The Latest Science Behind Laser Tattoo Removal

Tattoo regret is certainly not a new concept, and people have been coming up with new ways to remove their unwanted ink for decades. Technology advancements can now remove tattoos without scarring or skin discoloration, leaving you with a clean slate.

The problems that would occur when laser tattoo removal was a new procedure no longer exist, leaving many people wondering exactly how the science behind the procedure has changed. Here’s a look at how laser technology has improved.

Laser Technology For Tattoo Removal

One of the biggest mistakes people make when seeking out a laser clinic to perform their laser tattoo removal is assuming they’re using the latest technology available. Unfortunately, there are a large number of medspas that offer these kinds of services using outdated devices. Currently, the most technologically advanced tool for laser tattoo removal is the PicoWay laser.

Dual Wavelengths

Unlike other lasers, the PicoWay laser uses dual wavelengths to target tattoo ink, allowing it to reach the deeper layers of the skin. This feature also allows these devices to treat people with a variety of skin colors and types because the licensed medical laser technicians have the ability to form a more customizable treatment plan. There are currently four wavelengths most commonly used in laser tattoo removal, each offering its own benefits.

  • 1064 nm Wavelength: ideal for removing dark ink colors on a range of skin types
  • 532 nm Wavelength: ideal for removing ink colors in the red, yellow, and brown families and works well on most skin types
  • 694 nm Wavelength: ideal for removal inks in the blue and green family as well as black inks that 1064 nm wavelengths have trouble with
  • 755 nm Wavelength: ideal for eliminating inks in the blue and green family but cannot target red inks

The PicoWay laser emits both 1064 nm and 532 nm wavelengths, making it ideal for treating the widest variety of ink and skin colors. Most lasers used for laser tattoo removal are only able to emit a single wavelength, making them less ideal for removing most tattoos.

Short Pulses

By emitting laser pulses that are 40 percent shorter than other lasers used for tattoo removal, the PicoWay can target the ink deep within the skin’s layers without damaging the surface. This feature significantly reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation, scarring, and skin damage. It eliminates your unwanted ink without disturbing the outer layers of skin.

How Lasers Work To Remove Tattoo Ink

Each pulse emits a wavelength that targets the melanin in your tattoo ink. It breaks up the ink into smaller particles, which allows the body’s immune system to eliminate it through one of our natural waste systems. The body treats the ink particles like foreign objects and gets rid of them through the sweat glands, urinary tract, or fecal matter. While this happens naturally over many years causing our tattoos to fade, the laser speeds up the process by breaking up the ink. Even months after your laser tattoo removal treatment, the body will continue to work on eliminating your unwanted ink. There are several factors that affect how quickly the body is able to remove the ink particles through the waste system.


When the body eliminates waste, it’s taken through the bloodstream into the lymphatic system where it is then disposed of. Tattoos that are closer to the heart tend to fade faster as the body’s natural immune system carries the ink particles through the bloodstream at a quicker pace.

Immune System

A healthy immune system will ensure that the body’s waste system is functioning properly and can eliminate your unwanted tattoo at a proper speed. If you smoke or are overweight, your heart rate will be slower, which can slow down the tattoo removal process.


If you’ve had your tattoo for many years, it’s likely your body has already broken down and eliminated a lot of the ink. The older the tattoo is, the easier it will be to completely remove.

Tattoo Quality

While most people find a professional tattoo artist when they want new ink, some will allow a new artist to practice on them. Fortunately, new artists tend to use less ink and are unable to penetrate the deepest layers of the skin, resulting in an amateur tattoo. These tattoos are much easier to remove.

While it’s important to find a laser clinic that offers great prices and employs experienced, licensed, medical laser technicians, it’s essential that you don’t forget to ask what kind of laser they use. You’ll end up wasting time and money if the best laser isn’t being used to remove your unwanted ink. Learn more about the science behind laser tattoo removal in this video:

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Paul A. Boulos
Dr. Paul A. Boulos is an excellent and versatile cosmetic surgeon, passionate about his vocation and helping others. Dr. Boulos is an alumni of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his General Surgery training at Inspira Medical in Southern New Jersey. He studied and learn under Dr. Joseph Castellano, one of the premier breast and body Cosmetic Surgeons in South Florida. He currently works as a Cosmetic Surgeon at Jolie Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL.