Laser Tattoo Removal
Whatever your reason may be for removing a tattoo, laser procedures are the most common and effective method for erasing the ink.
Laser Tattoo Removal Procedure
The laser device fragments the ink with short pulses of intense, concentrated laser light. The method of delivery and the wavelengths used are designed to target only the tattooed pigments, without affecting the surrounding pigments and layers of skin. Different laser lights are used for different ink colors. Black ink is easiest to remove, because black absorbs the full spectrum of light, while green, blue, red, and other colors require more targeted laser pulses.
Passing through the surface layers of your skin, the light is absorbed by the tattooed pigments, causing them to break into smaller particles. Your body's immune system then removes the fragmented tattooed particles. And because your immune system works best in areas of greater blood circulation, ink can be removed faster in those areas.
Tattoo removal may require anywhere from one to eight laser treatment sessions, each treatment lasting only a few minutes, with four- to eight-week intervals between each session. Each treatment penetrates a little deeper, removing more ink and leaving the tattoo progressively lighter.
Best Candidates for Laser Tattoo Removal
The best candidates are people with a fair to medium-light complexion who have darker ink tattoos applied sparsely and close to the skin surface. The laser light seeks contrast to target the appropriate pigments, so the greater the contrast (dark ink on light skin), the more effective the removal process and the fewer sessions needed.
Also, darker ink happens to be more easily fragmented, as is less dense ink that is closer to the surface. However, laser treatments may also be effective on people with darker skin and with varied ink colors.
Side effects of laser tattoo removal are rare, but may include blistering, infection, loss of skin color, or scabbing. If scabbing occurs, it usually subsides within two weeks. In most cases, skin returns back to normal.
With advances in laser technology and better methods, scarring has become rare.