Laser stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation, and lasers produce monochromatic (single colour or wavelength) light through a process called stimulated emission.
In order to produce a laser beam, a bright, flashing light source called a flashlamp is used to excite atoms in a crystal, such as a Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) laser rod. When the atoms of the crystal receive energy from the flashlamp, they emit photons (particles of light) that travel at a specific wavelength.
Optics and mechanisms, such as reflective mirrors and output couplers, focus the photons into a laser beam, which carries energy to the targeted area of the skin. The laser beam is absorbed by certain substances, such as tattoo ink particles, which allows the laser to selectively target and remove them.
Q-switched lasers are commonly used for tattoo removal because they are able to produce high levels of energy or power (fluence) in very short pulses, which is necessary to shatter and remove tattoo ink. Q-switched lasers produce pulses of light that last only nanoseconds (billionths of a second), and these short pulses allow the laser to deliver a high amount of energy to the tattoo ink without causing damage to the surrounding skin.
Shattering the Ink
How tattoo removal works is because tattoo ink needs to be heated at very high temperatures to shatter, yet high temperatures usually cause skin to scar. Q-switching, that effectively breaks down ink without scarring. Q-switched laser systems feature amazingly short laser pulses that only last for nanoseconds (billionths of a second). Because the laser pulse is so brief, the power is high enough to shatter the ink. But, because the energy is in the skin for such a short period of time, there is no risk of damage to the skin
HOW MANY SESSIONS NEEDED
Laser tattoo removal can be an effective way to remove unwanted tattoos, but it usually requires multiple treatment sessions to achieve complete removal. The number of sessions needed can vary depending on the size, location, and age of the tattoo, as well as the type and colour of ink used.
Darker ink colours, such as black and blue, are typically easy to remove than lighter colours, such as green and yellow eyc. Older tattoos may also be more challenging to remove because the ink particles may have become more deeply ingrained in the skin over time.
It’s important to note that laser tattoo removal is not a one-time procedure. It typically requires multiple treatments spaced several weeks apart to allow the body time to eliminate the broken-down ink particles. The total number of treatments needed can range from just a few to several dozen, depending on the factors mentioned above.
In general, lasers are considered the safest and most effective method for removing tattoos. However, it’s important to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your practitioner to minimize the risk of complications or adverse effects.
It’s true that laser tattoo removal can be uncomfortable, but the level of discomfort can vary from person to person. Some people may experience only mild discomfort during the procedure, while others may find it more painful. Factors that can influence the level of discomfort include the size and location of the tattoo, as well as the patient’s pain threshold.
Most practitioners will use a cooling device, such as a cryogen spray or a cooling gel, to help reduce the sensation of the laser pulses and minimize discomfort. Some people may also be given a local aesthetic to numb the area before the treatment.
It’s worth noting that the level of discomfort during laser tattoo removal is generally less than the discomfort experienced during the tattooing process. However, everyone’s pain tolerance is different, so it’s hard to predict exactly how much discomfort a person might experience during laser tattoo removal.
Laser tattoo removal is generally a safe procedure with few side effects, but there are some risks to consider.
One potential risk is infection. The skin at the site of the tattoo removal can be susceptible to infection if proper aftercare instructions are not followed. It’s important to keep the area clean and dry and to avoid picking at any scabs that may form.
Another potential risk is scarring. While the risk of scarring is low, it’s possible that a scar may form if the skin is damaged during the laser treatment or if the aftercare instructions are not followed.
It’s also worth noting that laser tattoo removal may not be able to completely remove a tattoo. In some cases, certain colours may be more resistant to laser treatment and may not be completely eliminated. Blue and black tattoos tend to respond well to laser treatment, while green and yellow tattoos may be more difficult to remove.
In rare cases, the skin may become paler (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation) after laser tattoo removal. This can be a temporary or permanent side effect.
Finally, it’s important to note that cosmetic tattoos, such as lip liner and eyebrows, may not respond well to laser treatment. In some cases, they may actually get darker after treatment, although they tend to fade over time. It’s important to discuss all of these potential risks and side effects with a trained and experienced practitioner before undergoing laser tattoo removal.
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