Laser tattoo removal works on the principle of selective thermolysis where the targeted tattoo is exposed to the energy delivered by laser. This energy exposure results in selective destruction of the foreign pigment while ensuring minimum damage to the surrounding skin.
Lasers can be applied to remove all sorts of tattoos be it professional, amateur, cosmetic, medicinal, and traumatic tattoos. The different colors present in the tattoos may respond differently to laser tattoo removal, but they do get removed to quite some extent. Thus laser tattoo removal presents itself as a non-invasive and effective treatment for unwanted tattoos.
The right candidate
Anyone with a need to remove an undesired tattoo can opt for laser tattoo removal. It is not the person’s physical characteristics which decide the extent of removal but the colors used. Though most tattoo colors can be eliminated or lightened more or less, skin colored tattoos may undergo irreversible ink darkening. This may be the case with white, pink, flesh-toned and light brown tattoo inks. Also red ink tattoos may turn black. In these situations do ask or say yes to a test dose.
Although, laser tattoo removal for sure is the best solution to the unwanted tattoo woes; it has got its warts which need to be kept in mind. Some of them are:
1. Since results are color dependent total elimination is not possible, however you can be sure of dramatic lightening. Amateur black tattoos respond more quickly than professional and multicolored tattoos.
2. To get maximum benefit multiple sessions are usually required.
3. Doubly treated tattoos may require additional treatments.
4. If the tattoo is multicolored, it would require exposure to lasers of several different wavelengths because of the selective absorption characteristics of a particular color.
Types of lasers used
Q-switched Ruby Laser (QSRL)
It is a red colored laser which works best for dark blue and black inks. With tattoos in these colors, results have been exceptional. So far as red and yellow color is concerned results have been less than satisfactory. The response of green tattoos is variable. The QSRL is also effective in treating medicinal and traumatic tattoos.
This laser works both for amateur and professional tattoos of all colors. But best results have been observed in case of black tattoos, as is the case with the ruby laser. Moreover this laser works quite well for darker skinned individuals. Also unlike QSRL, which is ineffective in case of red and yellow color, Q-switched Nd:YAG is highly effective for these colors in frequency doubled setting (532 nm).
Q-switched Alexandrite Laser
This laser is quite like QSRL in treating tattoos especially when treating green tattoos. However up to 50% of patients can experience textural changes in their skin after treatment.
Flashlamp-pumped Pulsed Dye Laser
This laser does not penetrate deep into skin because of its wavelength which is 510 nm. Hence it is not so useful when it comes to deeper tattoos. However, it is effective for the treatment of brightly colored tattoos such as those that use red, purple, and orange inks. The major side effect of this laser is bruising.
After the procedure some swelling and blistering is commonplace, so is crusting. So don’t panic they will go by themselves after some time. Do take good care of the wound to aid the healing process and to prevent infection.
To ensure fast and safe healing, make use of prescribed antibiotic ointment with regular dressing changes. If you feel the need of alleviating any resultant pain, consult the physician to recommend you some pain killer. Also avoid exposure to sun to prevent tanning.
Laser tattoo removal has brought an effective, less painful solution to people who want to get their tattoos removed or faded.