Laser Science Part 1
I spend all day talking to people about tattoo removal. I talk with tattoo artists alot. Most people, even people removing their own tattoos do not understand Laser Science. And what I mean is, how does our tattoo really go away? The science behind it is interesting. Does it dissapear from the inside out. Does it work the other way? How much is Anatomy & Physiology? How much is the laser tech and their machine?
All compelling questions. Let’s start at the very beginning and break the process down.
Getting new ink
When you get your tattoo there is a list of things the body does. It is immediate. As soon as the artist takes the needle to your skin. These things are the Science behind tattoo removal.
First: Immune system kicks in
Our Immune System is your bodies border patrol. It has one primary function. To protect our body from threats and foreign entities. A tattoo is an unwanted intruder. The Immune systems response is to purge the intruder. Or in our case the ink being dumped under the skin. The way the body does that is for the white blood cells to carry off the object it wants to remove. Our ink. So the immune system sends those little white blood cell soldiers to fight off the intruder.
The white blood cells find the ink particles and try to absorb them. They can’t, because the ink is bigger than they are. Tattoo ink is bound with metals. The reasons tattoo inks have so many vibrant colors is the metals. All tattoo ink colors have a metal associated with it. This is what makes tattoo removal tricky at times.
There are many types of inks. Tattoo inks were not regulated for decades. Therefore we have no idea what the ingredients were. We have a basic idea, but again no way of being certain. Things are much safer now that the FDA regulates the industry. You now have the choice from one ink manufacturer to another. Inks are appealing to a more health trending client base. When there is a problem with a product, the FDA can bring it to the publics attention.
There are millions of tattoo artists using products from different manufacturers. Using them seperately and together. The amount of pigment combinations is literally unlimited. This has a tremendous effect on how a persons tattoo will respond to laser treatments.
When lasering black inks the pigments will always react. Reds,whites and pastels will typically get good results. Unfortunatly some greens have yet to be dialed in by the makers of most lasers. For whaterver reason the amount and types of pigments that go into some teal like blues and greens are sometimes non reactive to a laser. And sometimes they are. Some green and blue tattoos come out with no problem at all. It is different with each client and every tattoo. Therefore it is suggested to do a test spot for these individulas.
Tattoo Artist application
The artist has the biggest impact on how your tattoo is going to come off in the removal process. A well done tattoo can be easier for a laser technician to remove. An experienced artist is not going to scar you. Too often a tattoo is severly scarred from an inexperienced or “heavy handed” artist. It happens all the time. The ink will come out, but the scar is usually permanent. Laser treatments stimulate collagen and elastin production. Thus resulting in the reduced appearance of most scars. It is a positive result of removing tattoos.
How the laser works
Even though the person removing their ink sould get the same results for all of the tattoos they are removing. This is only an issue if they have multiple tattoos being removed. Unfortunatly they will all come off differently. The artist and ink play a big role in the removal process.
Do your research
Starting with an experienced laser technician. Do your research and check their reviews. Look at their pictures on social media, if they do not have before and after pictures, ask why. Find someone with good reviews. This will result in a better experience all around. Call the shop and talk with the person who does the removal. If they are not willing to talk to you. Call someplace else.
Set up a consultation
Make a list of all the questions you want answered. Be ready to walk away if you are unsure in any way. It will take multiple treatments. Resulting in almost 2 years for complete removal. These sessions should be no closer than 6 weeks apart.
Your laser technician should never charge for a consultation. They are competing for your business. Not the other way. If they want to charge you. Walk away.
Typically the pricing for tattoo removal is by the inch. But larger tattoo’s are done at a lower per inch price. Meaning the shop sets the price on a per client basis. This means they will probably work with you on the cost. It never hurts to ask.
The average industry standard costs are similar. The bigger cities have more removal shops and more options. This makes the industry a bit more competitive. This is good for consumers. The average cost is about $25 to $50 per sq inch. But someone with a 50 sq inch tattoo would not be charged $2500 per session. It would be too costly. For a tattoo that big it would end up being closer to $10 per inch. They should also offer a package or pre payment discount for multiple sessions.
Part 2 coming soon