Ruby, Nd:YAG, Alexandrite? What’s The Difference?
So you’ve finally decided to zap that tat. Congratulations! You’re not alone. As much as 10% of the United States population is tattooed, and as many as 50% of people eventually want to have laser tattoo removal.
Happily, there’s good news for those who have an unwanted body design. Newer tattoo removal techniques can eliminate tattoos with minimal side effects. Even the most seemingly stubborn tattoos disappear with the latest innovations in laser technology, leaving that unsightly mistake nothing but a memory.
Laser tattoo removal works by targeting pigment colors in the skin’s dermis, the layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues.
The science behind laser tattoo removal is nothing short of magic. Laser tattoo removal works by targeting pigment colors in the skin’s dermis, the layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues. Light beams radiated by the laser are absorbed by tattoo pigments, which then fragment. The body then absorbs and eliminates the pigment fragments.
Some people see results immediately. But most have to undergo a series of treatments before they see a significant difference. The number of sessions depends on the amount and type of ink used and how deeply it was injected. And you must wait three to six weeks between sessions to allow pigment residue to be absorbed by the body. But patience pays off when it comes to laser tattoo removal–before you know it, that tattoo will be long gone.
How Good Is Your Laser?
Q-switch lasers are pretty much the elite of tattoo removal lasers, and they are the most common type of laser used in laser tattoo removal. They produce pulses of light that are incredibly powerful. The Q-switch laser’s might makes it the most common laser used for tattoo removal. Several types of Q-switch lasers exist, each targeting a different range of the color spectrum. Quite often more than one Q-switch laser is used during a tattoo removal treatment – and they all produce impressive results. Q-switch lasers are so precise that concentrated color pigmentation fragments instantly. This ensures your skin sustains minimal damage. Some of the most common types of Q-switch lasers are:
The Nd:YAG Laser – 532 nm and 1064 nm
The Nd:YAG laser 532 nm is designed to treat brighter colors like red, orange and yellow, while the Nd:YAG 1064 primarily treats black, blue and green inks. It is probably the most appropriate laser for tattoo removal in people of color. Other lasers such as the Q-switched Alexandrite and Q-switched Ruby have been used, but there is a greater risk of light or dark marks and scarring developing in the skin. In fact, the Nd:YAG laser 1064 nm has the deepest penetration, meaning that it carries the least risk of hypopigmentation.
The Ruby Laser
The Ruby laser is designed to treat blue and black inks, but green, red and yellow inks will usually fade with a series of treatments as well. It’s also a good option for those whose tattoos are located on parts of the body which are prone to poor healing, such as the hands, legs or feet. The Ruby laser doesn’t leave behind scarring, and minimal care is required after the procedure. Amateur, traumatic, and medically placed tattoos all respond well to the Q-switched Ruby laser.
With the Ruby laser, professional tattoos that have yellow, red or green pigment fade less than black tattoos.
The Alexandrite Laser
Alexandrite lasers are capable of removing blue and black pigments, as well as having been credited with the ability to remove green tattoo pigments better than any other laser. Green is often the only color left behind after treatment with Nd:YAG lasers and may be the most stubborn color for any other laser type to remove as well. The Alexandrite laser can remove both amateur and professional tattoos. It’s only drawback is that sometimes temporarily hypopigmentation occurs after treatment.
Professional tattoos require an average of 8.5 treatments for total removal, whereas amateur tattoos only require 4.6 treatments.
Laser It All Away
Before a laser tattoo removal session, your physician will determine which type of laser to use and how many treatments you’ll need. The number of required treatments is based on the tattoo’s age, size, type, and pigment depth. Before determining an appropriate treatment plan, your physician will first test the laser on your skin to see how it reacts.
So what happens during a laser tattoo removal treatment? Before the session starts a medical professional will apply an anesthetic cream, and you’ll be given protective eye gear to wear, along with a cooling device. The medical professional will then gently place a hand piece against your skin and deliver laser pulses to the tattoo pigment. With each laser pulse, most people experience a sensation similar to a rubber band snapping against their skin. The amount of laser pulses depends on the tattoo’s size, but most treatment sessions only last a few minutes.
You may experience minor bleeding, redness, swelling and blistering for several hours or days following treatment. The next several weeks may see the treated area flaking, peeling and scabbing. Handle the treatment site gently. While the site is healing, you should avoid sun exposure and public swimming pools. Once the skin has completely healed (usually four to six weeks after treatment), you can undergo additional sessions.
Laser Tattoo Removal Gets Results
There’s no other choice, really. Laser tattoo removal is the only safe and effective method to remove unwanted tattoos. After a series of successful laser treatments, most tattoos are pretty much gone. Keep in mind, however, that how fast your tattoo disappears depends on its color pigments, depth, and age. But even stubborn cases aren’t hopeless. Though colors such as yellow, green, or light blue are more difficult to remove, they can certainly be faded. The same goes for ink that rests deep within the dermis.
Interest in trying laser tattoo removal? Then schedule a free, no obligation consultation today by emailing LaserAway.com or calling the staff at LaserAway at (888) 965-2737.