Due to different circumstances, people sometimes resort to such radical ways of body decoration as permanent make-up and artistic tattoos. But there comes a time when a tattoo has to go: a career, age, and a poorly executed «floating» tattoo can all seriously ruin a person’s life.
Fortunately, in today’s world there are a number of ways to remove those pesky images. One of the most popular and effective ways is hardware removal of tattoos by the laser which allows to «erase» a tattoo almost completely, having avoided thus formation on skin scars and scars.
Modern cosmetology offers two fundamentally different procedures:
- laser resurfacing
- Selective method of exposure
But for the right choice method of laser treatment is important to understand the nature of the proposed procedures, and by comparing the parameters of the «risk-benefit» to make a decision in each case.
Laser resurfacing (peeling) for tattoo removal
Evaporation (removal) of the top layer of the skin together with the colouring pigment. Only used in the case of a shallow pattern. Initial recovery of the epidermis occurs within one week and complete healing after 2-3 weeks.
Erbium laser is used for resurfacing, which is based on the evaporation of moisture from the upper layers of the skin (vaporisation) and the subsequent removal of damaged areas. The main disadvantage is the inability to work with tattoos located in deeper layers — in fact, it is theoretically possible to remove them in this way too, but it is almost guaranteed to lead to scarring.
Selective exposure method
The laser directly destroys the colour pigment without affecting the skin. With the selective method of exposure (selective photocavitation), the wavelength of the laser and the type of radiation are selected according to the colour and depth of the design. The result is a virtually complete removal of the tattoo, irrespective of the contrast and saturation, even where the pigment is deeply embedded. The remains of the ink are eliminated naturally within a month.
Three types of lasers are used for selective photocavitation: ruby, alexandrite and neodymium Q-switch lasers.
Ruby laser. Effectively removes shades of brown, black, blue and green. But has a lot of disadvantages which limit its area of application: it affects only superficial tattoos no deeper than 1mm, it is very painful, to remove a tattoo requires many sessions, which increases the chance of scarring and scarring. In addition, the ruby laser does not see the red tattoo at all. It is not possible to remove tattoos because of the high risk of scarring the delicate eyelid skin.
Alexandrite laser. Closer to the ruby laser, but works faster. Well removes tattoos of dark colours, located to a depth of 1.8 mm. Not able to destroy red and orange pigments. Because the wavelength of the laser is absorbed by melanin, tattoo removal with an alexandrite and ruby laser is only possible on light skin.
Neodymium Q-switched laser. Versatile and effective. Neodymium laser removes pigment embedded in a depth of up to 8 mm, in what is unmatched. It is suitable for all skin types and also for removal of permanent make-up from the face. It can generate two beams, which are designed to remove pigments of different colours: the infrared beam affects all cool colours, while the green beam is effective on warm shades.
Pros and cons of the methodology
The advantage of the technique is that you can practically get rid of the pattern without resorting to surgery. However, an image that is too large and too bright cannot be removed without a trace.
The main disadvantage is that the procedure has to be repeated several times to achieve a visible effect, which considerably increases the patient’s expenses. Moreover, effectiveness will depend on tattoo colour: e.g. yellow tones are less amenable to correction than others.
If broken down, the colour pigments may cause allergic reactions, such as redness, swelling and itching. If these symptoms are severe, the choice of technique should be reconsidered. There is also a risk of infection of the damaged skin, which will require additional treatment and follow-up.
Before making a tattoo or a tattoo on the face, it is necessary to think thoroughly on the necessity of such self-expression, the image meaning, as well as to take seriously the choice of master, so as not to have to look later on for the ways to get rid of the received picture. It is important to remember that full removal of high-quality professional tattoos in many cases is impossible — there is a high probability of keeping outlines, even slightly vague.