Updated: Jun 30, 2021
A tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes, and/or pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin. The art of making tattoos is tattooing. Tattoos fall into three broad categories: purely decorative and symbolic.
If you are interested in tattoo removal, then laser therapy is the best option available today. With many recent advances in laser tattoo removal over the past decade, today’s lasers can help fade tattoos more safely and effectively in fewer treatments. Additionally, with multiple lasers available, ink colours that were once difficult to remove are now treatable. While the technology has improved, your safety and results still depend almost entirely on the person performing the tattoo removal. This is why the FDA recommends that you consult a dermatologist for laser tattoo treatments.
Tattoo Removal in the Past: Before Picosecond Lasers
Tattoo regret isn’t a modern thing; in fact, it’s safe to say that it has been around since people started getting tattoos!
In earlier times, people used painful and often more dangerous means to remove their tattoos. One of the methods they used was dermabrasion, which was done with a rough object (such as a wire brush) and exposed the client to infections. Another technique was salabrasion, which used table salt and a gauze pad and left the client with lots of scarring.
As the times progressed, people turned to more modern yet still ineffective tattoo removal methods that caused pain, scarring, and infections. Some used chemicals like tannic acid and silver nitrate as well as certain kinds of phenol solutions, which caused burns and left the skin disfigured. Others surgically removed the skin where the tattoo was placed and, in cases where a large tattoo is removed, covered the affected area with a skin graft. Still others froze the tattooed area using cryogenics then removed the ink using microdermabrasion.
The end result was Q-switched lasers, which became commercially available in the 1990s. These lasers produce a giant pulse formation that have high levels of energy and are powerful enough to deal with different color wavelengths and break down tattoo ink. Q-switched lasers are still used today in many centers for tattoo removal. While these Q-switched lasers are effective in removing certain tattoo ink, they still have significant limitations. They will often require a large number of treatments, and even after all of these treatments, they might not be effective in obtaining a satisfactory result.
The Present and Future of Picosecond Lasers
In order to deal with the limitations of Q-Switched lasers, most recently picosecond lasers were developed. They produce short bursts of energy that are measured in picoseconds (or trillionths of a second). These picosecond bursts are far more effective in breaking down tattoo ink than the previous Q Switched lasers. As a result, they halved the required treatment time; instead of 15 sessions, tattoos could be removed in just 6 or 7 sessions. They also lead to a faster recovery time since the skin receives minimal damage.
How many laser treatment sessions will it take to remove my tattoo ? it is difficult to predict how many sessions it will take to significantly fade the tattoo, without first seeing and evaluating the tattoo. Things to consider include the colors, depth, and age of the tattoo. When you get a tattoo, the tattoo artist layers the ink. A laser cannot safely break down all the layers in 1 treatment session. Time between treatments is necessary for your skin to heal. After laser tattoo removal, you may see some redness, swelling, and a little blistering. Your body needs time to flush out the ink. When the lasers light hits the ink, the light shatters the ink into tiny particles. Your body must flush out these tiny particles. After each treatment, your tattoo should lighten. On average, patients typically need 4-8 sessions. Is laser tattoo removal safe for everyone? Most people can safely have laser tattoo removal. There are a few exceptions. You need a healthy immune system for laser tattoo removal to work. And, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not be treated.