how it works

Laser Tattoo Removal Explained

Winter Park Tattoo Removal operates under the direct supervision of medical professionals and expert staff. We utilize state-of-the-art laser technology to safely erase unwanted body art, transforming what was once permanent into a distant memory of the past. In this page, we will delve into the intricate science behind laser tattoo removal, catering to those who appreciate the finer details.

Our instrument of choice for tattoo removal is the esteemed NaturaLase 2-Joule laser, renowned as the world’s most powerful, boasting nearly double the energy output of any other available equipment. Given the laser’s remarkable potency, we strongly recommend considering the use of a PFD Patch to expedite the healing process and reduce overall recovery time. To that end, we also offer Lidocaine to numb your skin, significantly minimizing any pain.

Now let’s dive into the intricate technical details of how professional laser tattoo removal actually works!

 

What’s a Tattoo Removal Laser?

A tattoo removal laser is a specialized device designed to erase tattoos from the skin. Unlike regular lasers used for medical procedures, tattoo removal lasers are uniquely engineered to target and break down tattoo ink pigments embedded in the skin. These lasers work by emitting intense pulses of light in extremely short durations, measured in nanoseconds (one billionth of a second).

This quick burst of energy is crucial because it shatters the tattoo ink into tiny particles, making it easier for the body’s natural processes to gradually remove the broken-down ink over time.

Laser tattoo removal can be uncomfortable due to the intense bursts of light energy used to break down the tattoo ink in the skin. The sensation is often described as a sharp, stinging feeling, similar to the snap of a rubber band against the skin.

This discomfort arises because the laser energy is absorbed not only by the tattoo ink but also by the surrounding skin tissue. Fortunately, we offer Lidocaine and the PFD patch to dramatically minimize potential dicomfort!

 

The Q-Switched Laser

A tattoo laser is a Q-Switched device. Q-Switched (aka quick switched) basically means it delivers light energy in a very short pulse that is much shorter than a standard laser.

Standard aesthetic lasers measure their pulse width in milliseconds (ms) but a Q-Switched laser measures the pulse width in nanoseconds (ns). A millisecond is one-one thousandth of a second. A nanosecond is one-one billionth of a second.

The light emitted from a Q-Switched laser acts more like an acoustic wave than traditional light; it still is attracted to a specific pigment or color much like a standard laser is attracted to various chromophores based on the wavelength, but the light blasts the pigment/ink into microscopic particles so it can be absorbed by the body.

The mechanics of the process is that the light is attracted to the ink based on the color of the ink and the wavelength of the laser light. Since the ink resides deep in the skin, the difficulty of the procedure is that you have to deliver the right level of energy to affect the ink without damaging the skin between the surface and the ink.

This is done by delivering a very high amount of energy in a very short period of time, hitting the ink with that acoustic blast and generating heat in the tissue only where the ink resides, without creating too much heat in the skin above the ink.

To reach deeper in the skin without generating too much heat on the surface, the spot size must be large in relation to the energy applied, since the laser energy creates a profile that resembles a cone; the deeper it reaches into the skin, the more narrow the peak power area becomes until it comes to a point.

The area the laser beam can affect shrinks as you go deeper into the skin, reducing the amount of ink the beam will remove. If you reduce the spot size to increase the energy (the power density rule: take the same amount of energy output from a laser at one spot size, reduce the spot size and you increase the light energy of the beam), you reduce the overall area of ink that is treated deep in the skin and this dramatically increases the chance of causing a burn on the surface of the skin.

Having a device that can generate a high energy with a large spot size is critical for success with the minimization or elimination of complications.

The Significance of Maximum Energy 

Here’s why the maximum energy of a tattoo laser is critical and the biggest problem with most of the devices currently sold on the market. The lower the maximum energy per pulse the system can produce, the less ink the device will affect per treatment, so a lower powered laser will require more treatments in a series to completely remove a tattoo of any ink color.                   
The base wavelength of a tattoo removal device is traditionally 1064nm (YAG laser) and the laser manufacturer will advertise, or list in the device specifications, the maximum energy at the 1064nm wavelength.                                                                                                                               
Most of the current tattoo lasers are a 1 Joule per pulse system (in the 1064nm wavelength). The 1064nm wavelength will treat black and dark blue inks. Maximum energy of 1 Joule per pulse is sufficient for effective tattoo removal, so a 1 Joule/1064nm device will work well for tattoos with dark ink colors.                                                                                             

Wavelengths & The Impact on Laser Energy

To affect red inks or colors close to that hue, the system is switched to 532nm (when changing a system from 1064nm to 532nm, it is referred to as “doubling” the wavelength), but when you switch to 532nm, you reduce the laser’s energy by 55%. So, if you start with a 1 Joule system (1,000mj), when changing to 532nm, you end up with roughly 450mj as the workable energy. 450mj is still a sufficient level of energy, but remember that as you lower the total energy delivered, this means it will take a higher number of treatments in a series to completely remove a tattoo.

When setting the system to treat sky blue inks, you install a handset called a dye pack while the system is operated in the 532nm mode. The dye pack contains a dye that alters the light wavelength exiting the handset from 532nm to 585nm. There is also another dye pack to change the wavelength from 532nm to 650nm, to affect the greens. When the 650nm or 585nm dye packs are installed, it further reduces the light energy output by 45% to 65%.

This means that, when you start with 1 Joule per pulse in the 1064nm mode, you will end up working with around 200mj or less in the 650nm or 585nm modes. At that low level of output, the spot size must be reduced dramatically to generate enough energy to have any effect on the tattoo, resulting in less ink being removed per session. 

What Determines the Amount of Sessions?

A standard treatment involves utilizing the 1064nm wavelength to get the darker colors first (if the majority of the tattoo is made up of dark inks). The patient then must allow the “injury” to heal for 8 weeks or longer between each treatment. If the system has a high enough maximum energy output to safely deliver a large spot, it may be able to remove most if not all of the dark colors in one or two treatments.                                                                                                                                                                                    In the majority of cases, the patient needs to come back for multiple treatments with every wavelength. Treating a tattoo with exotic colors such as turquoise or greens will require more treatments compared to just black. Next, the system is changed to another wavelength (532nm, 585nm or 650nm) based on the color composition of the tattoo.       
                                                                               
Most low powered systems do not have enough of an effect on the non-standard colors to remove them in two treatments so again, it will take a number of sessions.  Luckily for you, we have high powered systems where the number of sessions needed in comparison is fewer!

NaturaLase 2-Joule – FAQ

  • The NaturaLase 2-Joule is the most powerful tattoo removal laser in the world, with almost 2 times the energy of any other system available. The measurement of 2 Joules per pulse is in the tattoo removal mode, at the end of the handset.
  • This system is the only device on the market that utilizes two laser generators, that’s why it can deliver more than 1 Joule of energy per pulse. (This system can be pushed to deliver almost 2.6 Joules per pulse, but that is not listed in the specifications or promised by the manufacturer.)
  • It can treat all tattoo ink colors effectively in fewer treatments than any other device. It will remove even the exotic colors such as yellows and turquoise, which no other device can remove without a high number of treatments in a series (other devices will leave a faded tattoo even after multiple treatments).
  • The NaturaLase 2-Joule has an energy port so the operator can measure the exact energy delivered during a treatment. No other system has this feature.
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At the Winter Park Tattoo Removal, we have skilled professionals using Winter Park Tattoo Removal & skin blemish removal technology to free your skin of tattoos, scars, and any signs of aging.
No need to keep that unsightly tattoo anymore. We can help!

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