Though tattoos are supposed to be permanent, 17% of people who have tattoos regret at least one. So if you’re wondering, “how does laser tattoo removal work?” because you would like to have one removed, you’re not alone!

Tattoo removal is the right decision for many who have ink. Some made the decision too young or ended up with a bad tattoo. Others want to pursue a career that doesn’t allow tattoos or they might simply not want it anymore.

This guide explains laser tattoo removal and answers the question of how does tattoo removal work.

So, How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

The needles that apply tattoos penetrate the innermost layer of skin. The skin’s natural process of regeneration does not affect this layer, and that’s why tattoos are permanent.

However, because tattoo ink is still a “foreign” entity, the body’s white blood cells are continually attempting to remove it. This is one reason tattoos can fade over time, as well as exposure to sun and harsh chemicals.

And how does laser tattoo removal work? Well, lasers help speed up the white blood cell’s job. They break up the fragments of ink deep within the skin so the white blood cells can remove them.

What Happens in a Laser Removal Session

Q-switched lasers are the most common type of laser used in tattoo removal. To break up the fragments of ink, the tattoo needs to be exposed to extreme heat in a very short space of time so that the ink quickly cools again.

Just like how a wine glass will shatter if it is held over a fire then immersed in cold water. This is what happens to tattoo ink in a laser removal session.

Generally, it takes six to eight sessions to remove a tattoo and usually six to eight weeks between sessions to get the best results. The process to remove a tattoo via laser can be quite painful, often more painful than getting the tattoo itself.

Luckily, the laser only acts in short blasts so the pain isn’t prolonged. There are ways to lessen the pain such as numbing creams, anesthetic, and advanced cooling systems which are attached to some lasers. 

Some Tattoos Are Easier to Remove 

The big question is, how well does tattoo removal work? Does the tattoo vanish completely or will there be a tattoo removal scar?

Thankfully, tattoo removal scarring is unlikely. But many factors influence whether a tattoo can be completely removed by laser treatment.

Older tattoos are more likely to be treatable due to the fact that white blood cells will have already started to break down the ink particles. Black and dark-colored tattoos are also easier for the laser to pick up and target, whereas red and yellow are a lot tougher.

The amount of melanin in the skin is also a factor in tattoo removal. Some ink colors in certain skin tones are almost impossible for lasers to pick up. Extra care is necessary when using lasers on certain skin tones which are easily damaged, too.

Is Laser Tattoo Removal Right for You?

Hopefully, this guide answers the question of how does laser tattoo removal work so you know exactly what it involves. When administered by a trained professional, it is one of the most effective and safe methods of tattoo removal.

Check out our other beauty articles for tips and advice!