Physicians consider the use of lasers as one of the best methods of tattoo removal.
Treatment with lasers varies from patient to patient depending on several factors:
- age, size and type of tattoo
- color of the patient’s skin
- depth to which the tattoo or pigment extends beneath the skin’s surface.
Type of laser
We use a Q-switched laser which is the only type of laser modality used for Tattoo removal. This is due to the speed. Other wavelengths in the past have been used that leave scars by exploding the ink out of the tissue whereas the process of removal via laser is done through the body’s lymphatic system.
The Q-switched Nd:Yag is the preferred type of laser due to its speed—it moves at a nano second. Pulses of light from the laser are directed onto the tattoo breaking up the tattoo pigment. Over the next several weeks the body’s scavenger cells remove the treated pigmented areas. More than one treatment is necessary to remove all tattoo pigment.
Laser tattoo removal works through explosive heating, using a Q-switched laser, and fragments the intracellular ink granules that are contained in dermal phagocytic cells. Your white blood cells absorb the waste material, harmful microorganisms, or other foreign bodies in the bloodstream and tissue. Skin cells and ink are sloughed off from the surface skin, but much of the ink is eliminated through the body’s lymphatic system.
Cosmetic tattoo ink, typically the lighter ink colors, may contain ferric oxide that can permanently turn black when exposed to Q-switched laser pulses.
A few questions before you begin:
- Have you had any recent sun exposure or plans after this treatment to be in the sun or heavily exposed to water & heat?
- If your have any special plans within the next 2 weeks you may want to consider waiting to treat.
- Let’s discuss how to protect the area to help prevent possible infection.
- Do you have any medical conditions that could slow your wound healing process? Such as:
- Auto Immune Disorders
- Current Anemia
- Have you ever shown signs of having an allergy to the ink?
- Swelling with sun exposure? Itching? This would be after your tattoo had healed?
- If YES, We need to test patch. Due to the healing process.
- Have you taken any antibiotics within the past 2 weeks?
- If you do become ill or begin taking any during this process I will need you to be off of the medication for at least 2 weeks prior to your treatment.
The pain & swelling factor will vary depending on placement. Areas over bony areas do tend to be more tender. Numbing is done using topical application or via injections. Placing ice on the area will not only assist with numbing, but help prevent blistering.
- Is half machine/half body.
- The laser will target and fragment the ink.
- Your body will absorb the ink as a toxin and you will excrete this naturally.
- The Lymphatic System is the body’s natural filter, toxins are processed through your body’s lymphatic system, which is a 2-3 week process.
Size & Placement
On your first visit for a removal any tattoo that is connected around the body will be treated on 2 visits. This is due to blood flow. Swelling will occur, we do not want to risk restricting circulation. Half treated today, we will have you back in 7 days. Your next visit the entire tattoo will be treated and will be continued at each visit.
How many treatments?
You may need 8-12 treatments—MORE or LESS. Placement of the ink in dermis and quality of the ink play a large factor in the amount of treatments that will be necessary. The deeper the ink, quality ink will take longer. Your skin has many layers. One by one we will work our way to the dermal level to target the ink.
- Depending on your healing process, the initials appointments will be every 4 weeks. You cannot treat the area any sooner than 4 weeks. Only so much toxin can be processed by your body at one time.
- If you tend to heal slower we will elongate your visits.
- If you feel any compromise to the tissue or scabbing before your appointment you need to postpone treatment until fully healed.
- As fading occurs we will schedule the treatments every 6-8 weeks as it take more time the deeper the ink.
You may see 100% fade with no sign the tattoo was ever present or you may only get a partial fade. This leaves you with the option to re-tattoo the area or utilize make-up to help mask it.
PIH (post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation) hyper (increased) and hypo (loss of)-pigmentation is common with any laser service. As your tattoo becomes faded you may see this. Often this is temporary and will resolve itself within 6 months to a year. In darker skin types you may see “transient” hypo-pigmentation as well. This means that the melanocytes come and go. Lightening around the area is temporary.
Drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods and exercise to assist your body with the detox process. The healthier your lifestyle the quicker the fade.