Effectively Treat Red And Dark Ink Tattoos, Including Black
By Houston Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr. Mark A. Schusterman, MD, FACS
Laser tattoo removal involves a highly focused beam of laser light passing harmlessly through the outer layer of skin and being absorbed primarily by the tattoo ink. As the light is absorbed, it is quickly converted to heat. The sudden rise in temperature within the treatment target fractures the ink or pigment into tiny particles. The tattoo ink fragments are then carried away by the lymphatic system. The world-class Q-Switched laser technology allows the tattoo to be treated with minimal scarring or skin pigment changes and with less discomfort than other laser treatments.
Types Of Tattoos Treated By Laser
A tattoo’s color, depth and the chemical composition of the ink all affect how a tattoo responds to a laser light. The laser effectively treats red and dark ink tattoos including black, dark blue, brown and purple, and can even treat some of today’s more popular colors such as sky blue and green. Though some tattoos may require more treatments than others, in general, most tattoos can be successfully treated.
Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?
With laser tattoo removal, the laser light selectively targets the undesired ink, leaving other tissues largely unaffected. Most patients report little discomfort. Many people compare the sensation of the pulses entering the skin to the snap of a rubber band. If such “snaps” are too uncomfortable, you may opt for local anesthesia, but this is usually not necessary.
How Long Does Laser Tattoo Removal Take?
Depending on the size and location of the tattoo or lesion, each laser tattoo removal treatment usually takes between 10 and 30 minutes. Some faint tattoos will fade completely after only one treatment, but most tattoos require five treatments or more. Treatments are spaced six to eight weeks apart to give your body sufficient time to fully eliminate loosened particles of ink.
Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment
Immediately after laser exposure, the treated area may become whitish in color and experience slight swelling. This whiteness subsides in about 30 minutes. The swelling may last longer but can be reduced by cooling the skin with an ice pack. The tattoo will fade over the next few weeks. Side effects are rare. When side effects do occur, they are usually mild and confined to the targeted area.
There are alternatives for laser tattoo removal, but laser treatment is the only effective method that is unlikely to cause scarring. Alternatives to laser tattoo removal include surgical excision, salabrasion, (using salt to burn away layers of skin), and chemical peels (using acid to burn away layers of skin). These methods not only cause scars but can be painful as well. Laser treatment yields excellent results without the pain and disadvantages of other procedures.
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Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Mark A. Schusterman, MD, FACS
Although his research and development of microsurgical reconstruction techniques established his reputation, his knowledge and understanding of the human body and the challenges associated with aiding patients suffering with head and neck injuries as well as breast cancer patients has made Dr. Schusterman an award-winning plastic surgeon.