How are Lasers Used to Remove Tattoos?
A beam of laser light is directed through the skin into the tattoo. The absorbed light disrupts and promotes the removal of the ink.
Why Laser Light?
Lasers have been demonstrated to be the most effective method to remove a tattoo because the laser make it possible to target specific ink colors. This is because each laser emits light of only one wavelength (i.e., color) – and each emitted wavelength is specifically absorbed by only one ink color. By selecting different lasers, it is possible to target and remove the different colors of ink that were used in creating the tattoo.
How Many Treatments are Required and How Often?
Usually more than one treatment is required to lighten or eliminate a tattoo. This depends upon: the colors within the tattoo; the quantity of ink used; the age of the tattoo; the location of the tattoo; and the complexion of the overlying skin, among other factors. Treatments are usually scheduled at intervals of 8 weeks.
Does the Ink Color Affect the Ease of Tattoo Removal?
Yes. In general, black ink is the easiest color to remove – requiring the fewest number of treatments – while green ink is the most difficult color ink to remove – requiring the most number of treatments.
Does Skin Color Affect the Ease of Tattoo Removal?
Yes. Light skin is the easiest complexion for ink removal – requiring the fewest number of treatments – while dark skin requires more treatments. If the skin is too dark it may not be possible to completely remove the tattoo. In addition, dark skin is more likely associated with scarring or alteration in skin color after laser treatment, compared to lighter skin tones.