A tattoo is made by putting deposits of ink into the skin. This ink is a relatively large molecule. Your bodies immune system will slowly over time try and eat the molecules of ink and remove them from your skin. However, due to the size of ink molecules this process is very slow. Most tattoos will fade over decades and some can even become barely visible, but not most.
Lasers help to speed this process up immensely. By matching a lasers wavelength closely to the colors in your tattoo we are able to break your tattoo into much smaller molecules making it easier and faster for your immune system to remove the ink from your skin.
We possess a very state of the art laser called the Cutera Enlighten laser. This device ables us to significantly shorten the time required to remove a tattoo, the number of treatments to remove a tattoo, and thereby the cost to remove a tattoo.
The Enlighten device, essentially, allows us to do two treatments in one setting. It has a Nanosecond setting that breaks large molecules of ink into medium sized molecules. It also has a Picosecond setting that allows us to break the medium sized molecules into even smaller molecules. This significantly reduces the ink molecule size and scatters it out allowing your white blood cells to go to work.
Unfortunately, using a laser also means dealing with the heat a laser generates. This heat may cause a blistered wound over the treatment site requiring diligent wound care with gentle cleaning, topical antibiotics or lubricants, and keeping the treatment site covered with non-stick dressings until the skin heals. After healing, you will be able to watch the ink fade away over time.
Treatments are generally performed at 6-8 week intervals, based on healing. It can take up to 6 or more treatments to get rid of the tattoo, however some will be gone in three or less. This will depend upon many factors that are outside of your or our control. Factors such as color, depth of ink, intensity of color, size, and types of ink used all contribute to the speed of clearing. Although it is rare, some tattoos may never completely clear.
Possible complications of laser tattoo removal are burns, treatment site wounds, infections of the wounds, scars, and lightened or darkened skin in the treatment area.
Contraindications to laser tattoo removal are recent use of some oral skin products, wounds or infections in the treatment area, herpes simplex history in the treatment area, pregnancy, history of gold treatments, and certain cancers.