Sunday, August 7, 2011

Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser Tattoo RemovalWith the increase in demand for tattoos - both professional and amateur, demand for laser tattoo removal has also increased. According to The Harris Poll February 12, 2008 about 17% of people regretted having a tattoo. The main reason given was that they were too immature when they got the tattoo. Others said they regretted their tattoo because they fade over time while others said they "just didn't like it".

While there are other methods of tattoo removal that include everything from creams to surgical removal, laser tattoo removal has become the gold standard for tattoo removal and has largely replaced other methods.

How does laser tattoo removal work?
Laser tattoo removal works by targeting the tattooed area with pulses of laser energy at particular wavelengths. The ink within the skin absorbs the laser energy causing it to 'break up', enabling the body to absorb it naturally over a 6 to 8 week period. After the 6 to 8 week period another session is performed. Usually it takes between 5 and 15 sessions before the tattoo fades enough so it cannot be seen.

There are many lasers used for all manner of cosmetic procedures and there are a number of different lasers used for removing tattoos. These vary in wavelength, pulse duration and energy levels. Some lasers are able to vary the wavelength of the light and the spot size. Varying the wavelength and pulse duration is important. Different colors of ink absorb light better at specific wavelengths and lasers with shorter pules are safer and more efficient.

The effectiveness of laser tattoo removal can depend on a number of factors including skin tone, pigments used, Tattoo color and your immune system's ability to absorb and rid itself of the broken up ink.

How much does it cost?
The cost of laser tattoo removal depends on many factors - the most important being the number of sessions required to remove the tattoo and the area size of the tattoo. The number of sessions required depends on the quality of the tattoo and the type of ink used. Some professional tattoos use pigments that are more stubborn to remove and some colors are more challenging to remove than others. Tattoo pigments such as white, yellows, greens and florescent inks can take more sessions to remove than darker blacks and blues.

Each clinic will calculate their prices differently but each session should be between $200 - $500 but can be more for large tattoos.

Risks of Laser Tattoo removal
The risks are low but very rarely some ink colors react badly to the laser and will turn dark instead of fading. However this can usually be remedied by future sessions where the blackened tattoo is targeted by a wavelength of light specifically for very dark pigments.

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