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Tattoo Removal


The use of lasers to remove tattoos began in the early ’90s with the first report of successful tattoo removal using Q-Switched Ruby lasers. Ruby lasers are still quite useful for tattoo removal however, they must be used carefully in dark skin type individuals since coincident melanin absorption at 694nm can be associated with prolonged but most often temporary loss of pigmentation treatment areas.

In 1991 the Q-Switched Neodymium-YAG laser was introduced for tattoo removal. Theoretically, this laser with a longer wavelength (1064nm) would allow deeper penetration and at the same time exhibit less melanin absorption. Early studies using this laser showed that it was very effective in removing dark blue-black ink seen in amateur and professional tattoos and especially useful in removing dark ink from cosmetic eyeliner tattoos. The addition of a frequency doubling crystal to this laser, provided laser output at 532nm or green light, which also aided the removal of tattoos containing red and orange ink.

At the present time, the Q-Switch YAG laser is the workhorse of tattoo removal. Unfortunately, certain ink colors, most often, green do not respond to this laser necessitating the use of Ruby or Alexandrite lasers for complete removal. In 1992, a Q-Switched Alexandrite laser was introduced operating at a wavelength of 755nm. The Alexandrite crystal emits energy that is longer than the Ruby at 694nm and significantly shorter than the ND-YAG laser at 1064nm. Excellent results have been obtained in the treatment of blue-black and green tattoos using this laser.

Other uses for tattoo lasers are the removal of traumatic tattooing resulting from the mechanical penetration of foreign particles into the body. These tattoos are most likely associated with falls or “road rash” and can be easily eliminated by treatment using tattoo removal lasers. In addition, unwanted or misplaced cosmetic tattoos such as eyeliner and lip liner tattoos can be removed by means of Q-Switched lasers.


In summary, lasers available at the Artful Awakenings provide an excellent means of tattoo removal with little or no scarring. These lasers offer significant advantages over previous methods for tattoo removals and are presently the treatment of choice and standard of care for tattoo removal.

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