How Does Laser Tattoo Removal work?
May 6, 2021 at 7:00 AM

With the popularity of tattoo art, we can say not only do they create a sense of individuality, but of course there's a few regrettable work that is no longer desired. There is a wide range of consideration that make laser tattoo removal the safest, most effective method to remove that unwanted ink. We'll tell you everything you need to know about the tattoo removal process.

Why are tattoos permanent?

The tattoo deposits ink in the dermis, the dermis is the inner layer of skin. Depositing ink fragments in this layer ensures that they will not be absorbed into the subcutaneous tissue (fatty layer) below or seeped out of the skin as the epidermis regenerates naturally.

When ink is deposited into the dermis, the body immune system will naturally react to it the same way it reacts to any other foreign body. The white blood cells will attempt to absorb and eliminate the foreign body.

Over time, the white blood cells eat away at the smaller ink particles, but most are still too large for the white blood cells to grab onto and remove from the skin. Because the ink particles are too large for the white blood cells to absorb, the skin cells heal around the particles and the ink becomes permanent.

Over time, the white blood cells will eliminate any small ink particles, but most are still too large for the white blood cells to remove from the skin. When the ink particles are too large for the white blood cells to absorb, the skin cells create a membrane to heal around the particles and the ink becomes permanent.

How does laser remove tattoo?

Lasers work to remove tattoos by shattering large ink particles small enough for white blood cells to absorb. The laser will generate enough heat (thermal expansion) to make it expand at the same time to zap quick enough so that the ink particle remains cool. The opposing cool and hot forces then separate the ink particles into smaller pieces.

Once the lasers break the ink fragments into small enough pieces, the white blood cells can absorb them for transportation to the liver and elimination.

What kind of tattoos can be removed?

Newer tattoo removal lasers are efficient at removing most tattoos, but not all tattoos can be removed completely. Reasons being such as color, location, the density of the ink, and age can impact the overall success of the tattoo removal process.

Older tattoos are usually the best candidates for removal, as the ink particles weaken over time they are easier to break down. Black ink is typically easiest to remove, as it absorbs light more than other colors.

Skin type is also a factor when performing laser tattoo removal. Since darker skin types have more melanin, certain colors of ink are not able to be targeted. Black ink is safe to treat on all skin types; however extra precaution should be taken with those with more pigment in their skin to avoid possible damage to the skin.

What to expect in your laser tattoo removal session.

Before your initial session, you’ll have a consultation to determine if your tattoo is a good candidate for removal. We will discuss realistic expectations and possible results. The approximate treatment time, the spacing between sessions, verbal and written post care of the treated area will be given and sent home with the patient.

When you come in for your first session, often the same day as your initial consultation, we will once again quickly cover everything that was discussed in the consultation. The treated area will be pre-cleanse and prepped for the procedure, and it is usually done within minutes. The treated area will have Arnicare applied and covered with a bandage.

Is the laser tattoo removal painful?

Having a tattoo removed can be quite painful, often more so than getting a tattoo in the first place. The lasers heat the ink particles to thousands of degrees to break them down, but it happens so rapidly and in a concentrated area that the energy instead disintegrates into a shockwave.

This shockwave vibrates through the skin and causes the upper layer of skin to lift up and appear white, or to “frost” or which we can white tissue response (WTR). Though temporarily painful, this effect usually lasts just a few seconds.

There are ways to minimize tattoo removal pain. At INNOVA Medial & Spa, we can inject anesthesia but cannot apply any topical numbing, as it will not be able to deliver enough numbing to the treated area. For all laser tattoo removal, we will most likely use a Zimmer cooler air device system. This system helps to minimize pain with a stream of -30°C cold air. Cooling air also helps minimize thermal damage and work toward a smooth healing process.

As the tattoo site heals, you might experience some swelling, tenderness, possible pin point bleeding follow by scab formation, and minor pain similar to a sunburn. Proper laser tattoo removal aftercare can reduce discomfort.

For what ever reason why the tattoo is no longer wanted, keep in mind that laser tattoo removal is a process that takes time. It takes multiple sessions to completely eliminate ink, and may take several sessions before tattoos show noticeable difference depending on the density and location of the ink.

We recommend a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks between sessions to allow your body time to remove the broken ink particles from your session. Bear in mind, the size of the tattoos has little to nothing to do with the tattoo removal process. Even the smallest tattoos can take a long time to remove depending on the depth and density of the ink.

If you feel this procedure is beneficial to you contact us for a consultation. We will be happy to customize your tattoo removal treatment plan sessions. Ask us about our promotion deals for LASER services.