Tattoo removal may be less familiar to some people than more common laser treatments such as laser hair removal, but it works on a similar principle. The lasers are absorbed by the pigments in the hair, or in this case, the ink. This then breaks the ink down, and it is then absorbed into the body. The effect is similar to the natural fading which time or sun exposure would create. However, all colours have a different absorption spectra, and colours such as green, yellow and fluorescents are much harder to treat. The laser can cause white and flesh tones to turn black, and these then need to be removed properly eight weeks later.
What to Expect
Full tattoo removal usually takes several sessions. Some colours may never be completely removed, and it can take up to 20 sessions to get a satisfactory result, so be aware that it could cost a lot. Tattoo removal can also be very painful, and depending on your pain threshold and the size of the tattoo you may have to have some form of anaesthetic.
You will be talked through the whole procedure with your practitioner before it is done. They will generally do a test patch first to see how your skin and the tattoo respond to the laser. The procedure usually only lasts a matter of minutes, but can last up to an hour.
Tattoo removal is relatively safe but there are side effects. You may experience redness, pain, tingling and numbness, as well as there being a chance of burns, blisters and scars. However, contrary to what many people believe, lasers cannot cause serious illnesses or conditions such as cancer and infertility.