Lasers in Tattoo Removal: Which Laser is the Best?

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.

Ruby lasers:

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:

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:

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.

Laser Tattoo Removal

The trend of Laser Tattoo removal is increasing. Variety of tattoos removal methods were used in the past, but the risk of excessive scarring was a major concern. Emerging newer laser tattoo removal technique are being developed which can remove your tattoo with less side effects. This article will review those several types of Lasers which are specifically used in specific tattoos.

Previously used lasers were carbon dioxide lasers and argon lasers, but with these lasers results were not good. In a search for better options of tattoo removal while minimizing the side effects and risk of scarring, specific tattoo removal lasers were developed, so called Q-switch lasers. Based on your tattoo color, size and its complexity, these lasers specifically targets your pigment color of a tattoo and breaks it.

There are three types of Q-switched lasers, namely: Ruby, Alexandrite and Nd:YAG lasers. They have been reported in successive removal of tattoo but several treatment sessions may be required. The choice of these lasers is dependent of your tattoo color.

Depending on tattoo color following lasers works the best:

Ruby Lasers (Wave length: 694nm): Black, blue or green color tattoo.
Alexandrite Lasers (Wave length: 755nm): Black, blue or green color tattoo.
Nd:YAG lasers ( Wave length:1064nm): Black and dark blue color tattoo.
Frequency doubled Nd:YAG Lasers ( Wave length: 532nm): Red purple and orange color tattoo.

It should be kept on mind that any of these three laser tattoo removal methods don’t clear up your tattoo in just one treatment. It needs several treatment sessions. The results may not be same on every individuals, it differs from person to person. This is because, the lasers do not remove the pigment from tattoo directly, what it does is break up the pigment ink into smaller fragments then the microphages act on it and digest the pigment. So it depends on the efficiency of macrophages in your body and as well as amount and density of pigment ink.

The result may also vary with amateur and professional tattoos. Professional tattoo tends to have different variety of mixture of ink and chemical. So the more the color and its complexity the more treatment is required. Usually, amateur tattoo requires 4-6 treatment session and professional tattoos requires 6-10 treatment sessions.

Generally, laser tattoo removal is safe and the risk of scarring is minimal 1-2% if done with especially trained professionals. The recovery time is two to three days after each treatment sessions. You may notice pinpoint bleeding on the first day, in some cases blistering and scabbing may be noticed but they just last 2-3 days. Overall they are safe and effective methods of tattoo removal.

If you have any suggestions and questions regarding Laser tattoo Removal Feel free to ask us at Cosmetic, Plastic Surgery Talk Section of our Community.

Tattoo Removal Methods

Many people may be proud of their tattoos. Usually people love to have tattoos when they are young, but later you may no longer be proud of when you grow older and you might have desire to remove your tattoos. The reason could be to enhance self-esteem, your professional status, social and family reasons. In this article, we’ll be reviewing some tattoos removal methods that were previously and are currently being used.

There are many tattoo removal methods in use these days including those do it yourself methods, but many methods may just be partially effective or may leave scar and hyper-pigmentation to your skin. In fact, old tattoos and tattoos done on proximal regions are easier to remove then the new ones or distally placed tattoos. The most common methods may be laser tattoo removal, dermabrasion and surgical removal.

If you desire to remove your tattoo, consult your dermatologist for the best options that suits you. Don’t just go for do it yourself home tattoo removal methods. They don’t work on every tattoo as advertised and it may further result in scarring, hyper-pigmentation, irritation and allergic reaction or infection. If you consult your dermatologist, he or she will decide which methods might work best on you.

Based on different dermatological research and studies, the following are the methods used in tattoo removal process.

Mechanical Dermabrasion:
This method uses a sterile sandpaper or dermabrasion machine to abrade the skin to the deeper level (reticular dermis). The dermabrasion machine has a rotating device (33,000 revolutions per minute) like diamond fraises, wire brushes or serrated wheel. The affected area after dermabrasion may be treated with topical or oral antibiotics and the area covered with a special bandage for few weeks. This method was widely used previously before laser removal was discovered. This method may not completely remove the tattoo.

This method was used in ancient times and still being used in some countries. In this method, salt is added to tap water and rubbed vigorously to abrade the skin within a tattoo area.

Cryosurgery uses either solid carbon dioxide(-79°C), nitrous oxide(-70°C), liquid nitrogen(-196°C), dimethyl ether and propane (-50°C), or salt and ice (-20°C). Results may be satisfactory but not as good as lasers.

Excision with primary closure or grafting:
Excision involves the removal of tattoo with a scalpel and stitching back the edges of skin together. Grafting involves the excision of epidermis from donor site and grafting this epidermis to the tattoo site. Antibiotics are prescribed to promote the healing. These methods are effective but it may leave the scar and are better for small tattoos rather then bigger one.

Chemical extraction using a remover paste:
In this method, the skin over the tattoo is punctured and a paste made with zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, triethanolamine, isopropanol ,benzoic acid and de-ionized water is applied to the area. As a result inflammation starts and the tattoo pigment is squeezed out.

Laser tattoo removal:

Argon and carbon dioxide lasers:
These were early laser tattoo removal methods but now replaced by Q-switched lasers. These are now being used for the removal of tattoo granulomas. The healing time for Argon and carbon dioxide lasers is longer then compared to Q-switched lasers. The main complication is the hypertrophic scarring.

Q-switched Lasers tattoo removal:
Q-switched laser are now being widely used as the method of choice for tattoo removal. These lasers release energy in a single pulse and each pulse has a very high peak power. When applied to tattoo site, these high power short pulse of energy heats and split the ink in the tattoo. To prevent epidermal damage, surface cooling is done. If you have a multi-colored tattoo, you may need several lasers with different wavelength. Topical or oral Antibiotics may be necessary for several days to promote the healing. Multiple laser session 5-10 (each 6 weeks apart or more) are usually required to completely erase the tattoo.

Following Q-switched lasers are used for each tattoo color:

Black and blue tattoo: Nd:YAG lasers
Black, blue and green: Ruby or Alexandrite lasers
Red, purple and orange: Frequency doubled Nd:YAG lasers