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  • Advanced Dermatology

The Best Tattoo Removal Method

Historically, tattoo removal treatments were limited to treatments that frequently caused scarring, such as dermabrasion, and dermabrasion followed salt, also known as salabrasion. Dermabrasion involves using a rotary with a coarse tip to “sand away” the epidermis overlying the tattoo. Adding a salt-covered bandage to the dermabraded area causes some of the tattoo ink in the dermis to stick to the bandage, thus removing it from the skin.

Unfortunately, these dermabrasion techniques are non-specific, in that they remove some of the tattoo ink AND damage healthy tissue rather than targeting the ink specifically. While sometimes all of the ink is removed, the result is usually a scar roughly the same size and shape as the tattoo.

For small tattoos, surgical excision has also been used, but again, resulting in a scar.

With modern laser technology, it is possible to target the ink without causing collateral damage to the surrounding skin. With the understanding that different colors of ink absorb different wavelengths of light, lasers have been developed that target specific colors. This is called the principle of “selective photothermolysis”. The ink absorbs the laser energy causing fragmentation of the ink granule into smaller particles that the body’s immune system can deal with. White blood cells ingest the ink and carry it to neighboring lymph nodes where it is filtered and stored.

Understanding that the heat that develops when the ink particle absorbs the laser energy can damage surrounding healthy tissue, the newest generation of tattoo removal lasers utilize picosecond pulse durations. This delivery of a pulse lasting only one trillionth of a second allows the ink particle to be fragmented without the heat dissipating to the surrounding healthy tissues, greatly minimizing the risk of scarring compared to the previous generation of nanosecond pulse lasers.

Advanced Dermatology uses the PicoSure® laser treatments for all of our laser tattoo removals. The PicoSure® laser was recently ranked #1 among tattoo removal lasers by independent clinical studies.

The Picosure laser uses a picosecond pulse duration. Limiting the pulse to only one trillionth of a second significantly reduces the risk of scarring and provides better response with fewer treatments than older technologies.

Consult a Cosmetic Dermatologist for More Information

If you are considering the removal of a tattoo, it is important that you consult a cosmetic dermatologist such as those at Advanced Dermatology located in Huntsville and Madison Alabama. They can help recommend the best treatment based on your skin type and the color pigment in your tattoo(s). This will give you a better idea whether dermabrasion, surgical excision or laser is more suitable.

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