How Laser Tattoo Removal Works and Common Techniques
    (Dr. W. Y Chung, MD - Friday, March 24, 2017)

About 45 million people in America share body art in the form of tattoos. And about half of those people seek to have their tattoos removed at some later point. Often folks are a little regretful of having placed a tattoo in a highly visible location. Regardless of the reason, you need to know your options for laser tattoo removal to choose the best route for you and when it is best for your body.

Few risks are incurred when employing the right type of lasers. The most important factor is the professional performing the procedure. You want to check the background of your choice.


Why Is the Immune System Involved?

Lasers do not remove tattoos. They are merely a mechanism that allows the dye to be removed. Lasers break apart the tattoos into small pieces, allowing these little sections to be hauled away. Your immune system does the actual manual labor of removal with the help of white blood cells.

Your immune system is amazing. In constant motion, it removes foreign bodies from your blood and tissues. The foreign bodies may be organic, such as bacteria. Inorganics are also targeted, such as chemicals and metals. Tattoo dye is often made of a combination of pigment and metals. Some dyes even include mercury.

The immune system needs time to move the pieces. The area of skin must be allowed to heal. For these two main reasons, several weeks need to pass between laser treatments. There are other considerations as well.


Healthy Immune Systems Remove Tattoos

Recall that your immune system is constantly working. It is battling toxins made from normal chemical reactions in your cells on a daily basis. They are the byproducts of digestion, cell growth and a whole host of productions transpiring in your body. Without any outside intrusion, your immune system constantly works; when you are awake, at rest, and even asleep.

When a foreign body is added to the system, it sends out special workers to remove the threat, for that is how foreign bodies are viewed. Bacteria causing a sickness are immediately rendered inert in a healthy immune system. And you remain healthy. But when there is an onslaught, such as a severe cold or flu, your body is working doubly hard to eject the intruders. For this reason, when you decide to schedule a laser tattoo removal session, you want to be in good health. You don’t want your immune system to already be battling a cold. If you have a cold, then the tattoo and cold will take much longer to fade, as the immune system must divide and conquer, instead of focusing on one or the other.

Antibiotics also negatively affect laser tattoo removal. Skin becomes a bit light sensitive when using them. Lasers emit light in various pulses. The light may damage the skin more when you have antibiotics in your system.

In order to reduce overall stress to your immune system, you want to be in good health for each laser tattoo removal treatment. It ensures your body can handle the normal tasks while discarding the toxins found in the dye.


Laser Tattoo Removal Techniques

The most common form of tattoo removal is currently the use of a laser. Lasers produce intense light in very short bursts. The light then goes through the top layer of skin harmlessly. When the laser makes contact with the pigment from the tattoo, it breaks the ink blots into smaller pieces. Not all lasers are the same. An array of laser wavelengths are used for different colors, as light is absorbed. Dark colors break up more fully than light colors, on average. Expect to endure several sessions to fully remove your tattoo. Usually, it takes ten times the effort to remove one than it does to add one to your skin.


PicoSure

This particular technique is approved by the FDA. It uses energy in short bursts. Not only does it help remove a tattoo, it can lighten age spots, reduce wrinkles and acne scars. The pulses are a trillionth of a second long. The tattoo ink breaks into small pieces, whereby the immune system of the body carts off the ink to the liver for expulsion.


Q-Switch

This is an active laser. It is considered a very effective technique for dark dyes. It will not work for light blues or yellows. Though rather expensive, it is very effective.


Q-Switched Ruby

The difficult-to-remove colors are often broken down by this type of laser. The wavelengths are measured in nanoseconds. This technique will also be effective for darker colors.


Q-Switched Nd-YAG

This uses crystals which help focus light for gray, dark blue and black dyes. Yellow, red and orange colors are also broken up with this laser tattoo removal technique. Wavelengths are able to reach deep skin tissue layers.


Q-Switched Alexandrite

Used mainly for green, blue and black tattoos. This is a popular technique, as green is often a difficult dye to remove.


Dye Handpiece

This particular kind of laser offers an array of wavelengths and therefore colors for removal. However, it is not very effective. Handpieces lower the power of a laser, and tends to scatter the light. Though not as expensive as other techniques, it appears it is not worth the money savings.


Passive Laser

More often than not, a passive laser is too weak to eliminate a tattoo completely. This form of removal simply fades the tattoo.


Laser Tattoo Removal

The three biggest considerations for laser tattoo removal are:

Wavelength of the laser vs. color of the dye to be removed.
Talent of the professional using the laser.
Your current health.

One great way to choose your professional is through recommendations from friends and family. You should have a handle of what technique you wish to choose, to know what colors and how many sessions will be necessary. And you should always schedule a session when you are healthy, not when you are battling a cold for ensuring the best results.




Contact Us

InkOff.MD℠
1585 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 1740
Honolulu, HI 96814

Tel: 808-949-8346
Email: contact@inkoffhawaii.com

Inkoff MD

Follow Us Online