How do tattoo lasers work?
Tattoo lasers produce a very short burst of intense but gentle laser light. This light has the proper wavelength (“color”) to be absorbed by the tattoo pigment. (Pigment is any “colored” substance.) Absorption causes “photothermolysis”, or heat damage, preferentially to the implanted tattoo pigment without significantly damaging surrounding skin tissue. Laser treatment usually leaves other adjacent tissue relatively intact, so that healing occurs with normal pigmentation, or skin color in most patients. Strimling Dermatology, Laser & Vein Institute utilizes one or more Q-switched lasers to treat tattoos.
Are there other ways to treat my tattoo?
In the past, tattoos have been removed by excision (cutting), salabrasion, dermabrasion, and chemical peels. Excision (cutting out the tattoo) may be an acceptable alternative for some small tattoos, although excision always causes scarring.Scars can grow larger than expected (e.g. keloid scar) or be itchy and/or painful / tender. Salabrasion, i.e. rubbing salt into the tattoo under pressure, produces inflammation, removes tattoo pigment unevenly, may require several attempts and cause scarring.
Dermabrasion, which involves removing the upper layers of skin and tattoo with a rapidly rotating brush or similar instrument is essentially similar to salabrasion and also usually causes some degree of scarring or skin color change. Chemical peeling is not very helpful,less predictable as to results, often requires multiple treatments and usually causes scarring when used as a tattoo removal technique。
Are there any reasons why I may not be a candidate for tattoo laser therapy?
Some tattoo colors respond better than others, requiring fewer treatments. Blue-blacks, dark colors, reds and greens usually respond well to one or more of the Q-switched tattoo lasers. Other colors may be less predictable, responding more slowly or not completely or unsatisfactorily or not at all. Also, laser tattoo removal treatment may be less effective in moderately dark or black skin or for unknown reasons.
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