Laser tattoo removal works by breaking down the ink particles in a tattoo until they are small enough to be absorbed and removed by the body. Various wavelengths are needed to treat multi-coloured tattoos, with operators using special lasers to target different inks and pigments. Other techniques such as cryotheraphy, dermabrasion, salabrasion and surgical excision have also been used widely, but these can lead to scarring and other adverse side effects.
The removal of professional tattoos can require multiple treatments, and laser tattoo removal can be a lengthy process. Treatments are usually spread over a period of time in order to allow the body to absorb the treated pigment, with the laser only being applied once each session. Some clinics, however, are able to offer alternative laser techniques that allow them to treat the tattoo four times a session. If considering this treatment, it is important to consult a specialist about your specific needs.
Before the treatment, a practitioner will need to assess your skin type and tattoo, since both affect the strategy that will be used for reduction and removal. After the treatment, the area should be treated with topical treatments such as Sulfadiazine and silicone dressing to prevent infection. Due to increased sensitivity, it may also be necessary to wear high factor sun cream on the affected area between treatments and for around 6 weeks after the laser removal treatment.
Arranging a consultation with a trained professional will enable you to learn more about how your tattoo may respond to laser removal and which treatment would be most suitable. It can be difficult to predict how different tattoos will respond to laser treatment, since there are numerous inks and pigments in use. If unsure about whether a practitioner has the necessary knowledge and skill, you should seek the advice of a registered health professional.