Choosing the best laser for tattoo removal is a major factor in ensuring a successful result. Tattoo removal can take a number of sessions depending on the size of the tattoo, the color and quality of the ink, and the way it was placed. It is possible to reduce the number of treatments by using fractional technologies. These techniques help to reduce the amount of skin damage during a session.
There are two main types of lasers used for tattoo removal: Q-switched and picosecond lasers. Both have the potential to remove a tattoo but the Q-switched lasers are more effective and less likely to produce unwanted side effects. These lasers are also the most popular.
Q-switched lasers produce powerful pulses that heat up the ink to break it down into small particles that are then cleared from the blood vessels and lymph nodes. This process is known as selective photothermolysis. This procedure can be used to remove black and other colored tattoos. Some laser surgeons also use Erbium:YAG lasers for tattoo removal.
Picosecond lasers are much faster and more effective than Q-switched lasers. They are also less likely to scar the tattoos in the surrounding tissue because of the shorter wavelength. Picosecond lasers also have better efficacy in removing a wide variety of tattoo pigments. These lasers are less expensive than actively Q-switched lasers, but they do not have the same power. This can make them a riskier choice for certain types of tattoos.
Before a laser tattoo removal procedure, it is important to take steps to reduce your risk of developing hypo- or hyperpigmentation. You should avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen. You should also have the tattoo examined by your doctor before the procedure. You should be informed of the risks associated with the procedure. You will also be given instructions on how to care for the tattoo after the procedure. The tattoo will need to be covered in an antiseptic oint during the healing period.
After laser tattoo removal, you should expect to have a “frosting” effect for a few minutes to a half hour. This is caused by the bubbles that form in the skin during the laser reaction. In addition, you should expect a redness and swelling at the site of treatment. These conditions are expected to continue for a few weeks after the treatment. A chalky look may also occur at the treated area. You may experience itching after the treatment.
Tattoo removal may also result in a small amount of scarring. If the laser treatment involves the use of a CO2 laser, you can expect to have a thick scar. However, this laser can also remove flesh-toned cosmetic tattoos. This laser takes advantage of transepidermal pigment migration to clear away tattoo ink. During a single session, there may be a great difference in the depth of the scars.
Tattoo removal may also result in traumatic reactions. The laser can irritate the skin, especially if the pigments are embedded into the skin. This may lead to disfiguring scars. The treatment can also ignite combustible particles. These reactions are more common in people who are allergic to ink particles.