At their best, tattoos are permanent body art that will be a source of great pride and happiness. At their worst they are anxiety inducing reminders of a poor decision. Luckily, getting a tattoo removed is easier than you might think.
In this post, we’ll explore what tattoo removal involves and how you can get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible:
The part ND:YAG lasers play in Tattoo Removal
ND:YAG lasers (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet lasers) are commonly used in tattoo removal because they can effectively target a wide range of tattoo pigment colours. These lasers are able to produce laser beams at a wavelengths of light of 1064 nm.
The 1064 nm wavelength is absorbed more readily by darker pigment colours, such as black and blue. It is often the preferred wavelength for removing these colours.
What do Q-switch ND:YAG do and how they are different to ordinary ND:YAG lasers?
Q-switched ND:YAG lasers are like ordinary ND:YAG lasers, with the exception that they can operate on both 1064nm and 532nm in wavelength.
The 532 nm wavelength is absorbed more readily by lighter pigment colours, such as red and yellow. It is often the preferred wavelength for removing these colours.
For this reason, salon owners need to ensure that their tattoo removal machines are Q-switched ND:YAG so that coloured and sophisticated tattoos can be removed as well as basic ones.
Q-switch ND:YAG lasers produce short pulses of intense light (at either 1064nm or 532nm depending on the colour of ink that needs targeting). The light that pass through the top layers of skin and are absorbed by the tattoo pigment. This causes the pigment to break down into smaller, more easily eliminated particles. The body’s immune system then removes these particles, and the tattoo gradually fades over the course of several treatment sessions.
What Does Laser Tattoo Removal Feel Like (Honestly)?
Many people will ultimately avoid getting tattoos removed because it’s a painful procedure. The good news is that as the Q-switched lasers become more advanced, it makes tattoo removal faster and more efficient. For you, that means less sessions needed to see results and an overall more comfortable experience.
You will definitely experience some discomfort, but it’s difficult to say how much as this is highly individual. In broad terms, the pain level can range from a feeling like having a rubber band snapped against your skin to being exposed to splutters of hot oil. Most people will be able to endure it just fine, without any issues. If you’ve already had a tattoo done without being in excruciating pain, then you should be absolutely fine.
A lot of discomfort and pain is minimised by a separate cooling machine used along the laser treatment. Laser hair removal machines often have cooling devices in the handpiece to help protect the skin during treatment. These cooling devices can take the form of a cooling gel or a cryogen spray. They work by cooling the skin before, during, and after the laser pulse, which helps to minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of side effects such as burns and pigment changes.
Tattoo removal machines, on the other hand, typically do not have a cooling device in the handpiece. Instead, an external cooling machine is used to cool the skin before and after the laser treatment. This is because the lasers used in tattoo removal have higher energy levels and shorter wavelengths, which can be more damaging to the skin. Cooling the skin before and after treatment helps to minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of side effects such as burns and pigment changes.
Knowledge is Power
The most important thing to keep in mind is to speak with your doctor or tattoo specialist prior to treatment. Understanding exactly what’s involved and having a plan in place will take away many of your concerns. Always get laser treatment at registered facilities and by qualified professionals. Also remember to take on board any advice that you are given regarding following through regular sessions and exercising the right after care to help you skin heal faster.