During a laser tattoo removal procedure, the clinician guides a laser over the area of the tattoo. Unlike a laser pointer that produces a continuous beam of light, tattoo removal lasers produce pulses of light energy. Those pulses of energy penetrate the skin and are absorbed by the tattoo ink. As the tattoo ink particles absorb the energy, they heat up and then shatter into tiny fragments.
Then, over the weeks following treatment, the body’s immune system flushes the tattoo ink particles away from the location, lightening the appearance of the tattoo. Each laser treatment breaks down more and more of the tattoo ink until it’s gone.
Q-switching is a particular type of laser pulse creation that produces intensely powerful, brief pulses of energy, typically lasting just a few nanoseconds. These rapid nanoseconds intense pulse of energy makes laser tattoo removal work.
Since a Q-switched laser pulse is so brief and fast, it can heat and shatter tattoo ink without heating the surrounding skin tissue. In essence, the briefness of the Q-switched laser pulse allows practitioners to selectively damage the tattoo ink particles while leaving the surrounding skin intact.
When treating multicolored tattoos, it is essential to have access to various laser wavelengths for treatment versatility. The most common wavelengths used for laser tattoo removal are 1064 nm and 532 nm – they can treat 95%+ of tattoos.