What Is Tattoo Removal?

Tattoo removal has been around for many years, although new technology has made the procedure both more effective and less painful. Still, the age of the tattoo, the ink used and the way it was applied all factor in to the removal process. Currently, the most effective process to remove tattoos is through the use of a laser, which uses pulses of light to break up the ink under the skin's surface.
The Basics of Tattoo Removal
Tattoo removal has developed greatly over the last few decades. In the past, the only option for removing a tattoo was through excision, which is cutting away the tattoo, or a process called dermabrasion, in which the skin is basically sanded. Laser tattoo removal is much more effective and humane. No matter which tattoo removal process is used, it's important to remember that success depends on many factors, including the age of the tattoo, how deep the ink is, the skin of the patient and even the color of the ink.
The Laser Removal Process
Laser tattoo removal has become the best way to get rid of unwanted tattoos. In the past, tattoos removed by laser left a noticeable scarring of the skin, usually in the shape of the old tattoo. Now, technology has developed that actually leaves the skin virtually unharmed. The process involves the use of a laser that produces light at specific wavelengths. These wavelengths pass through the skin and break up the tattoo ink underneath, allowing it to dissipate and become absorbed by the body. Different wavelengths are used to break up different colors of ink, with dark colors being the easiest to remove.
The Effectiveness of Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal remains the most effective way to get rid of a tattoo. The effectiveness, however, depends on many factors, such as the color of the ink. Dark blue and black ink is the easiest to remove, and red can be broken down easily as well. The most difficult colors to remove from the skin are light blue and green, making additional treatments necessary. Professional tattoos tend to take longer because they are deeper in the skin. Other factors that can contribute to the effectiveness of the procedure include the age of the tattoo, the skin of the patient and the location of the tattoo.
Average Length of the Procedure
In general, it takes longer to remove a tattoo than it took to apply it originally. Most require a number of sessions, usually 6 to 15. Large tattoos or those with green ink may require up to fifteen sessions. The number of sessions needed depends on the depth and color of ink, as well as the size of the tattoo. It is hard to give a time per session because there are many variables, but each session is spaced out about 4 weeks to allow for healing.
Tattoos are designed to be a permanent addition to the skin. Fortunately, the laser removal process makes it possible to remove the remnants of a regrettable tattoo or one that has simply aged beyond recognition. Although it's probably the most expensive option, it's the least likely to scar and the most effective way to get rid of large, old or colorful tattoos. Laser removal is also the safest option and carries the least risk of complications.

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