How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

Let's start from the beginning...

The most common method of tattooing uses an electric tattoo machine which rapidly injects ink into the skin. The body’s immune system attacks the invading ink pigment with macrophages to capture, consume and remove the ink from your system. Some macrophages over-consume and become so full that they can’t move, remaining where they are, and the agglomeration of ink they have consumed is visible through the skin as a tattoo.

The removal process...

The most efficient and effective way to remove a tattoo is with specialized lasers designed specifically for tattoo removal. These lasers break up ink particles with the use of short bursts of energy created by focused light waves.

How tattoo removal works

Each ink pigment (color) in the tattoo, absorbs and reflects a specific wavelength of light, which is the color we visibly see. Black ink requires a wavelength setting of 1064, red ink 532, Blue ink 585 and green ink 650. After evaluation of the tattoo, the laser technician will choose the setting necessary to break up the colors in the tattoo. When the light wave hits the ink, the ink absorbs the energy, causing the ink to vibrate and shatter into small pieces.

A tattoo is considered a foreign body by your immune system and it will start to attack the ink in attempts to rid it from the skin the moment a person gets the tattoo. The cells in the immune system that are responsible for removing foreign bodies and debris are called Macrophages.

Macrophages work by engulfing objects and bringing them back to immune system so they can be flushed out of the body. Ink particles placed in the skin are much too large for the Macrophages to engulf, hence why tattoos stay in the skin for a very long time.

With the use of these specialized laser, those large ink particles are broken up into much small pieces, which allow the Macrophages to engulf them. After the ink debris is engulfed, the Macrophage brings it back to the immune system and is placed in the lymphatic system (part of your circulatory system) for clearance. Most of the broken ink particles are cleared through the kidneys and are excreted during urination.

Each laser removal session needs to be spaced out 4-8 weeks apart so the Macrophages have time to transport the debris back to the lymphatic system for clearance. The Macrophages move very slowly hence why the time between sessions is important.

On average this process needs to reoccur for 6-9 sessions for complete removal of a tattoo. There are three layers of skin, with four sublayers and the ink is placed by the tattoo artist through all of those layers. So, with each tattoo removal session more and more of the deeper ink will be targeted and reduced in size for elimination.

Tattoo Removal - PiQo4 vs. Other competitor

Watch our video of the same tattoo, different pico laser devices.