- in Articles
Are you suffering from tattoo regret and would like to have your unwanted ink removed? If you’ve made up your mind and really need to get it done, here are some things you ought to know about tattoo removal.
Cover up while saving up
Let’s not be pitter patter about this and get this right from the start. Lasers are by far the safest and most effective way to deal with unwanted tattoos, and is the only way to go if you want to have appreciable result without destroying the skin over which the tattoo was inked. The laser creates short pulses of intense energy that target the pigment in your tattoo, causing the pigment in the ink to fragment, and thus allows your body’s immune system to remove the ink from your skin. As this is repeated over several sessions, your tattoo will fade and eventually disappear. This can be a long drawn process that’ll prove to be heavy on your pockets. You’ll probably need to cover up while saving up if the unwanted skin graffiti really irks you. There are makeup gems that aren’t your normal concealers, specially formulated solely for the purpose of tattoo cover ups. Try ‘Lock-it Tattoo concealer’ by famous tattoo artist Kat Von D, available online from Sephora.com in a wide selection of skin tone with one that’ll bound to match yours.
Same same but different
No two tattoos are alike and we are not talking about the aesthetics aspect of them. There are many factors that govern how a tattoo will look after it’s healed, and just as many that determine its ease or should I say, difficulty of removal. The number of treatments required to remove a tattoo depends upon several factors including size, location, color, depth, how the tattoo was applied, and length of time it has been on the skin. A tattoo performed by a more experienced tattoo artist, for example, may be easier to remove since the pigment is evenly injected in the same level of the skin. Well-inked tattoos heal well while lower quality one’s heal more slowly when they were first administered and can result in scarring, even if it is not visible to the naked eye. Tattoo removal is naturally more tedious when scar tissue is involved.
Red is not green nor blue
All tattoo artists use a variety of compounds to create tattoo pigment. The trouble is tattoo artists can’t determine the exact composition of each tattoo pigment. The type and quality of the ink used as well as the color itself will affect the outcome of laser tattoo removal. Common inks include homemade concoctions, Henna, Kuro Sumi, Intenze, plus many more. Some compounds in ink, such as beryllium, are hard to laser remove. Contrary to what you might think, darker inks are actually easier to remove than lighter inks, with black and dark blue ink being the easiest to remove. Most traditional lasers such as the Nd:Yag struggle to remove green, pale blue, and yellow, but the newer of generation of Picosecond lasers can tackle these colours much more effectively.
Not all lasers are created equal
Early attempts to remove tattoos with lasers have had less than desirable results. The use of ablative Argon or CO2 lasers successfully removed unwanted tattoos, only to replace them with unsightly scars as normal un-inked skin tissue are non-selectively destroyed during the procedure. The advent of Q switched Nd:Yag lasers in the last decade or so has permitted the removal of most tattoo inks with a very low risk of scarring, but in the last couple of years, the introduction of Picosecond lasers have revolutionized laser treatment of tattoos altogether.
Picosecond pulsing creates a “Pico Dusting Effect”, which is pulverization of tattoo pigments using ultra-short, picosecond laser pulses to shatter ink particles at high pressure. This photo-acoustic effect breaks tattoo inks into a fine dust cloud, with dust particles tinier than those fragmented by traditional nanosecond Nd:Yag lasers. Pulverized pigments are absorbed much more efficiently, resulting in speedier elimination of the ink particles by the body. These ultra-short bursts of laser energies also cause lesser thermal damage to surrounding normal tissue, producing less erythema and swelling compared to its traditional counterpart, and further reduced the risk of scarring. The Cynosure Picosure laser system is the world’s first picosecond laser to receive FDA approval for the removal of tattoos and benign pigmented lesions. Even the most challenging blue, green and purple inks, or stubborn tattoos previously treated by conventional lasers can be effectively removed with this laser.