Laser and Tattoo Removal
There are many reasons a person gets a tattoo. It may be to express their undying love to a partner or prove their commitment to an organization.
Circumstances change, and life moves on, creating the need to remove the symbol or name from your body. But that creates a huge problem, because the tattoo is etched into your skin. Although you may have thought you would always want it to be a part of your anatomy, you now want it removed. What can be done? Thanks to laser and the technology of skin resurfacing, tattoos can actually be removed.
Tattoos Are Dyes Inserted Into The Skin
Breaking Down The Ink
Laser emerged in the medical arena during the 1950’s. In 1962, Dr. Leon Goldman used the heat from CO2 laser beams to remove an unwanted tattoo from a patient. This opened up the possibilities that laser could offer to the cosmetic industry. Private cosmetic and laser centres like Dr. Cory Torgerson’s in downtown Toronto are now able to offer laser skin resurfacing to clients who want tattoos, acne scars, and wrinkles removed, thanks to the laser pioneer, Dr. Leon Goldman!
Tattoos are dyes inserted into the skin. The dye is injected with tiny needles right through the epidermis, completely saturating the skin cells they contact. Because of this, to remove the tattoo it is necessary to have a laser beam that is powerful enough to reach to the same depth as the ink. The heat breaks down the ink particles, which are then absorbed into the body through the lymphatic system. Only ablative laser beams are invasive enough to remove the layers of skin that the ink has permeated.
Since 2006, the development in lasers that use multiple wavelengths have proven to be more effective. Q-switch “pulsed” laser light was the preferred method for tattoo removal. New advancements such as the Picosure now create a faster removal process than ever before.
Follow Dr. Torgerson’s After-Care Instructions Carefully
Excellent Safety Record
High-powered, carbon dioxide infared laser beams heat the top layers of skin to approximately 100 degrees, causing the damaged skin to vaporize and flake off. A new, fresh layer of skin is exposed, and the ink is metabolized by the body slowly but surely, fading with each treatment. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, CO2 laser caused side effects such as skin discoloration (called dyspigmentation), swelling (called erythema), eczema, excess scarring, and in some cases, infection. Great advancements have been made over the last decade with this type of laser therapy, and now the heat is delivered in a pulsed, more controlled manner, causing less thermal damage. The laser is also fractional, which means that it is necessary to treat only a fraction of the skin surface at a time to achieve the same results. When operated by an expert from a reputable laser clinic, laser tattoo removal now has an excellent safety record with little or no side effects.
Because tattoo removal is invasive, it is necessary to follow Dr. Torgerson’s after-care instructions carefully, as the new skin that has been revealed is very sensitive. Proper cleansing of the site and administration of the special cream prescribed is essential to ensure optimum results. When a patient receives a laser tattoo removal treatment, it is recommended that the tattoo remain covered and out of direct sunlight for a time so that the healing process can take place. Depending on where the tattoo is located, this can be an added consideration for tattoo removal.
Yellow and green dyes are the most difficult colours to target, so several sessions four to six weeks apart may be necessary to completely remove them. Booking a consultation at our Toronto laser centre is the best way to determine how many sessions you would need to remove your unwanted tattoo.
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