Erasing Past Decisions
There are plenty of reasons you may be considering having a tattoo removed. But one thing is certain – if you’re already asking “Should I?”, then the answer is most definitely “Yes”.
Until recent years, covering up a tattoo was one of your only options. Essential Aesthetics, in Danville, CA, is proud to offer two different tattoo removal solutions: a nanosecond pulse laser and a combination pico + nanosecond laser.
What is Laser Tattoo Removal?
The sight of a mark on the body can leave a mark on the mind and color the way life is lived and remembered. Laser tattoo removal is a fascinating process. Since the inks used in tattooing are made of solid particles similar to pigmented lesions, they can likewise be targeted and eliminated by certain lasers. The depth of the pigments within the skin, type of ink, and color of ink all play a factor in how (or if) they can be removed.
This laser uses nanosecond pulses to shatter tattoo ink into small particles, which gradually become shallower until they fade. This technology utilizes a “Top-Hat” beam profile to minimize epidermal damage, tissue textural changes, and the occurrence of scarring. It is ideal for black, blue, and other dark tattoos.
Pico + Nanosecond Laser
This revolutionary laser is a comprehensive skin toning and rejuvenation treatment based on photoacoustic energy. It also offers 4 wavelengths to treat the broadest range of tattoo colors on the widest range of skin types. Its wavelengths – 1064 nm, 532 nm, 650 nm, and 585 nm – target 9 of the most frequently used tattoo colors ranging from light orange to dark black. The PiQo4 offers up to 15 spot sizes, ranging from 2 mm to 15 mm, allowing for deeper maintenance of penetration into the dermis and better dispersal of ink particles while decreasing the chance of blistering and scarring on the skin’s surface and shorter treatment session. It uses up to 10 times more energy than other laser systems.
With the pico + nanosecond pulses, you can erase the rainbow:
This is the most commonly used ink by tattoo artists and our laser’s 1064 nm wavelength energy is ideal for these inks, even on darker skin.
The second most common tattoo ink color, the 532 nm wavelength has 10 times the energy of other laser systems, allowing it to achieve faster clearance of red pigment.
650 nm wavelengths are most effectively used on greens, the third most popular ink color for tattoos.
585 nm is used on the blues, purples, and other colors completing the removal of multicolor tattoos.
What Are Cosmetic Tattoos?
Permanent tattoos that mimic makeup such as eyeliner or lipstick are referred to as cosmetic tattoos. Permanent makeup tattoos can be successfully treated with the nanosecond laser, but they do come with their own set of challenges. These tattoos contain metal particles that may not react well with lasers. For this reason, our experienced provider, Dr. Ellie Zarnegar, DMSc, PA, always tests a small spot first to evaluate the reaction and determine if the treatment is right for you.
What to Expect
Before your laser tattoo removal treatment, a topical or injectable anesthetic may be used to ensure optimal comfort during the procedure. As the laser fires into the pigment, you will hear audible popping sounds followed by a feeling of heat over the general area of the skin. Afterward, there will be a whitish “frosting: over the tattoo as well as some swelling and mild redness. This is a natural reaction and should resolve within a few hours.
Depending on the size and number of the tattoo(s), treatments should take between 20-30 minutes.
When Will I See Results?
The number of treatments needed depends on the tattoo itself, the area of the body, and the background skin color. The closer your tattoo is to your heart, the better circulation, therefore better results. Tattoos that are more colorful and larger usually require more treatments. Tattoos done by amateur artists are typically not as deep and can be removed in as few as 2 treatments. Since the tattoo ink industry is not regulated, there are several different types of pigments, each one responding differently. It is important to understand that there is a level of unpredictability when it comes to laser tattoo removal treatments due to the complexity of pigments, making some colors can also be very difficult to treat. For example, white pigment can turn brownish-black due to titanium oxide. A series of treatments normally consists of 10 sessions with 8-12 week intervals in between to allow the body time to eliminate the shattered ink particles through lymphatic drainage and phagocytosis.
The number of treatments you need will also depend on your goals. While some are looking to completely remove their tattoo, others only want to lighten them and have them covered with other artwork.