Laser Tattoo Removal – Do You Need It?

Tattoos are a form of body art that are considered permanent. Nevertheless, plenty of people end up regretting the tattoos they have had done over the years. Perhaps they got the tattoo without really thinking about it, or perhaps they have outgrown the design they got as a teen. It could be that there’s a good job opportunity coming up, and tattoos look unprofessional or embarrassing. It could simply be that the tattoo reminds its bearer of a time, person or place they don’t want to think about anymore.

Laser treatment for tattoo removal There are several different reasons behind getting a tattoo removed. Luckily, there are also several ways to remove tattoos. Dermabrasion, cryosurgery, or excision can all work in removing unwanted tattoos. However, the most effective way is by using laser tattoo removal. It is bloodless, does not involve complicated surgery, and comes with minimal side effects. Laser tattoo removal has now become the standard treatment for tattoo removal because of its effectiveness in completely removing tattoo ink.

How Laser tattoo removal works

Laser tattoo removal works by producing small, short pulses of intense light that can harmlessly pass through the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, to reach into the dermis, where tattoo pigments are deposited. The dermis is much more stable than the epidermis and can hold these large pigment deposits for life. The laser energies cause the pigments in the dermis to break down into smaller parts that can now be removed by the body’s immune system. All tattoos naturally fade with time; what the lasers do is dramatically speed up this process to make tattoos fade away completely.

Multiple treatments

Laser tattoo removal procedures are basically simple, although it is common for several treatments over a period of time to completely remove the tattoo. It really depends on the size, location of tattoo, and age of the patient to see how many treatments will be needed. Lasers tend to respond better to black or darker colored inks, but colors can also be removed.

The average number of treatments can vary between 6 to 12 treatments. Each visit is at least 7 weeks apart in order to minimize scarring from the laser treatments and allow pigment residue to be absorbed by the body. Fading will immediately be noticeable, and the tattoo will continue to fade as treatments continue.

Although laser tattoo removal is a relatively simple procedure, the mechanisms surrounding it are not so simple. Lasers were first developed for industrial use; researchers developed lasers that emitted wavelengths of light in short flashes called pulses and medical use became viable. Several different lasers are now used for many spheres of medicine, such as surgery or disease treatment. As laser techniques began to advance, the potential for laser use in the cosmetic field, such as hair or tattoo removal, began to advance as well.

Types of lasers

The lasers used for laser tattoo removal are referred to as Q-switched lasers. This refers to the laser’s short, high energy pulses, which are used to safely remove tattoo ink. There are three different types of Q-switched lasers that are used for laser tattoo removal – the Q-switched Ruby, the Q-switched Alexandrite, and the Q-switched Nd: YAG, which is particularly useful for the removal of red, blue and black inks. Each of these three models can be commonly seen in any laser tattoo removal clinic or doctor’s office as they are highly effective in safely removing tattoos.

Hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation

Laser tattoo removal using Q-switched lasers is generally considered a low risk procedure. There are minimal side effects in using lasers to remove tattoos. Some side effects that can be seen are hyperpigmentation of the skin, in which the area being treated starts to get darker than the surrounding skin. The opposite problem, hypopigmentation, can also occur. Since the laser penetrates the top layer of skin, the tattoo removal site can be at risk for infection if not taken care of properly. There is also a slight chance of permanent scarring.


Laser tattoo removal can also turn out to be costly. Tattoo removal is not usually covered by health insurance as it is a cosmetic procedure. Patients have to pay up front and laser treatments can turn out to be expensive, with the average being $20 per inch of skin. Since several treatments are needed to see real results, so the prices can add up.

Despite these setbacks, laser tattoo removal treatments are still the medical standard when it comes to getting rid of unwanted tattoos. But alternative options are available, too. They are completely natural, and result in far less cost. Often many of the ingredients can already be in the kitchen or pantry at home. This way you can make your own tattoo removal cream at home and be assured that your tattoo treatment is 100% natural and without any side effects.

Sometimes tattoos simply don’t work out in the long run. Fortunately we have a choice in how to get rid of those unwanted tattoos – forever.

Here is a discussion on the costs of laser tattoo removal.

Click here to read more about the various alternatives to laser tattoo removal.

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