Laser Tattoo Removal
We’re willing to bet that everyone has thought at least once about what they would get if they did have a tattoo done. Too many unfortunate souls don’t think quite long enough about this life-changing question, and end up with a naked baby Cupid on their behinds … or worse the name of a scorned lover.
Tattoos are a large part of American mainstream culture. It is estimated that more than 10 million Americans have at least one tattoo, and there are about 4,000 tattoo studios now in business in the United States
What makes a tattoo permanent is the pigment (ink) inserted into the dermal layer of the skin through ruptures (needle pricks) in the skin’s top layer – meaning that the ink is absorbed deep within the skin, beyond what will naturally wear away.
It is a process that seems relatively simple, especially when compared to the removal process.
It is important that we caution, completely removing a tattoo is not possible. Tattoos are obviously meant to be permanent, so removing them is not easy. Some things, like having a really good tattoo artist who injects the color evenly, can increase your chances for a clean removal.
Prior to the 1980s, and the birth of laser tattoo removal, techniques involved painful and scaring surgeries:
Dermabrasion where skin is sanded to remove the surface and middle layers.
Cryosurgery where the area is frozen prior to removal.
Excision where the surgeon removes the tattoo with a scalpel and closes the wound with stitches. In some cases, involving large tattoos, a skin graft from another part of the body was necessary.
Today LASERS (Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation) are the standard for tattoo removal because it offers an efficient, bloodless, low risk alternative with minimal side effects. Each procedure is done as an outpatient procedure with only a topical or local anesthesia.
Lasers produce short pulses of intense light that pass harmlessly into the top layers of the skin, then absorbed by the tattoo pigment. The laser energy causes the tattoo pigment to divide into smaller particles.
This is the fascinating part, the body’s immune system then absorbs the particles and rids them from the body. Researchers have determined the exact wavelengths of light to use to efficiently remove ink. The laser selectively targets the pigment of the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin. It’s a procedure similar to what we do for skin rejuvenation, and something we’re considering for our office.
We’re currently conducting a poll on our Facebook page asking viewers if they have ever thought about having Laser Tattoo Removal. We’re still playing with the idea, and would love to know what our audience thinks. Visit our Facebook page to leave your vote!
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Facts Courtesy: HowStuffWorks.com