What is Laser Tattoo Removal?
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER) tattoo removal is the gold standard in tattoo removal today. LASER emits light of one wavelength, which is absorbed by certain colours of ink. The laser light enters the skin at a very high speed, just like a shock wave, and breaks down the ink particles into smaller particles. The body perceives these smaller particles as foreign and the immune system attacks them to remove them.
Can any colour be removed?
Etherea MX is a multi-function platform. Its ACROMA -QS R technology produces Nd-YAG 1064 nm and 532 nm. Not all colours will respond well to LASER treatment. Reds and Blacks are removed effectively along with some purple, orange, pink, brown and occasionally yellow ink. The greens and blues are less effectively removed but can be lightened up to 50%, allowing a effective cover up. Statistically, 80-90% tattoos are made from black ink.
Ink Pigment Sits in Different Depths in the Skin
Different colour inks settle at different depths in the skin. Black Ink settles in the deepest layers of the skin. The Blue/greens settle in the middle layers of skin and the oranges/Reds are more superficial. Different wavelengths of laser are required to target different inks. Acroma-QS is a Q switched Nd-YAG laser with dual wavelength which will target both deep and superficial and some intermediate level pigment.
You Can’t Change Physics
The most important factor to consider in tattoo removal are 1) colours being targeted by the wavelength 2) How deep will the wavelength work.
The best wavelength to target the dark pigments (Dark blues, black etc) is the Nd :Yag 1064 nm and the only wavelength to target the Red is 532 nm.
How many treatment sessions do I need?
Different tattoos respond differently to laser treatment. The variables include depth of the ink,age of tattoo, weather it was a amateur or professional work. The chemical composition of the ink varies and also there is variation in density of placement, immune system response to ink and type of skin.
The number of sessions vary depending on the above mentioned factors. A educated guess can be taken on the number of sessions it will take to get rid of the tattoo. On an average most black ink tattoos takes 10-15 sessions spread over several months .
How is Acroma R Laser different to Picosure™ Laser?
Acroma R is a Q-Switched Laser which operates in a Nano second range, delivering 1064 nm and 532 nm wavelengths. Hence, 2 wave lengths to target a range of tattoo inks. In contrast, Picosure™ Laser operates in Pico second range and is able to generate only single wave length, 755.
- It just stops short of deep black colour due to shorter wavelength. Potentially it may not remove black ink.
- It is ineffective in removing red coloured inks.
How frequently can I return for follow up treatment sessions?
Tattoo fading and removal is a slow process and it depends on the body’s immune system to work. It is recommended that there is at least a 4-5-week gap between the laser treatments.
Does it hurt?
The discomfort during laser tattoo removal is described as a “rubber band snapping the skin”. It can vary from person to person. We try our utmost to minimize any discomfort or pain possible. We also use topical numbing cream as well as a skin cooling with chiller device, both of which are highly effective when used together.
If the tattoo looks healed can I come in before six weeks?
It takes about 4 weeks for the body to start breaking down the ink. Even though the tattoo may look healed, it is not. The laser breaks the ink into smaller pieces which are then attacked by the immune system of the body. As the process takes about 4-6 weeks, getting treated earlier than that will not make the tattoo go any quicker and on the contrary there will be a risk of scarring.
What are the limitations after treatment?
You will need to restrict physical activity and avoid sun exposure for about 24 hours. If the body gets too hot, there can be blisters on the treated tattoo site. Shower with luke warm water and mild soap can be taken.
Can I have just a portion of the tattoo removed?
Yes, the laser is very accurate, and it can remove the unwanted parts of a tattoo.
I have permanent make-up (lip liner, eyeliner, eyebrows). Can you remove it?
Yes, this can be done at Skin Logics. Some cosmetic inks can have metallic bases. When the laser beam comes in contact with these inks, they turn black. If this darkening occurs, it will take several sessions to fix it. We do a test spot in all patients.
How much does it cost?
The price of the treatments depends on the size of tattoo and we will need to see it before quoting .
Can I lighten the tattoo to have another one put on top?
Yes, depending on the colours of the tattoo, we recommend about 3-5 treatment sessions to lighten it. You will need to wait 6 weeks before your last treatment, before you put on a new tattoo.
Will I blister and scab afterwards?
Scabs and Blisters are normal. Avoid popping or picking at them. If it is a concern for you , please feel free to call us and we can drain them for you. If the blister pops itself, keep the skin over it intact and cover with a healing ointment and gauze.
Does insurance cover it?
No, health insurance does not cover this procedure.
I got my tattoo one week ago. Can I have it removed right now?
Unfortunately, no. You have to wait six weeks after a tattoo has been put on .
Are all tattoo removal lasers the same?
It is essential to understand that not all tattoo removal lasers available are the same. Only top of the range Class 4 (C4) Q-Switched Lasers from reputed manufacturers are able to properly tackle the inks of professionally done tattoos. These are high end laser platforms that are extremely expensive (over $100,000) . Non-medical personnel can only operate certain low powered laser devices. Chinese and Korean devices are not able to remove professionally done tattoos. It is important for anyone wanting to have a tattoo removed, to ask about the professional qualification of their service provider and what laser device is being used in house.
What is the aftercare like?
Same rule apply as you would have after having the tattoo. The tattoo may turn white briefly during the laser treatment. It may swell and become red for few hours. It is essential to keep it covered with ointment and a bandage on day 1. Keep it covered with sunscreen, in between the treatments.
Tattoo Removal Hamilton
Skin Logics specializes in tattoo removal.