How Do Lasers Remove Tattoos?
Laser tattoo removal is the safest, most effective method to remove your unwanted ink. It’s a common cosmetic procedure that takes only minutes to perform. Here’s what you need to know about the removal process.
Why Are Tattoos Permanent?
During the tattooing process, a needle is used to deposit ink into the layer of skin called the dermis. By depositing ink particles into this layer, the ink doesn’t get absorbed into the subcutaneous tissue below or discharged from the skin when the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, regenerates.
The body’s immune system reacts to the ink the same way it does to any other foreign body—the white blood cells attempt to absorb and eliminate the foreign body. One of the reasons tattoos tend to fade over time is that white blood cells successfully eliminate many of the smaller ink particles. The remaining, larger ink particles are too big to be eliminated. As a result, the skin heals around the remaining ink and the tattoo becomes permanent.
How Laser Removal Works
Unlike a laser pointer that creates a continuous beam of light, a tattoo removal laser uses pulses of light energy. Each pulse is absorbed by the tattoo ink causing it to splinter into tiny fragments small enough for white blood cells to absorb. At this point, your body’s natural immune system takes over and absorbs the ink particles transporting them to the liver for elimination from the body. Over time this process causes the tattoo to appear lighter. Each subsequent treatment targets a deeper layer of ink, breaking down more of the tattoo until it’s no longer visible.
What Other Options are Available?
- Saline tattoo removal: a saline solution is injected into the dermis to dilute the ink. This method encourages the ink to rise to the epidermis so it’ll be sloughed off as the skin regenerates. While each session is cheaper than laser, it’s shown to be less effective and often takes more sessions. Additionally, repeated injections to the same area may increase the risk of damaging the body’s pigmentation and causing scarring.
- Dermabrasion: As its name suggests, this method is akin to extreme exfoliation through either a chemical peel or physical abrasion. This method has a high risk of infection, creating unsightly scars, and creating permanent skin irregularities.
- Tattoo removal creams: Often touted as an at-home method of tattoo removal, these creams are often bleach-based which can cause permanent damage to the skin including discoloration and scarring.
- Excision: This method is only appropriate for the smallest of tattoos, and involves cutting out and removing the section of skin where the tattoo is located. The area is then stitched back together and almost certainly produces scarring.
Do You Have More Questions About the Removal Process?
If you’re ready to get rid of your old tattoo, call us today at (480) 933-1358 or schedule an appointment online.