With laser and light technology development happening at such a fast pace, Dr. Hirsch urges all patients to make certain that they work with a board-certified dermatologist experienced in laser therapy to ensure proper safety with treatment. Never be afraid to ask your physician about their training and qualifications, or what their experience is with a particular procedure or device. Since any type of procedure can carry potential side effects, it is crucial to entrust your face and body only to qualified, experienced hands.
The advent of Q-switched lasers permitted the removal of most tattoo inks with very little risk of scarring. The Medlite can significantly lighten or remove many tattoo inks, and is particularly advanced in the removal of blue, black and red inks. Different wavelengths may be needed, depending on the color of the ink present. Tattoo ink is removed by using a specific wavelength which passes through the skin but is absorbed by the ink. The rapid absorption of light energy causes the tattoo ink to shatter into small pieces which are then removed by the body's natural filtering systems. The light is emitted in very short flashes called pulses. The impact of the energy form the powerful pulse of light is similar to the snap of a thin rubber band on the skin. Although the large majority of patients do not require anesthesia, topical anesthetic creams can be helpful.
The number of treatments depends on the amount and type of ink used and the depth of the ink in the skin. Professional tattoos usually require 6 - 10 treatments, while amateur tattoos require 3 - 6 treatments, all spaced approximately 6 - 8 weeks apart. Rarely, even more than ten treatments may be needed. Traumatic tattoos (pencil lead, asphalt and dirt embedded in the skin can leave a permanent "tattoo") usually respond with 1 - 4 treatments.