The skin has three layers: the epidermis or outer layer, the dermis or middle layer and the hypodermis or bottom layer. When you get a tattoo, the ink is placed into the dermis. Lasers send energy through the epidermis with enough energy and heat to fragment or break up the ink in the dermis. When the ink is broken or shattered into small enough particles, it is able to penetrate through the hypodermis. Once through hypodermis, it is seen by your body as a foreign object. Macrophages, large cells that remove foreign bodies, encapsulate the ink and it is eliminated from the body by the lymphatic system. The healthier your immune system, the better the results. Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly and drink large amounts of water see a more positive result. Those who smoke or ingest other toxins tend to need more treatments over a longer period of time.
There are a number of factors that will determine the duration and ultimate result of the procedure.
The removal process is actually very fast, but the time of each session will ultimately be determined on the size of the tattoo being removed. Very large tattoos will be removed in sections, with the time in between sessions, to allow the body to eliminate the ink most efficiently.
On average, it takes 12-15 sessions to remove a tattoo however, this is only an average and it may be more or it may be less, depending on the tattoo and your body. As stated above, the healthier you are (drinking water and exercising, abstain from smoking), the more likely you are to get a good result in a shorter period of time.
Black does seem to fade the fastest and is the first colour we target with the laser. That being said, there are some times when the black also includes greens and purples to make the colour richer (we don’t know this until we begin the process of removing the black). In general, colour tattoos take more treatments that a tattoo which contains only black.
There are over 250 different types of tattoo inks, none of which are regulated by FDA. In addition, everybody’s immune system is different. In many cases we can remove a tattoo 100% (though this is not guaranteed). If, for whatever reason it cannot be 100% removed, it will fade. At this point, you could use make- up to cover it up.
Yes. Everyone has a different pain tolerance but it does hurt more than getting the original tattoo. We will ice you before and after to help with the pain.
For some time after the session, the area may feel as if it is sunburned. Ice, on and off, can help with this discomfort. You will be given a full set of after-care instruction when your session is complete.
Yes. We can cover any areas you wish to keep, only removing what you want removed.
It takes about 2 weeks for the body to absorb the ink. Some people see some difference after the first session, though many do not. It will be working; however it may take a few sessions to start seeing the results.
We recommend 8 weeks. This will allow your body to absorb and eliminate the ink and your skin to rest before the next treatment.
If the area around your tattoo is tanned, you run the risk of hypo (too little) or hyper (too much) pigmentation. If you come in tanned, you may be asked to wait until your tan has faded before we will do the procedure.