Laser tattoo removal has become a very popular cosmetic treatment in large part because there are so many consumers with tattoos. As the procedures have grown in popularity so too have physicians and consumers interest in finding out which lasers are best for their particular tattoo and skin type.
When speaking on the issue of which lasers are best for tattoo removal, it’s important to understand that there is a distinction between the TYPE of laser being used and the BRAND name of laser being used. The TYPE of laser refers to the type of light being used for the treatment and the BRAND name of the laser refers to the manufacturer that produces the laser. This is an important distinction to understand when search for a tattoo removal facility. Also important to understand is the fact that some q-switched types of lasers are better at some colors than others.
First let’s discuss the TYPES of lasers used for tattoo removal and which colors they are ideal for:
- Q-switched Nd:Yg laser (and double frequency Nd:Yg). This laser type is most commonly used for laser tattoo removal because it has two wavelengths, 1064 (Nd:Yg) for dark colors and 532 (Double Frequency Nd:Yg) for lighter colors. The 1064 wavelength of light is best on black, brown, blue, deep purple and other dark colors, while the 532 wavelength is best on red. There are a lot of colors in between including yellow, orange, pale blue, green, etc. While the 1064 and 532 can usually remove these colors, it can take many treatments (5-15 is the expectation we set at our practice).
- Q-Switched Ruby laser. This laser is uses 694 nanometer wavelength of light and is effective at removing green and darker colors.
- Q-Switched Alexandrite laser. This laser is uses 694 nanometer wavelength of light and is effective at removing green and darker colors.
The following are manufacturer’s BRANDs of Tattoo Removal Devices:
- Hoya Conbio Medlite (C3, C4, C6 and Revlite), Q-Switched Nd:Yg (and Double Frequency Nd:Yg). The Hoya Conbio 1064/532 combination lasers is one of the leaders in tattoo removal equipment and has been producing top quality, high energy Q-switched lasers for many years.
- Palomar Q-Yag V Q-Switched Nd:Yg (and Double Frequency Nd:Yg). This machine is similar to the Hoya Conbio lasers but has an added feature that allows the practitioner to mix 1064 and 532 wavelengths of light, adding more flexibility to the treatment program. It is especially useful for tattoo removal in darker skin types because of this mixing functionality.
- Cynosure Affinity QS, Q-Switched Nd:Yg (and Double Frequency Nd:Yg).