LASER TATTOO REMOVAL
Fading Unwanted Ink for Bryn Mawr, Newtown Square, Main Line, and Beyond
You don't have to live with unwanted tattoos any longer. Laser tattoo removal at the Bryn Mawr-based Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa can take away undesirable words, designs, and images on your face, chest, legs, arms, back, neck, hands, and shoulders—virtually anywhere ink can be applied. We use the QSwitched Nd:YAG laser to remove red, blue, and black tattoo ink and the Alexandrite laser to remove green ink. Most patients enjoy a significantly faded tattoo after just three to six treatments, spaced weeks apart to allow for healing between sessions.
Lasers are a first choice for many people looking to rejuvenate their skin. The same energy that reduces the appearance of age and sun spots can also be used to remove tattoos in the Bryn Mawr, Newtown Square, and Philadelphia areas, helping people erase signs of their past they no longer wish to carry. Some of our patients seek to remove the ink so they can apply for a job with employers who may frown on a visible tattoo. Other patients wish to remove a dreaded ex's name in a prominent location. Whatever the reason, laser tattoo removal is available to start the process of removing your unwanted tattoo.
How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?
To understand laser tattoo removal, it is important to first understand how tattoos are applied. Tattoo ink is injected about a millimeter into the skin (dermis), where its large particles are too large for the body's healing processes to clear away. The dermis, just below the outermost layer of skin (epidermis), learns to live with the ink. The ink can remain there for decades, since the dermal cells are much more stable than the epidermal cells, which have frequent turnover. However, this does not mean that the body does not try to clear the foreign particles of ink away. The issue is that the ink particles are too large to be engulfed by our natural clean up cells, the macrophages.
To remove a tattoo, we will treat it with specific lasers, which break the larger pieces of ink down into smaller particles that the macrophages can engulf and remove. Think of the laser tattoo removal process as similar to shattering a heavy boulder into smaller rocks that are more easily lifted and carted away. As the ink particles are removed by the macrophages, the tattoo becomes more difficult to see, gradually fading in intensity and visibility.
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What Inks Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work On?
Inks are made in a variety of ways, with many manufacturers keeping their specific formulas a secret. Each ink consists of a pigment (the particles) and often combinations of pigments.
Earlier versions of laser tattoo removal devices only worked on black ink, since the darkest pigmented particles were the ones most impacted by the energy from the laser. Advances in technology have improved the laser tattoo removal process so the lasers can now work on a variety of ink colors. Talk to the Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa team if you have specific questions about your tattoo colors or the laser removal process.
How Many Sessions Does Laser Tattoo Removal Require?
Every tattoo is different, so there is no standard number of treatment sessions for laser tattoo removal. The time needed, number of sessions, end results, cost, and other aspects of the process depend on a variety of factors, including your skin type, the size and age of the tattoo, the ink colors, and the skill of the artist who gave it to you. All of this will be discussed at an initial laser tattoo removal consultation.
What Can Improve the Laser Tattoo Removal Process?
The Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa team offers the DESCRIBE® PFD Patch to make the laser tattoo removal process feel more comfortable and proceed more quickly.
The patch is a thin sheet of silicone infused with a perfluorodecalin (PFD), which is an inert, nontoxic liquid. The marriage of the two creates a protective layer over the tattoo. Laser energy passes easily through the patch into the tattoo. There are several advantages to using the DESCRIBE® PFD Patch, including giving the skin the ability to accommodate up to four times as many passes in a single laser tattoo removal session as it would without the patch. The laser tattoo treatment is also more comfortable with the DESCRIBE® PFD Patch.
In a typical laser tattoo removal session, a single pass creates a layer that appears white and bubbly on the skin surface. No further passes with the laser will be made until this layer clears, as the laser will not work until it clears. Unfortunately, this white bubbly layer does not clear quickly, which limits the number of laser passes that can be performed in a treatment session.
The DESCRIBE® PFD Patch causes the white, bubbly layer to clear quickly (optical clearing agent), allowing for multiple passes during a single laser tattoo removal session. More passes results in more energy delivered to the tattoo, breaking down the ink more effectively, leading to fewer sessions required for the desired results.
The patch also helps the laser reach ink particles that sit deeper in the dermis, which results in a more thorough clearing of the unwanted tattoo. Deep-set ink particles can be a particular problem for older tattoos.
Laser tattoo removal can be an uncomfortable treatment. The DESCRIBE® PFD Patch reduces discomfort during the session by protecting the surface of the skin from the full heat of the laser and minimizing side effects that can lead to discomfort in the following hours and days. With these side effects reduced, patients find that their experience is much more tolerable.
Patients interested in the DESCRIBE® PFD Patch can discuss it during their laser tattoo removal consultation.
Other Uses for Lasers
At Cirillo Cosmetic Dermatology Spa, in addition to laser tattoo removal, laser devices are also used for skin resurfacing, skin tightening, hair removal, redness reduction and vascular lesion removal, and overall skin rejuvenation. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) devices use multiple wavelengths of light, unlike lasers, which use one wavelength of light, to rejuvenate the skin and remove unwanted brown spots and blood vessels and to reduce blotchy complexion redness. LED (Light Emitting Diode) treatments use visible blue and red light to treat acne and reduce the inflammation often associated with it. Talk to our team to explore the many options available and discover which will best suit your unique skincare needs.