Rethink Your Ink: Laser Tattoo Removal
How to Ditch That Old Tattoo
Is tattoo regret keeping you from enjoying swimsuit season? Maybe you’re no longer passionate about Lord of the Rings and feel silly with a map of Middle Earth on your chest? Or you wish you hadn’t partied that night in college with your sorority because you now have Greek letters on your back?
Your tattoo may have seemed like a good idea at the time. But tattoo regret is a real thing. Today 20% of all Americans sport tatoos and for those under 40, it’s closer to 75%, according to research reports. At last count, about 25% of the inked experience tattoo regret.
Zap That Tat with Laser Beams
Luckily this is the 21st century and those now unwanted tattoos can be zapped away by lasers. Other types of tattoo removal such as chemical peels, dermabrasion and excision which literally scrape or cut the tattoo away, have fallen by the wayside as lasers have become the treatment of choice.
Lasers’ high intensity beams shatter the particles of ink pigment into tiny fragments your skin can absorb. Ink is a foreign object trapped in the skin. Your body has been trying to get rid of it since day one. Lasers accelerate that process. It changes the ink so the body can absorb it naturally and then eliminate it through the lymphatic system. The lasers pass through the skin and target only the ink.
Black tattoo pigment responds to most laser wavelengths, making it the easiest to remove. Other colors need to be treated by selected lasers based on the pigment color.
Tattoo removal itself is both an art and a science. California Skin Institute dermatologists have supervised the removal of many tattoos ranging from black lines of text to elaborate multi-colored works of art.
The Upsides and Downsides of Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal is the treatment of choice of California Skin Institute physicians for several reasons:
- It targets tattoos without damaging surrounding tissue.
- It leaves skin looking more uniform and natural.
- It is non-invasive and non-surgical.
- It is effective for most skin tones.
But most people will need multiple sessions to lighten a tattoo. It depends on the tattoo’s size and colors. However, treatments can be spread over time at a pace that is comfortable and affordable for the individual. We can customize tattoo removal to what works for your life, your budget and the tattoo itself.
The interaction of the laser light with the skin creates a physiologic reaction causing the ink to be broken down into smaller fragments. Each subsequent laser treatments reduces the ink density and visual appearance of the tattoo. Post-treatment discomfort is minimal and emulates the post-op care similar to that of the original tattoo placement. Also, California Skin Institute is proud to offer a new improved laser with less heat impact. It’s called PicoSure.
You can Be Sure with PicoSure, the Great New Laser for Tattoo Removal
Tattoo removal took a great leap forward with the innovation offered by the PicoSure laser by Cynosure. Unlike other lasers, PicoSure gets results faster and with less heat. That means less damage to surrounding healthy cells. And less recovery time needed between treatments. PicoSure also can work on a wider range of tattoo ink colors than other traditional lasers.
PicoSure targets pigment with pressure waves. Like traditional lasers it also emits waves of light. However, it converts the light waves into bursts of pressure with a special filter. The goal is to disturb structures within the skin through pressure, while reducing the amount of heat damage to healthy cells.*
Also, while most lasers deliver bursts in nanoseconds (one billionth of a second), PicoSure uses picoseconds (one trillionth of a second). This faster time reduces the amount of heat delivered to surrounding skin structures – less heat means it’s easier for your body to heal the area after treatment.*
The ability to work effectively with less heat also makes PicoSure a good choice for anti-aging treatments.*
Other Laser Options for Tattoo Removal
While the PicoSure is a state-of-the-art laser, it may not be best for every situation. At California Skin Institute, we believe that every person’s skin is different as is every tattoo. All factors, including a patient’s medical history, receive our full attention and analysis to develop a treatment plan.
We offer a complete range of technically proficient lasers for tattoo removal. These include the Q-Switched ND Yag laser. The Q-Switched ND YAG laser works by targeting specific pigment in the skin.* It tends to be the most effective for removing darker inks and could be the right laser for erasing tattoos like the sorority Greek letters we mentioned at the start of this article.
Another option California Skin Institute offers is the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser. The Q-Switched Alexandrite laser generates a light wavelength significantly less likely to be absorbed by melanin in the skin.* This reduces chances of hypo-pigmentation – white spots caused by a lack of melanin. This can make it a better choice for people whose skin may tend towards hypo-pigmentation.
Although there is no way to absolutely predict how your skin and your tattoo will respond to treatment, it can be possible for some tattoos to be lighter and less noticeable even after one session. But the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be able to enjoy pool parties and beach barbecues without worrying about having to explain that old tattoo.
*Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.