The lasers used in tattoo removal emit wavelengths that are absorbed by the pigment in the ink. These wavelengths break down the pigment into smaller pieces, making it easier for the body’s immune system to rid the body of these impurities. This is what causes the tattoo to fade. The body’s immune system will naturally break down the tattoo over time, but the laser helps speed up the process.
Each pigment, or ink color, requires a specific light absorption spectra to break it up. Licensed medical laser technicians know which spectrum color should be used for each color of ink being removed. Darker colors such as black, dark blues, or greens are easier to eliminate because these pigments better attract the wavelengths. Lighter colors such as yellow, white, and red are more difficult to eliminate and may require more treatments.
Newer laser technology has the ability to remove tattoo ink without damaging the epidermis. Q-switched lasers are now the most effective in the industry. Referring to a laser that produces a pulsed output beam, this technique allows the use of high power, speeding up the tattoo removal process. These lasers have also been proven to provide better results with less scarring. Depending on the size and quality of the tattoo, complete clearance can take anywhere from five to 10 treatments.