Absorption refers to the concept of light absorption during laser tattoo removal treatments. Each pigment absorbs wavelengths differently, making some ink colors easier to remove than others. Wavelengths shatter pigment, allowing the body’s immune system to discard pieces. This process causes the tattoo ink to fade. Without absorption, fading will not occur.
Different colors absorb and reflect each wavelength differently, and tattoos respond to wavelengths the same way. For example, red tattoo ink will absorb all colors of the visible light spectrum except the color red. To shatter the ink of a red tattoo, it should not be treated with red light because the light will be reflected, and the ink will not absorb it.
Typically, ink colors that absorb wavelengths easily and are the fastest to remove are darker colors such as black, dark blues, and dark greens. Lighter colors like white, yellow, orange, and even red tend to be more difficult to remove, but newer lasers use technology that makes breaking down these lighter colors easier, making complete laser tattoo removal possible for all colors of ink.
Other factors that contribute to the rate at which a tattoo fades are:
- Location – Tattoos that are closest to the heart tend to fade faster because healthy blood flow breaks up ink particles at a faster rate.
- Professional vs. Amateur Ink – A professional tattoo artist will penetrate the skin deeper and more evenly, which will make removal much simpler. However, professionals tend to use higher quality ink that will take longer to break up. An amateur tattoo artist might use cheaper ink, but the ink will likely be uneven. This makes the tattoo extremely difficult to remove.