Your ex is long gone but that tattoo you got of his name won’t disappear on it’s own. Find out about laser tattoo removal and watch your ink fade away.
Getting Ink Done
Tattooing has been practiced worldwide for centuries for many reasons:
- Religious symbol
- Mark of social status
- Tribal belonging
- Right of passage
- Identification punishment
- Egyptian mummies show evidence of blue tattoo marks as far back as 4000 B.C.
The most popular tattoo designs on Americans:
- Butterfly, tribal, star, flower, Kanji (asian characters)
- Nearly 1 in 4 people aged 18 to 50 have been inked.
- 36% of people aged 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.
The History of Tattoo’s
- In 1891, New Yorker Samual O’Reilly invented the first tattoo machine.
- Today’s tattoo machine is the most common method of getting tattooed.
- The machine moves a needle up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The needle penetrates teh skin by about a millimeter and deposits a drop of insoluble ink into the skin with each puncture into the skin’s dermis, the layer of skin under the surface.
- More than 100 types of ink are used for tattooing today.
17% of Tattooed Americans have regrets about getting inked.
Top 3 reasons for regret:
- Because of the person’s name in the tattoo.
- Don’t like the way it looks
- It was stupid
Women are more likely to seek tattoo removal than men. Women between the ages of 24 and 39, who are white, single, and college-educated, who want to get rid of their ink.
Getting Ink UnDone
Dermabrasion Skin is “sanded” to remove the surface and middle layers. The removal of skin may result in scarring and the technique is rarely used today for tattoo removal.
Cryosurgery The area is frozen prior to it’s surgical removal.
Excision A dermatologic surgeon removes the tattoo with a scalpel and closes the wound with stitches. In some cases involving large tattoos, a skin graft from another part of the body may be necessary.
Fading creams Chemical peels and salt solutions may be effective at slightly fading some superficial tattoos.
Note: The top three techniques leave scaring and fading creams/balms are not very effective.
Since the 1980s, laser removal has become the safest and most effective at removing tattoos with a low risk of scarring.
Three preferred lasers are used for tattoo removal; each targets specific colors with different wavelengths.
- Q-switched Alexandrite (red light) 755nm: Wavelength of choice for green, moderately effective for black, blue pigments.
- Q-switched Nd: YAG (invisable light) offers two wavelengths: 1064nm: Laser of choice for black pigment, effective for dark blue pigments. 532nm (green light) Wavelength of choice for red and satisfactory for black, dark blue and purple.
- Q-switched ruby 694nm (red light): effective for black, blue and green pigments.
The lasers look for contrasts between pigments to target the correct cells. The greater the contract (dark ink on light skin) the more effective the removal process. Black is the easiest to remove because it absorbs the full spectrum of light. Green comes off the hardest and may require more sessions.
Each wavelength targets only the tattooed pigments, without affecting the surrounding pigments and layers of skin. Wavelengths pass through the surface layers of your skin, where the light is absorbed by the tattooed pigments, which breaks them into smaller particles. Your body’s immune system then removes the fragmented tattooed particles. Ink can be removed faster in areas of greater blood circulation since the immune system works best there. It’s more difficult to remove tattoos on the hands and feet, where there is less circulation.
How many sessions?
Each session usually takes only a few minutes. Several treatments (8-10 or more) are usually needed to remove an entire tattoo. The number of sessions depends on the amount and type of ink used and how deeply it was injected. Doctors can’t predict the exact degree of removal because they generally don’t know which ink was used. Laser removal may feel like hot specks of bacon grease on your skin or like being snapped by a thin rubber band.
You may be given an ointment and dressing for the treated area. your skin will feel slightly sunburned for a couple of days. You’ll need to wait 6-8 weeks or more between sessions to allow pigment residue to be absorbed by the body.
DermBids provides free laser tattoo removal estimates from local doctors and medical spas, just by taking a picture of the area on your body. We compare the doctors based on experience, training, certifications and costs so you can make an educated buying decision when you decide to make an appointment. Join our network and add your business!
To learn more, visit our laser tattoo removal quote page.