The Science Behind Laser Tattoo Removal Technology

Science behind tattoo removalThe methods for tattoo removal available over the last few decades have been pretty drastic and produced variable results. Surgery, dermabrasion and freeze-burning the skin often left behind scarring that was worse than the tattoo itself. This article looks at advances in tattoo removal, and the advantages of the new generation PicoWay Laser system over other laser tattoo removal systems.



Before we explore advances in tattoo removal, lets look at how tattoos work and why they are permanent. A tattoo is made by injecting tattoo ink through the outer layer of the skin and into the second, deeper layer, called the dermis. The tattoo ink is made up of the coloured pigment suspended in a carrier solution.

Injecting ink into the dermis creates a wound that the body thinks needs repairing. Macrophages, specialised cells that are part of the body’s defence against infection, flock to the injection site and ingest the ink. Most of the macrophages leave the injection site, but many stay behind. Some of the ink particles float free in the gel-like matrix of the dermis, and still more ink is absorbed by other cells that live in the dermis. The ink that remains in the cells of the dermis and in the dermal matrix is visible on the skin’s surface.



Lasers selectively destroy the pigment without harming the surrounding skin, using a combination of light, heat and sound energy. Lasers send high intensity, but extremely short (measured in nanoseconds, a billionth of a second) pulses of light into the skin. The pigment is made from substances that attract and absorb the light energy, creating a chemical reaction that converts light to heat energy. The heat makes the pigment expand, producing a sound wave that finally shatters the pigment into small fragments. The heat attracts new macrophages into the skin to ingest the pigment fragments and take them away to be removed by the body’s natural detoxification processes.



The PicoWay laser is a new generation laser with a much shorter energy pulse (measured in picoseconds, a trillionth of a second). The PicoWay laser is 4.5 times more powerful than traditional lasers, and creates a higher energy sound wave to shatter the pigment into smaller fragments that are easier for the macrophages to ingest and remove. The PicoWay laser is safer and less painful than traditional lasers, with less chance of burning the skin because the energy is better targeted to the pigment. The end results is that tattoo removal with the PicoWay is safer, quicker and costs less than traditional laser tattoo removal in Sydney.