Certain types of lasers have been proven to be effective at removing tattoos. The laser delivers high power, short pulses of intense laser light, that pass through the skin and are absorbed by the tattoo pigment, breaking up these particles. The laser targets the pigment without damaging the surrounding skin. These particles are then removed by the body’s immune system. Laser tattoo removal technology results in less chance of scarring.
First, the doctor will cleanse the skin on and around the tattoo to remove oils on the skin. Then, a numbing cream or ice may be applied along with a cooling spray. During the procedure the patient will feel intense emissions of light penetrate the tattooed area. Patients may feel a mild uncomfortable sensation – which can be described as the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. After the procedure, the treated area may be red, and in some cases may crust, scab, or bleed slightly.
It usually requires several treatments to successfully remove a tattoo. The number of treatments depends on the amount, type, color and depth of the ink in the skin. Generally, professional tattoos require 5-6 treatments (as the pigment is deeper), while amateur tattoos may require less. Certain tattoo pigments respond differently to the laser pulse:
* Black ink absorbs all wavelengths of light and responds very well to diode laser treatments.
* Green and Blue ink absorbs 670-890nm light best and responds very well to diode laser treatments.
* Red, Orange, and Purple inks absorb 500-700nm light best and will only show marginal improvement with diode laser treatments.
* Turquoise responds variably, depending on the pigments in the ink.
* Yellow tends to reflect light and does not respond well to diode laser treatments.