How does it work?
When your tattoo artist first put the ink into your skin, most of the individual pieces of ink washed away, but many pieces clumped together into little balls of ink. These little balls were too big to wash away and so your body walled them off. These balls are still in your skin and make your tattoo. Now, to remove the tattoo, we use a laser light that transfers energy into the balls of ink. The ink heats up momentarily, and that causes steam that expands and breaks those little balls up into smaller chunks and also breaks open the wall that’s holding it all together. Within a billionth of a second everything goes back down to normal. Now the smaller chunks can start washing away. After about 2 weeks, enough of them have washed away that you can start to see your tattoo fading. Over the next 6-10 weeks while the small chunks are washing away the bigger chunks that are left are getting walled off again. So after 8 weeks, you come back in and we repeat the treatment.
Why different lasers?
Different colors of ink absorb different colors of light. We use a laser called a Q-Switched Nd:YAG. For red, orange, yellow, blue, green and purple ink we use different attachments to the laser (dye packs) to deliver the different wavelengths of light needed for these different colors to absorb.
Will your Tattoo be removed completely?
The answer is almost always yes.
Are there any complications?
The chance of complications from tattoo removal is reduced when a laser technique is used and the treatments are performed by Certified Professionals. The majority of our patients suffer no complications during the process. Scarring is one possible side effect but is a rare event. Another side effect that can occur is lightening of your skin. This is much more likely to occur if the tattoo area is tanned. Therefore, we recommend no tanning (either from sun exposure, sprays or UV treatments) of the tattooed area during the removal process. This involves keeping it covered with sun block during the summer months. If you do get a small amount of lightening, this typically will resolve over time with future tanning.
Are there other ways to remove a tattoo?
Yes and No. There are other methods that are available, but none of them are very attractive. The other options are much worse. There are some products you can buy from stores or on the internet that contain wart remover or bleaching cream, neither of which is very effective at removing tattoos. You can also have it cut out or skin grafted, but this excision process is not always possible, can be quite painful and can result in a significant scar. Laser removal is the most effective, safe and affordable procedure available to remove or lighten a tattoo.