Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser
Over the last several decades, tattoos have become more and more popular with Americans. A 2012 Harris Interactive study even reported that one in five U.S. adults had a tattoo. Although many consider tattoos a form of self expression and love their body art, some individuals end up regretting their decision to get a tattoo. For patients who would like to remove their ink professionally and with minimal potential for skin damage, California Skin Institute providers offer tattoo removal with devices like the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser. Depending on the color of your tattoo, this laser can be very effective at removing the ink within the skin, without causing unwanted hypo-pigmentation. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced laser tattoo removal specialists, please contact one of the California Skin Institute practices listed below, or schedule your appointment online!
How the Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser Works
When laser tattoo removal was first introduced to patients, it was a significant improvement over earlier methods of tattoo removal, which included extensive microdermabrasion and aggressive skin peels. The idea behind laser tattoo removal was revolutionary in that the pigment within the ink was being targeted. By delivering large amounts of energy to the ink, the pigment disintegrates into much smaller particles, which are then removed by the body’s natural processes.
Unfortunately, early lasers for tattoo removal used wavelengths that were also easily absorbed by melanin. This led to a problem of hypo-pigmentation, where the treatment area became lighter than the rest of the skin. Although the tattoo was removed, the patient was left with discoloration, and in some cases, even scarring.
The Q-Switched Alexandrite laser is a significant improvement in laser tattoo removal devices and has been used by California Skin Institute providers to help many patients get rid of unwanted tattoos safely, with very positive aesthetic results.
What makes the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser safer for tattoo removal is that it generates a light wavelength which is significantly less likely to be absorbed by melanin in the skin. This reduces chances of hypo-pigmentation, and creates a more aesthetically-pleasing result.
What the Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser Treats
The Q-Switched Alexandrite laser can target a number of tattoo colors; however, it is most effective on green and dark inks. Much of this has to do with the wavelength being generated by the laser, which is not easily absorbed by yellow or red inks.
If you have elaborate tattoos with many colors, or colors that are very bright, your California Skin Institute provider may suggest a combination of treatments that involve the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser tattoo removal and other procedures.
Is Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser Safe?
Laser tattoo removal treatments with the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser are generally very safe and will not produce the type of serious skin damage that was associated with earlier generations of tattoo removal treatments.
It is important to note that because the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser causes tattoo pigment to disintegrate under the skin, minor skin damage occurs in the process. However, this damage typically heals fully.
Also, because of the nature of the treatment, some pain and discomfort will be involved in the process. Typically, the discomfort level is directly related to the size of the tattoo being removed, and the area being treated.
However, California Skin Institute providers go to great lengths to ensure patient comfort during laser tattoo removal, and will do everything possible to minimize discomfort.
Are Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser Results Permanent?
Once all of the laser tattoo removal treatments have been completed, the tattoo removal is permanent. The majority of the pigment will have been removed from your body.
What to Expect During Treatment?
During treatment, your California Skin Institute provider will guide the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser along the pattern of your tattoo and deliver bursts of energy that will break down the pigment. Typically, each treatment session passes once across the entire tattoo, to ensure a uniform result.
Once the session is over, your body will need several weeks to remove the small ink particles, until the treatment can be repeated again.
Depending on the size of the tattoo and the types of ink that were used to create it, a typical patient will need 3 – 10+ sessions for best results.
Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser Side Effects
Treatment with the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser will produce soreness and inflammation in the area, as the laser breaks down the ink. Icing the treatment area will help reduce the discomfort after treatment.
To schedule a tattoo removal consultation, or to learn more about the Q-Switched Alexandrite laser, please contact one of the California Skin Institute practices listed below, or fill out the Contact Form.