Tattoo removal is a slow process of breaking up the tattoo pigments in the skin, so they can be naturally removed by your body’s immune system. There are two parts to the tattoo removal procedure, with the first being the pigment shattering, and the other being your body scavenging the fragments and escorting them safely out of your body.
This means laser tattoo removal requires a few sessions to fully work. The size and colour palette of your tattoo also matter, since we can only treat one colour at a time. We can remove multiple colours in a session.
Does tattoo removal work?
Tattoo removal works very well, especially when a high-powered laser is used. At ENRICH, we use the PiQ0 laser, which emits tiny, powerful pulses that keep your skin safe, but destroy tattoo pigments with ease. The laser used really does matter, so make sure your clinic has a picosecond laser.
Sometimes laser treatments cannot fully remove the tattoo, and a shadow may remain. With our powerful picosecond laser, however, this rarely occurs. Any clinic using a substandard laser or IPL machine should not be on your list of possibilities when you are shopping around. Our PiQ0 laser is one of just a few in Australia, and is known as the best type of laser for removing tattoos with far less pain and fewer treatments. The picosecond laser for tattoo removal really works.
How a tattoo is created
Body art in the form of tattooing is performed by deeply embedding ink into the dermis of the skin using a special needle. The tattoo pigments are trapped in the skin, and too large to be scavenged naturally by your body. A natural removal process does occur slowly over time, which is why tattoos fade.
Pigments vary in quality and staying power, so poor quality inks will lose their colour and shape faster than high-quality pigments. The tattoo artist’s skill also matters in terms of how deeply the ink is embedded into the skin.
Cosmetic tattoos use different, smaller pigments because they are designed to be temporary. This makes cosmetic tattoo removal a little trickier, since large particles of pigment are easier for the laser to detect and fragment.
How tattoo removal works
In each session, tattoo pigment is fragmented by the laser, with the body taking time to remove these fragments. The time it takes to fully remove the tattoo ink is variable, and depends on the size of the tattoo, skin type, the location of the tattoo, colours used, the amount of ink deposited into the skin, layers of pigment, and any scarring present.
The removal of the ink from your skin requires blood flow, so areas that have naturally low blood supply (like bony areas) will take longer. A tattoo over a scar, for example, is a low-supply area, and the treatments may take longer. Individual results will vary, but with our picosecond laser, tattoo removal works well.
Tattoo removal safety and side-effects – does tattoo removal really work?
The tattoo removal process is considered very safe, however that doesn’t mean problems don’t crop up from time to time. Temporary side-effects are normal, and include redness, pain, crusting, bleeding, and swelling.
Abnormal side-effects might include infection developing, pigmentation disorders appearing (where the damaged skin produces pigments that don’t match the surrounding skin), and in some cases (usually with a poorly-trained practitioner – not on our watch!), burns or scarring can occur.
How the tattoo removal laser works to break up pigments
The actual laser-tattoo interactions in breaking up a tattoo are not well understood, as the process happens inside the skin and is cellular in nature. The particles are broken up into very small pieces, which can get near to or smaller than the visible wavelength of light. This means that some tattoo pigment fragments are simply too small to see.
The tattoo pigment never reaches melting point during this process. Shorter laser pulses are more efficient, with the optimal pulse length being about 10-100 picoseconds. Our picosecond laser operates at this speed and energy output. Slower pulses cause damage to surrounding skin, causing inflammation. Inflammation means pain, so our picosecond laser is a more comfortable laser tattoo removal device.
Tattoo particles that are less than 10nm in diameter are hard to break up, since the laser requires the frequency of the colour to match its own. If the particle is extremely small, the laser can’t ‘find’ the particle.
This doesn’t necessarily matter that much, since these tiny fragments are not visible to the eye because they are not even big enough to be in our visible spectrum of light. Meaning, we can’t see them with human eyes.
In some laser tattoo removal treatments, a sort of ashy white colour can be left on the skin, which may be caused by a tiny bubble of steam appearing as the pigment is broken up by the heat from the laser. This process can also cause the particles to become transparent. This is why we use different laser settings for different depths, to ensure that all the pigments are correctly broken up so they can be taken away by your immune cells.
Scientists have been tracking the migration of these pigment fragments by immune cells. These fragments are picked up by either slow-moving larger cells or fast-moving smaller cells. This process naturally happens with an untreated tattoo, but much slower, since the tattoo pigments are quite large compared to a cell. This process is called phagocytosis, and is how your tattoo eventually disappears from your skin.
Our tattoo removal really works.
Contact our clinic for an appointment