How does tattoo removal work with the laser?

If an existing tattoo is definitely no longer wanted and should be removed, you should contact a dermatologist. Tattoo and cosmetic studios, which occasionally provide appropriate service, are rather unsuitable for this non-hazardous procedure.

Blasting with the laser

The removal is done today mostly by means of a Q-switched laser. Due to the extremely short pulse duration and the high energy of the laser beam, the color pigments of the tattoo encapsulated by the body are virtually blown up. Subsequently, the color residues are removed by the lymphatic fluid.

Depending on the color, different laser types are used. Here, the wavelength must be matched exactly to the respective color pigments. The so-called Nd: YAG and alexandrite lasers, for example, are optimally suited for black and dark blue tones, the ruby ​​laser especially for green and the dual-frequency Nd-YAG laser rather for red tattoo colors.

In general, it can be said that the former plain tattoos (India Ink) are much easier to remove than today's professional tattoos - especially if they contain brilliant, colorful colors. Here you should be as open as possible to advise on the potential outcome and possibly reduce his expectation of a complete elimination a little.

Sufficient time is the alpha and omega of the laser method

For a visually and medically good result, it is always important to take your time. Big and colorful tattoos may require ten or more sessions every six to eight weeks. (Although the CO2 lasers used to allow distances within a session, the results were often less satisfactory, the risks were higher, and the tattoos to be removed were usually only monochrome black).

Compared to other methods, the use of Q-switched lasers rarely results in scarring, especially if sufficient time has been allowed between sessions. Most of the time, after treatment, there is a short-term hypopigmentation of the skin area, although in a few cases it may persist permanently.

On the other hand, the tattoo spot can also turn darker or make tears appear during tattooing. An important skin protection here is the avoidance of strong sunlight / UV light up to eight weeks after the laser therapy. Anyone who has a strong tendency to allergies should seek advice from the doctor and possibly refrain from using this type of laser.

Local anesthesia advisable

Incidentally, the treatment can be quite painful, which is why a local anesthetic is usually used when removing larger tattoos. Also, the supply of cold air during the procedure can be very helpful here.

The cost of the removal usually have to be borne by yourself, whereby you usually have to pay between 75 and 300 euros per session. Depending on the number of sessions required, several hundred or even several thousand euros will quickly come together.

Author: Dr. med. Monika Steiner