About Tattoo Removal
Tattoo regret has driven an explosive growth in the tattoo removal industry. Early forms of tattoo removal, which to some extent are still used today by the economically disadvantaged and determined, include dermal abrasion. It employs abrasive materials or caustic chemicals to rub away or burn out tattoos from the skin. The tattoos are removed but replaced with great disfigurement of the skin. Since the 1970’s, laser technology that was intended and approved for aesthetic and cosmetic treatment of dermatological applications has been employed “off-label” for tattoo removal.
laser Tattoo removal
Laser tattoo removal must use the specific resonant energy frequencies of each of the different colors of the tattoo inks trapped in human skin. No one single laser can treat all of the colors used in modern tattooing. Dermatologists therefore use several different lasers.
The matching of laser frequencies can be difficult even with single color tattoos but is significantly more challenging with complex, three-dimensional, multi-color tattoos. Dislodged or degraded tattoo ink particles are absorbed and carried away by the body’s lymphatic system or remain in place.
The main problem with laser treatment of tattoos is incomplete removal of the inks. For that reason, even with single color tattoos, repetition of the laser treatment, often as many as 6 to 10 times with intervals of several weeks between sessions often extends over a period of a year or more. Other problems with laser tattoo removal include pain, high cost and remnant or “shadow” tattoos, depigmentation of the overlaying skin and scarring. The absorption of laser treated dislodged ink particles or their degradation products into the body is considered to be potentially harmful.
In spite of its ineffectiveness and often less than satisfactory outcomes, the annual US laser tattoo removal treatment market is estimated at $1.0 billion.