REMOVING TATTOOS – BUT THE RIGHT WAY!
You got a tattoo years ago, but now circumstances have changed, you no longer like it or it “doesn’t quite fit”? This is how more and more people feel. Getting a tattoo often goes faster than removing it. But don’t worry. With the right technique and with our 18 years of experience, you can gently and permanently get rid of dark tattoos in particular.
Already in the 1960s there were the first attempts to remove “dirty tattoo” by laser. However, the first lasers often left unsightly scars due to the high energy. Today, this can happen even with the most modern lasers, if the user or users have too little experience and know-how.
The principle of tattoo removal by laser is based on the so-called selective photothermolysis. Lasers emit light and this is absorbed by both natural pigments and foreign color pigments as in the case of “dirty tattoos”. This causes heating of the pigment and subsequent expansion – “shock wave” – with shattering of the pigmented structures. Modern lasers have a very short pulse time – in the nano- or picosecond range – which leads to selective destruction of the pigment without heating the surrounding area too much. As a result, the color pigments are first shot out of the cell association and subsequently removed by the body’s own scavenger cells via the lymphatic system.
Looking at the table only briefly, it seems clear that the picosecond laser has an advantage. Shorter pulse duration and removing multiple colors at once are also touted as advantages over other systems. However, more and more voices are making themselves heard that these ultra-short pulses could possibly have a lasting effect on the cells. Initially, it was also promised here that the number of sessions would be lower, but this has not always proven to be true.
Nanosecond lasers have always been “state of the art” and it is wait and see what studies on “pico technology” will come our way.
WHICH LASERS DO WE USE AT “THEAESTHETICS”?
We use a combination of two systems:
Fast pulsed “Q-switched” or “QS” lasers to dissolve the pigment and a modern Fraxel laser to further accelerate the removal of the pigment. This second laser, which is applied immediately afterwards, helps the body to remove the pigment from all sides.
COURSE OF TREATMENT:
The number of treatments needed to remove a tattoo depends on the depth of color, amount of color and color itself and can normally range from 4-8 sessions, in rare cases more.
It is important, especially in the first sessions, to choose the energy rather defensively, because especially dark tattoos absorb more laser energy and thus the heating of the tissue and the associated scarring are more likely. As the treatments progress – the interval should always be 4-6 weeks – the color wears off, the energy can be increased as the number of sessions increases.
Sun should be rather avoided after the treatment, tanned skin is equally detrimental. Both natural sun and solarium are therefore taboo until 6 weeks after the last treatment. Immediately after the completion of the treatment cycle, the area should be cooled and an ointment bandage should be applied 5 to 10 minutes afterwards.
SIDE EFFECTS OF LASER TREATMENT TO REMOVE TATTOOS:
Short-term side effects:
- “whitening” – due to the intense heating of the pigment, the fluid in the cells heats up, causing vapor to form. This vapor inflates the upper layers of the skin causing them to turn white.
- Redness and swelling – these are also due to the heat development and are usually no longer visible after 24 hours.
- Slight bleeding and blistering with crusting – these could take a few days to weeks to heal, depending on the severity.
- Hypopigmentation – the laser light destroys the natural pigmentation of the skin as well as the tattoo colors. The darker the skin, the more likely this will occur. Usually these lightenings persist for 6-9 months.
- Hyperpigmentation – the opposite of hypopigmentation: the skin becomes darker in the treatment area.
- Persistent pigmentary shifts and scarring. This is mostly related to the incorrect use of the lasers, but can also occur in dark-skinned female patients, even if the system is used correctly.
Basically, it is important to know that tattoo removal that is as scar-free as possible requires patience. Modern QS-NdYag lasers in combination with Fraxel lasers, have proven to be on par with pico lasers for dark tattoos. The latter could also bring changes to the cell structure and are therefore not preferable to the proven systems from our personal point of view.
The combination of the two lasers in our office and 18 years of experience in tattoo removal of our expert Adriane Deifel, guarantees in any case a safe treatment.