How does "tattoo removal" by laser work?
If you want to remove an unwanted or disturbing tattoo, this is usually no problem nowadays. During this procedure the tattoo is removed from the skin layer by layer. The laser records and then disperses the respective uppermost layer of the coat of paint. The tiny ink particles are then being degraded by the body as a waste product. During the next session the next layer of color is being treated. You will see that the tattoo is getting brighter with each session until it eventually is hardly recognizable.
Can colored tattoos be removed as well?
With a few exceptions it is nowadays possible to remove every tattoo color. Depending on the color, different systems are available. Black, blue, green, red, pink and orange can be removed easily. Yellow, white, brown and skin colors are more difficult to remove or even impossible. Fortunately however, these colors strike less attention thanks on the surrounding skin.
How many sessions are required until the tattoo is removed?
One must distinguish between amateur and professional tattoos. To remove an amateur tattoo, on average 6-10 treatments are necessary; however, for the removal of a tattoo made by a professional experience shows that more sessions are needed. Often it is possible to make a more accurate forecast after the 3rd session. By then, it is well visible to what degree the tattoo fades. Unfortunately, at the beginning of treatment no one can foresee how deep the pigment is deposited in the skin.
Is a laser treatment painful?
Generally, the treatment by laser is a painless form of therapy. The feeling during treatment is often described as resembling "pinholes" or "gnats with a rubber band." It is usually well endurable without anesthesia. Sometimes, e.g. in the case of a patient with high pain sensitivity, a numbing skin cream can be applied before treatment.
What are the risks and side effects, or could the treatment leave scars?
Since the tattoo is being removed layer by layer from the skin, the method of removal by laser is an extremely gentle one for the skin. However, as with any other therapy, certain rules must be obeyed in order to avoid any risk. It is necessary that there is a gap of min. 4 weeks between two sessions; this helps to protect and regenerate the upper skin layer. In addition, the skin should not be excessively tanned (sun, tanning studio) when starting treatment, not should it be exposed to ultraviolet radiation after treatment. As the laser light can bind with not only artificial but also natural pigments (melanin), there is the risk of shifting pigments.
These would then have to be treated with special creams. Often it is sufficient to protect the treated skin area with a sun-blocker. If you do not want to do this, you can easily discontinue the therapy during the peak summer months. The risk that side effects or even scars occur is extremely low if all precautions are met.
Is laser radiation dangerous or harmful?
Laser radiation is no X-ray or UV radiation, but concentrated light. It is not expected to be harmful to human health. However, during treatment, the wearing of laser safety glasses is the only precaution which is absolutely necessary - for both, the attending physician and for you as a patient.