If you could travel back in time just half a century, you’d discover a strange dimension where lasers were science-fiction and tattoos were actually permanent.

As Dr. Matt Lodder, Ph.D., told The Dermatology Times, he does “not doubt that removing permanent tattoo marks has been attempted, by abrasion and excision, for millennia.” Equal parts ineffective and painful, these methods have since been eradicated from the industry, along with other various scrubbing and acid-related techniques – yikes!

We are fortunate now to find ourselves in an age where “permanent” is an abstract concept and skin specialists no longer use the phrase “pass the trichloroacetic acid, please.” However, the practice of using lasers for procedures is relatively novel. It wasn’t until the 1990s that lasers were used commercially for tattoo removal.

In order for scientists to develop this technology, they first had to understand the mechanism of a tattoo’s permanence. Although the immune system works to police the body for foreign invaders, these humble and often beautiful ink particles prevail. The magic of these forever-marks is that they bypass our body’s normal, evolutionary precautions; like a bed frame stuck in a doorway, tattoo particles are simply too big to be removed.

The solution? Break it down. At Tat Erase, our laser used on tattoos is a successful application of selective photoacoustic and photothermolytic energy: a specialized technique that uses a specific wavelength to destroy the parts you want gone (tattoo) and leave the parts you want to keep (skin). The laser delivers energy ultra fast then quickly collapses to create a shockwave that causes the ink to break up into tiny particles that the immune system can gobble up like pac-man. Pretty cool, right?

Every color of ink requires its own wavelength to be best broken down. Lighter colors, reds, and yellows are typically grouped together on one side of the spectrum, while darker blues, greens, and browns are on the other. This causes some discrepancies in removal success and is discussed at the time of your consultation.

Overall, with our customized, comfort-based protocols and our PicoWay laser, we are able to offer three wavelengths to treat almost all tattoo colors and the widest array of skin types, in order to offer better results in fewer treatments with minimal risk and discomfort.

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