Although there is no any lasers that is 100% efficient in removing tattoo. Several new laser techniques are being tried for tattoo removal. Among them Q-switched lasers seems to work well and is quite effective in removing tattoo. Being said that, you should be aware that there are several limitations of lasers.
The effectiveness of your laser tattoo removal will depend on several factors like, the correct use of laser by your professional based on several factors like your tattoo pigment, size, its complexity and your skin color. Multiple color tattoos will need variety of lasers of different wavelength, single laser may not work. There is no guarantee that your tattoo will be removed completely with out any scarring or hypo-pigmentation. It is difficult to predict about the number of treatment session that you may need for tattoo removal. It again depends your tattoo characteristic and laser used.
If you feel unsecure about laser tattoo removal, you can ask for a spot test with particular laser. This will help both you and your doctor to evaluate the tattoo response to that particular laser. The tattoo can be reevaluated after a month, and if the response is good with out any complications you can proceed with that particular laser. After the laser treatment procedure you should always avoid sun in the area of tattoo to minimize the complications like scarring or hypo-pigmentation.
Depending on your tattoo pigment, your skin color and other factors, four wavelengths lasers are currently in practice which is listed below.
The Q-switched ruby lasers at 694 nm wavelength are used to remove blue, black and green tattoos. Both Q-switched ruby (694 nm) and alexandrite (755 nm) are more effective in removing green and blue colored tattoo than with Q-switched Nd:YAG (1064 nm ) lasers.
Alexandrite lasers at 755 nm wavelength are good for black, blue or green tattoo. Alexandrite at 755 nm is excellent for black pigmented tattoo and has good success rate for blue and green pigmented tattoo too, but doesn’t work for red color tattoo or other pigments.
Double frequency Nd:YAG:
For red color tattoo, double frequency Nd:YAG lasers at 532 nm is the best option. Purple and orange colored tattoo respond good as well. However, it doesn’t work for yellow colored tattoo.
Q-switched Nd:YAG laser at 1064 nm is works well for removing tattoo in darker skinned patients. It is now widely used for the removal of black or blue colored tattoo.
As there is no specific pigment dedicated for tattooing and people often use multiple colors during tattooing, so it is hard for specific laser to absorb some pigments. The effectiveness of laser tattoo removal depends on the pigment. The laser pulses must be absorbed by tattoo in order to react and destroy the pigment particle. If there is no absorption there is no reaction resulting in failure tattoo removal.
As tattooing has become more popular among younger generation and several unknown ink are being used. It is wise to know the ink composition before you plan for getting a tattooing. This will help both you and your doctor to get it removed with out any complications; if in case you want it removed in future.