Laser tattoo removal looks really simple when you’re watching the procedure on video. The reality behind that is quite complicated and sophisticated.
All of the tattoo ink is made of several components. One of those is a metal oxide (or metal particles). These guys are responsible for the tattoos long lasting effect but on the other hand, they are responsible for some allergic reactions in some individuals.
Seconds after the tattoo inks are applied our immune system detects them as an intruder and it’s trying to “clean” our body. That process is done by our white blood cells. The white blood cells are “eating” the small parts of the ink and thru our body processes is removed out of our system. Most of those ink parts are too big for the white blood cells to “eat” so that’s why the tattoos are permanent and we need a laser to break them down so they can be more accessible to the white blood cells.
All of those ink parts have specific light absorption spectrum. Black ink or dark inks, in general, are easier to remove than the light ones (or fluorescent). That’s because they are reflecting the light that is coming from the laser and the dark ones are absorbing that same light.
Laser tattoo removal is done by photothermolysis . The procedure started in the late 1960’s and it became a general practice somewhere in the late 1980’s in Glasgow, Scotland. Tattoo removal laser is called Q-switch is operating at a very specific frequency and it’s very fast (picoseconds). The speed is very important for cracking the ink particles. Must be fast so it can be absorbed by the ink but also needs to be neutral to the surroundings so it won’t cause any scars. Also, the laser light needs to be highly absorbed by the ink and must penetrate to reach all the ink (particles). Q switch laser can do all of this thing a that’s why it’s used in tattoo removal alone and combined with YAG laser. Different kind of laser is used for different kinds of color and they all have a wavelength that’s measured in nanometers (nm).
-Q-switch freq. doubled Nd : YAG: 532nm (Greenlight laser good for red, orange and yellow pigment)
– Q-switch Ruby: 694nm (Red light laser perfect for blue pigment)
– Q-switch Alexandrite 755nm (Red light laser good for green pigment)
– Q-switch Nd : YAG: 1064nm (Infrared laser perfect for black pigment and usage on darker skin)
Spot size is also important. With bigger spot size we get more effective penetration depth of the laser light.
Now all of this is sounding kind of easy but in reality, it’s a painful expensive process that’s going to consume some amount of your time and money. A lot of the tattoos will need more than one visit to your local laser expert so that’s why is important to THINK BEFORE YOU INK!