How does laser tattoo removal work?

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Today tattoos are usually removed with high-powered lasers. Lasers are used as they allow the tattoo’s ink pigment to be fragmented to the extent that it can be shed by a human’s natural skin growth and healing processes. The reason the ink has to be acted upon with a high-powered laser is due to its relatively deep level in the skin’s dermis; conventional medical lasers aren’t of sufficient strength. Additionally, the droplets of pigment are far too large to be broken down chemically.

The most common type of high-powered tattoo laser system used today is the Q-switched variety. These lasers differ to standard ones in two key ways. First, they produce pulses of laser light rather than a continuous beam and, second, these pulses have an extremely high peak power (in the gigawatt range). When used on a person’s skin, the tattoo’s ink pigments can be ‘flashed’ with a very controlled strength laser pulse over a short period of time, fragmenting the ink instantly and causing minimal temporary scarring to the skin.

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