The treatment process explained

Artists create tattoos by injecting ink into a person’s skin. The needle penetrates through the epidermis (the first layer of skin) deep into the dermis (the second layer) depositing drops of insoluble ink here. The cells of the dermis are far more stable than the cells of the epidermis creating a tattoo with minor fading and dispersion. Tattoos are actually a complicated inflammatory process. Every time during tattooing when the needle penetrates (50 to 3000 times a minute) it alerts the body to signal an inflammatory response causing immune cells to race to the site of “injury”. The body’s defence cells, the macrophages, try to gobble up the ink dye, however, the ink dye particles are bigger than the macrophages, rendering the majority of the tattoo untouched. Only very small ink particles can be ‘faded” by the body. Sometimes, over a long period of time, the macrophages are successful.

Tattooing Close up (in slow motion)

Q-switched lasers deliver short bursts of light that penetrate deep into the dermis. The tattoo pigment absorbs this light energy shattering the dye pigments.

As colours have certain wavelengths, different wavelengths are set to match the colour that needs to be shattered. Unpigmented skin is therefore left untouched. The most important aspect of tattoo removal is using the correct wavelength. The immune system then harmlessly gradually absorbs the fragmented ink particles through the lymphatic system.

As tattoos are multi layered within the dermis, each treatment will only reach the upper most top layer, so several treatments are often required, each treatment shattering the dye pigments into smaller microscopic particles.

A white surface frosting will appear once removal has commenced. It indicates that carbon dioxide has been released in the upper surface layers of the skin and usually subsides within 20- 40 minutes. It is a temporary side effect only. This is an indication that the laser is doing the right thing as well as your body. Frosting means that the laser caused the breakdown of the pigments and that your body is working to get rid of it. Some people may experience very light bleeding. White frosting is always evident during the first treatment, but once more ink is removed in further sessions, it won’t appear as much.

Immediately after the procedure, the skin can feel sunburnt. There can be red discolouration and mild swelling, sometimes lasting for approximately for one week. The area will continue to be cooled with our cooling system immediately after treatment providing relief.  Any discomfort will be reduced with the application of our Cold Laser/ Low Level Laser Therapy.

Tattoo showing frosting after a laser tattoo removal treatment.

butterfly tattoo showing frosting after laser tatoo removal

How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

Again, the great people of Smarter Every Day have created a video explaining the science of removal. Unfortunately, however, they have used a machine with one wavelength, a Picosure laser with a 755nm Alexandrite laser .As the black spectrum of colour falls mostly in the 1065nm range, Picosure is by no means the best machine for black removal, or for any other colour for that matter. It can fade it but not remove it well. The wavelength isn’t right! However, the science behind how the removal works is well explained.

The diagram demonstrates that the black ink removal is best achieved by 1064nm, not a 755nm single wavelength ! 532nm is required for reds 694nm for blues and greens and 1064nm for blacks and purples.