tattoo Removal?
Today, laser tattoo removal specialists use three Q-switched lasers, which are more useful than others in removing certain ink colors. Because these lasers produce heat and the skin’s layers are penetrated at various depths, there are some side effects. In 2013, the picosecond laser was introduced and revolutionized the art of tattoo removal, which also comes with minimal side effects and breaks up some ink pigments better than others.
- Q-switched Ruby laser. The light wavelength of 694nm makes this helpful in removing black, blue, and green pigments. As indicated above, side effects like skin texture changes, hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, and scarring may also occur.
- Q-switched Nd: YAG laser. This laser uses a wavelength of 1064nm for dark blue or black ink removal or the wavelength of 532nm with a frequency-doubling crystal, which is effective for red or orange ink removal. Nonetheless, its potential side effects are hyperpigmentation and textural changes, but they are not frequent, and hypopigmentation, compared with the ruby laser, is much lower.
- Q-switched Alexandrite laser. It operates at a wavelength of 755nm, which resides between the neodymium: YAG and the ruby lasers. In fact, this is great for the removal of green, blue and black tattoos. The side effects are textural changes and transient hypopigmentation.
This laser delivers short, rapid bursts of energy to the skin in a trillionth of a second. Photothermal and photomechanical effects caused by the ultra-short pulse durations break up and destroy the color pigment. It works best on black, green, and blue inks but is also effective with yellow, orange, and purple.
However, the common side effects of picosecond laser are slight blistering, some crusting, and mild pigmentation alterations. Some hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation have been reported, with hyperpigmentation more likely to occur in patients with darker tattoos.
Through a specialized Pico fractional lens, a second laser can convert the laser energy into gentle pressure, without burning or damaging the skin, to create new collagen by squeezing cells and activating the natural cell.
- 532 nm can remove brown spots, red color tattoos, vascular lesions, and so on. This wavelength can be effective for warm-toned colors such as red, violet, yellow, brown, and so on.
- 585 nm can remove surface pigments, such as birthmarks, brown spots, red tattoos, and vascular lesions. It is more suitable for dark skin color.
- 650nm can remove tattoos in green and blue colors.
- 1064nm can remove the dermal layer pigment in the face and body, such as a birthmark. This is perfect for eliminating dark and black tattoos.
What Are The Expectations During the Laser Tattoo Removal?
The required number of treatments may vary depending on the size and color of the tattoo. If not in the three to eight visits, the tattoo removal sessions can sometimes be more. A trained professional will evaluate the situation through the initial consultation and discuss the tattoo removal process.
Aside from that, treatment with lasers varies from patient to patient, depending on their age and the size and type of tattoo. Also, it matters whether the tattoo was applied by an amateur or professional. The removal technique will also be affected by the color of the skin and the depth of the tattoo pigment in the body.
Generally, this is what will happen during an office visit for tattoo removal using the newest generation of lasers:
- The patient will wear protective eye shields.
- To determine the most effective laser energy for treatment, the reaction of the skin to the laser is tested.
- The treatment consists of placing a handpiece against the skin’s surface and repeatedly activating the laser light over the tattoo surface.
In addition, smaller tattoos require fewer pulses, and larger ones need more. Whatever the case is, the tattoo requires several treatments and multiple visits. After each treatment, the tattoo should become lighter.
How Many Sessions Are Expected From A Laser Tattoo Removal?
In general, tattoo removal varies from person to person and is impossible to predict since it’s affected by people and ink factors. Regarding people factors, individuals are different and will respond differently to the removal process. The skin of the person undergoing removal is an essential factor. The skin’s texture, laxity, hydration, and collagen concentration should all be considered and will cause the session lengths to vary.
One step anyone undergoing treatment should take is to protect the skin with a sun-safe skin care routine and use moisturizing sunscreen with high SPF and UVA 4* or above protection when exposing the treatment area to direct sunlight within two weeks of the treatment. This can significantly reduce redness after treatment – and generally improves outcomes.
Finally, the chosen method of laser tattoo removal also matters. Full removal could take as little as 4 months with newer, lower energy options or as long as 1-2 years with more traditional options that require more healing time for the skin. Overall, it’s a gradual process that requires patience, and results aren’t seen overnight.
The Bottom Line
While tattoos are a work of art, some people may have outgrown their tattoos and lost their appeal. Belle Visage Medical Aesthetics offers laser tattoo removal with the use of the Fotona StarWalker® system, which utilizes the patented FractatTM technology. Moreover, this system can remove multiple colors in a single session and clear the tattoo pigments much faster.
This state-of-the-art laser treatment for tattoos is safe, effective, and produces desired results. Ultimately, they no longer need to live with an unsightly tattoo.