How does laser tattoo removal work?
The laser tattoo removal process works by using a high-intensity beam of light to break up the pigments in the tattoo. Black is the easiest color to treat since it absorbs all laser light wavelengths. But the PicoSure® laser removes all colors—even notoriously stubborn blues and greens—and it works on all skin types.
The number of treatments you will need will depend on the colors in your tattoo, the age and size of your tattoo, and your skin tone. Pigments that are buried deep into the skin may require more sessions.
What can I expect during the procedure?
Before your laser tattoo removal procedure, you will be fitted with a pair of protective eye shields.
The technician will start by testing a small area of your skin to determine how well it reacts to the laser. This will help determine the most effective energy level to use during your treatment.
During the procedure the technician will use a laser handpiece to direct pulses of concentrated light through the upper layer of skin (the epidermis). The laser breaks up the pigment into smaller particles, which are then absorbed into your body and metabolized.
Larger tattoos will require more pulses, and you may need multiple sessions. But with each visit your tattoo should become progressively lighter. Very small tattoos can often be removed in a single session.
Does laser tattoo removal hurt?
Laser tattoo removal is uncomfortable, but in general, it’s not nearly as painful as getting a tattoo. The laser pulses feel similar to a rubber band snapping against your skin.
How much pain or discomfort you experience will depend on your individual tolerance for pain and which area of the body is being treated. Some areas of the body, such as the torso and feet, are more painful to tattoo than others. These same areas will be more sensitive during tattoo removal.
To help minimize discomfort, your treatment team may apply a topical numbing cream before the procedure.
After the procedure, the treatment team will apply an antibiotic cream or ointment and bandage to the area. An ice pack can help soothe any discomfort and prevent swelling.
Are there any laser tattoo removal side effects?
Laser tattoo removal is one of the safest tattoo removal methods, and there are few side effects. As with any procedure, there are some risks, which can include:
- Infection at the removal sight
- Permanent scarring (rare)
- Hypopigmentation (paler skin in the treated area)
Find a Reputable Laser Tattoo Removal Specialist
Laser tattoo removal requires a skilled hand. It’s important to choose an experienced provider who is trained to use the latest equipment.
Grossman Plastic Surgery is run by Dr. Peter H. Grossman, a nationally acclaimed plastic surgeon. He and his highly qualified team are ready to help you say goodbye to unwanted tattoos and achieve your aesthetic goals.
Dr. Grossman’s team uses the PicoSure® system for laser tattoo removal, a cutting-edge machine known for delivering exceptional results. Get in touch with our team today to schedule a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions about PicoSure®
What is PicoSure®?
PicoSure® is the only tattoo removal device on the market that uses a picosecond laser and PressureWave technology to remove unwanted tattoos. Developed by engineers who combined physics with medical science, the PicoSure® laser shatters the underlying tattoo ink, breaking it up into microscopic particles that your body can easily eliminate through natural methods over four to six weeks.
In contrast, nanosecond lasers used for tattoo removal emit powerful energy that burns the tattoo pigment. This action also damages the surrounding skin. The PicoSure® laser method delivers energy so rapidly that the tiny particles making up the pigment in tattoo ink vibrate and break apart without burning or harming your skin.
Does PicoSure® work on all tattoos?
The picosecond aesthetic laser can remove multicolored tattoos, including very dark lines as well as notoriously stubborn blue and green tattoo inks. PicoSure can also remove tattoos that have previously undergone unsuccessful laser treatments. Some patients experience total clearance after just three PicoSure® sessions.
Is PicoSure® laser tattoo removal painful?
There is discomfort with even PicoSure’s skin-sparing system, but some PicoSure® tattoo removal patients say the treatments are much less painful than getting a tattoo. Compared to other procedures, recovery time is very short with PicoSure®. Patients are able to resume their normal activities immediately after a treatment and side effects are minimal to rare. Most patients experience only minimal redness that fades after a few hours.
How long do PicoSure® treatments take?
The length of each session and the number of sessions required depends on the size and color of your tattoo. An average-size tattoo may require just 10 minutes per session. It is recommended that you wait four to six weeks between each session because this gives the tattoo time to fade and your body enough time to eliminate the particles created through the PicoSure® method.
Will PicoSure® help with other skin issues?
PicoSure’s unique energy delivery system disrupts particles responsible for a range of skin issues, including freckles, sunspots, and other discoloration. PicoSure® also reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and scarring by stimulating the body’s immunologic system, which promotes increased collagen and elastin production. These naturally occurring substances restore a more youthful appearance to your skin.