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What Does It Take to Have My Tattoo Removed?

What Does It Take to Have My Tattoo Removed?

Almost one-third of the American population has tattoos, and that stat climbs to nearly half for the millennial generation. With those numbers, it means that there are plenty of unwanted tattoos. Where once you were stuck with a permanent reminder, today you can choose which designs you wish to keep and those you’d like to remove. 

Contemporary cosmetic lasers like the Spectra™ Q-switched laser system are optimized to lighten and remove virtually all tattoo ink. Gul A. Zikria, MD, offers Spectra laser treatments to his clients who want the best in laser tattoo removal. Contact our Milpitas, California, practice to learn more about what it takes to have your tattoo removed. 

The resilience of tattoo ink

The reason tattoos are permanent comes down to the size of pigment particles in the inks used to create your design. Normally, your body would attack foreign particles and break them down so your lymphatic and circulatory systems could flush them naturally from your body. 

Ink pigments, though, are too big for natural systems to overcome. The body tries, but has little effect on the largest dye particles. You may see some degradation along edges of a tattoo after years, or some colors may not be as vivid as when the design was new. This shows that some ink is vulnerable, but for the most part, pigment particles remain in place for good. 

Lasers and tattoo ink

If, on a microscopic scale, you could pound away at tattoo ink with a tiny hammer, the dye particles would break down into smaller fragments until these were small enough to pass through lymphatic vessels and blood capillaries. From that point on, your body’s waste processing systems would harmlessly flush these particles. 

The underlying challenge of tattoo removal is finding an effective “hammer” to break up the dyes. This is where lasers come into play. The unique properties of laser light allow it to transfer energy in the form of light bursts consisting of a single wavelength of color. 

These energy bursts pass through your surface skin into the layers where tattoo inks reside. The dye pigment absorbs light energy and heats up. With sufficient force, those dye particles shatter into smaller fragments. Your body takes it from there. 

The Spectra advantage

While the principle holds true for any cosmetic laser, not all systems are optimized for use on tattoo inks. Most lasers are capable of energy bursts in one or two wavelengths, effective on a range of colors close to those wavelengths. Therefore, most laser systems can only remove certain dye colors. 

Spectra offers four distinct wavelengths delivered with high-peak power over a short duration. The combination of wavelengths and fast, high-powered bursts means that Spectra can break down tattoo dyes across the widest range of colors with excellent efficiency. The benefit to you is more complete tattoo removal in fewer visits than with lower-powered, single-wavelength laser systems. 

Find out more about what you can expect from Spectra for laser tattoo removal by booking a consultation with Gul A. Zikria, MD. Call us at 408-290-8289 to schedule your appointment now. 

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