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It’s never been easier or more socially acceptable to have a tattoo than today. Everywhere you look from professional athletes and celebrities to doctors, lawyers and teachers, you can find people from all different walks of life with one. And while many people choose tattoos to commemorate or celebrate something near and dear to them, some people simply get them on a whim only to regret their decision later. The good news is that it’s never been easier to get a tattoo removed—that is, if you don’t mind spending a little extra time and money in the process.
Laser tattoo removal has become immensely popular in the past few years because it’s the only option available to who no long want to live with a tattoo. But it’s much harder to get one removed than it was to get one put on in the first place! This is because the laser isn’t actually doing the work of getting rid of the tattoo ink. Your body is! The laser is just there to help your body work a bit more efficiently at what it does naturally.
You see, our bodies are designed to remove foreign things like bacteria, viruses and even suture material. Tattoo ink is a foreign invader in the skin and your body will try to remove it over time. The tattoo ink particles are too large for our body to do this very well on its own; that’s why tattoos often fade as they age instead of disappearing. They are under constant attack from our body’s immune system. Enter lasers. Q-switched lasers to be specific. These lasers use a high energy pulse delivered over a short duration of time to help break up the ink particles into something the body can get rid of more efficiently on its own.
Q-switching is a unique function of a laser and not every laser is capable of it. If you’re considering laser tattoo removal, it should be with a q-switched laser to give you the best results. There are different energy sources for q-switched lasers that give them different wavelengths of light which are attracted to different colors of tattoo ink. Also make sure that your laser practitioner is using a q-switched laser that is safe for your skin type, as there are some that cannot be used on darker skin.
Lastly, remember that the laser is an important piece of the equation for effective treatment, but if it’s in inexperienced or incapable hands, you may not see the results you’re looking for, or worse yet, you could experience an unwanted side effect such as scarring or permanent loss of pigmentation. Find out what kind of expertise and experience your laser practitioner has before you assume they know how to treat tattoos with lasers.