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Laser science: how does laser tattoo removal work?

Lazer Lessonz 101 for the newbie.

Laser tattoo removal is a complicated process and not a simple answer to a permanent problem. Technicians unfortunately don’t attend Hogwarts – it’s not as quick and simple as some people believe, so when considering laser tattoo removal it’s important to understand how it works in order to prepare for the process of laser tattoo removal.

Know that every tattoo is unique. Some tattoos will fade faster than others, which is perfectly normal. It all comes down to a mix of several different factors including the age of yourself and your tattoo, the inks that were used – both the colours and the quality – the placement of your tattoo on your body, your skin tone and your personal health.

To understand how tattoo removal works, first you need to have an idea of how tattoo ink is embedded into the skin. Using a tattoo machine, tattoo ink is injected into the dermis – the second layer of skin. The tattoo ink becomes permanent, as the fragments injected into the dermis are too large for your body to break down – they can however reduce in size over time, which is what leads to tattoos fading and sometimes taking on a “blurred” appearance.

Did you know the word ‘laser’ is actually an acronym for Light Amplified by Simulated Emission Radiation? Yep. Light from a laser machine is collimated, which means it travels in one direction with little diversion. It is monochromatic (consisting of an attuned range of colours) and coherent which means it’s able to move in a precise and controlled manner. Laser machines are designed to generate short, high intensity pulses of light into the dermis of the skin where the tattoo sits – don’t worry, it’s not as terrifying as it may sound. These pulses travel every Pico Second (that’s 0.00000000001 of a second). Trained clinical technicians, like Lazer Erazer, can use varying wavelengths to target specific areas and colours on the skins surface.

Different ink colours respond to different wavelengths, absorbing the light into the pigment and breaking it down. This light exchange causes a thermal reaction causing the ink to rapidly heat and combust into smaller particles. This process causes a ‘frosting’ effect on the skin, which is the break down of carbon from the ink and the releasing of carbon dioxide from the dermis. These particles are then eliminated from your body via your natural kick-ass immune system (white blood cells and lymph nodes) expelling them out of your body through your ordinary bodily functions like sweat, urination and excretion. Meaning that your technician is able to break the tattoo down for you, but it is up to your body to expel it.

At Lazer Erazer, every tattoo removal procedure comes with a treatment plan tailored to each individual’s lifestyle. If your chosen technician isn’t doing that – leave. The same can be said if your technician is not wearing gloves, is sporting shitty chipped nail polish, has exposed jewellery or is constantly dry-wiping throughout the process without a Kool machine. Seriously, just leave. This unprofessionalism is what causes infections and scarring and a downright terrible time.


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