The practice of tattoos for body decorative purposes has been increasing over the years and is considered a body art in most parts of the world. With the increase in the number of tattoos also come many situations and reasons for people wanting to remove their unwanted tattoos.
Lasers produce a coherent electromagnetic energy beam, which then targets certain components in the skin to achieve the results. Lasers target the “chromophore” or the pigment of the tattoo. The energy beam is then absorbed by the pigment and causes the ink particles to shatter into many tiny particles. The body naturally clears out the particles allowing for the tattoo to become more faint with each treatment.
The efficacy of laser tattoo removal depends on several factors including the type and color of ink or dye used, the depth of the pigment placement at the time of tattooing, the type of laser used, and certain patient factors. Evaluating the colors utilized in the tattoo is important as different wavelengths are needed to target different colors.
Quality-Switched (QS) lasers are used for tattoo removal. These lasers are preferred due to their short pulse duration and high intensity. These pulse duration intervals are in nano or picoseconds. These quick pulses allow for enough energy to reach the tattoo pigment but do not last long enough to cause damage to the surrounding skin.
Multiple sessions are required to completely remove a tattoo. The number of sessions is dependent on the size of the tattoo, length of time the tattoo has been present, colors in the tattoo, and location on the body. Tattoos on the body induced by trauma typically do not require as many sessions as professional tattoos.