When you get a tattoo, you know that they will be permanent; an imprint on your skin that will forever remind you of how you felt at a specific point in your life. A tattoo could be a declaration of love, a nagging reminder never to do something again, or simply an aesthetic decoration on your skin.
But sometimes the tattoo might become unwanted reminders of our past mistake and indiscretions. Depending on the location of the tattoo, it may end up looking misshapen as your skin starts to sag with age, or as the ink begins to fade.
While tattoos are well-known to be permanent, there are some ways to remove the ink off your skin. EHA Clinic’s Discovery PICO laser tattoo removal is an advanced and effective way to erase the tattoo from your skin.
To fully understand how the tattoo removal process works, we must first understand how tattoos are inked on the skin. When you enter a tattoo parlor and get yourself inked, a mechanized needle is used to puncture the external layer of skin, which injects ink into the second layer of skin, known as the dermis. There is slight damage to the skin due to the puncturing, which is why the process hurts and the skin is red afterwards.
When tattoos are removed using lasers, the light beam is directly targeted on a single colour of ink, and it breaks up the inked particles until they can be carried away by the white blood cells, thereby being completely removed from the area.
All tattoos will require multiple sessions to remove regardless of the size. The number of sessions needed depends on the ink (carbon or metallic) used and the depth of the ink. Typically, metallic ink may need double the number of sessions as the particles are harder and more difficult to break up into smaller sizes. As the laser can only work on the upper most layer of the material in each session, more sessions would be required if the tattoo artist has injected more ink into a tattoo. For a large tattoo, it may be better to divide it into several parts for treatment, to make it more comfortable.
Black, blue & red tattoos are usually responsive to laser treatment. Some colours such as yellow and white are very difficult to treat. The efficacy depends on how well the laser is absorbed by the particles, which is dependent on the wavelength of the laser.
The new generation of laser with pulse duration in picosecond (and hence the term PICO laser) shortens the duration of contact of the laser on the skin to one tenth of that of the previous generation of laser. This shorter exposure reduces the sensation of discomfort, minimizes the risk of injury and complications while at the same time improves the efficacy with a higher peak energy delivered.
Patients who have undergone EHA’s laser tattoo removal process have reported only mild discomfort during the procedure, a sensation that is similar to having rubber bands snapped against the skin. EHA Clinic’s founding and resident doctor, Dr Elias Tam, who has over 20 years of medical experience, will numb the treated area before the procedure, to ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible.
After removing the tattoo, the treated areas may itch for a short while, and patients may experience some pin-point bleeding or small blisters. You are free to use a moisturiser on the treated area, along with other creams and ointments that Dr Tam may prescribe as part of the post-treatment care.
Within a few weeks, clear areas of skin will begin to appear as the ink begins to fade. The tattoo will lighten. After a few months, the full effect of the laser tattoo removal can be seen.
Have more questions about the laser tattoo removal process? Contact EHA Clinic at 6235 3325 for enquiries.