What Is The Most Effective Tattoo Removal Method?

There are a few different options out there for removing your unwanted tattoos, ranging from the cringe-worthy to the clinical. The internet is full of at-home tattoo removal techniques, and tips to make your tattoos fade. And while some of these techniques may provide results, the honest truth is that not all of them are equally as effective.

Processes such as dermabrasion and salabrasion, remove tattoos by sanding down or removing the top layer of tattooed skin. This is somewhat effective in that it literally removes the tattoo along with the skin, but it also takes quite a few repeated sessions (more than necessary for effective laser tattoo removal) and often leaves a scar behind after the skin heals. Other potential at home tattoo removal options include tattoo removal creams and natural topical applications, which provide varied results, but are often more effective at fading rather than eliminating the tattoo altogether.

So, what is the most effective tattoo removal method?

If you want the most effective tattoo removal experience, we highly recommend going to a professional clinic that uses a tattoo removal laser for your tattoo removal needs. We have to mention that not all tattoo removal lasers are made equal, however. Older-style Q-Switch lasers function in nanoseconds, whereas picosecond lasers function at picosecond speeds and are faster and more effective, delivering pulses of light at a trillionth of a second. This difference in speed is what makes the picosecond laser the most effective tattoo removal method, by breaking up the pigment in the tattooed skin faster and into smaller particles that can be removed by the body more quickly.

At The UnTattoo Parlor, we use two different picosecond lasers, the Enlighten Cutera and a PicoSure laser, to eliminate all ink colors from your tattoo. This is the most comprehensive combination of lasers, tools and talent for tattoo removal in Oregon.

Is There Such A Thing As Pain Free Tattoo Removal?

There’s a lot of unnecessary fear surrounding laser tattoo removal. One of the biggest deterrents people hear before getting a new tattoo is how much it will hurt to get it removed if you ever decide you don’t like it anymore. While that fear is valid, it’s based on traditional tattoo removal methods that don’t take advantage of modern forms of pain reduction.

The UnTattoo Parlor is staffed with trained, licensed and registered nurses and a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. This allows us to provide nothing but the best and least painful tattoo removal treatment in Portland, OR. We offer lidocaine shots before the application of the tattoo removal laser, which numbs the skin and allows for a nearly pain free tattoo removal process. So, if that tattoo isn’t right for you anymore, don’t let the fear of pain be a deterrent from changing your ink.

How Do Lasers Remove Tattoos?

The most well-known and highly reccomended tattoo removal process is laser tattoo removal. But, how do lasers remove tattoos from your skin, exactly? Tattoo removal lasers work by injecting the skin with an intense band of light, focusing on a specific color band that effectively breaks up the pigment in the skin into tiny particles that can be processed and removed by the immune system. Which is why your tattoos will show the most fading over the weeks following a tattoo removal session.

The reason this is necessary can be found by looking deeper. Most tattoo inks are comprised of heavy metals and other particles that stick under the skin. These metals are what provide pigmentation for the tattoo, but they also provoke a deeper reaction from the body. Once this ink is deposited under your skin your immune system gets to work, viewing these ink particles as foreign objects and sending white blood cells to the rescue. These blood cells then engulf and take whatever tiny particles they can find to the liver, for processing. Most tattoo ink particles are much larger than the blood cells, which prevents them from removing the ink entirely and allows the pigmentation to remain under the skin. However, it’s this very feature that makes laser treatment necessary for tattoo removal.

So, how do lasers remove tattoos? Tattoo removal lasers, like the Picosecond and Cutera lasers used in our Portland tattoo removal shop, work to break up these larger particles into smaller ones that can be effectively processed by the immune system and cleared away. The frequency of light that the laser emits is very important. These lasers are very hot, and operate at speeds of a trillionth of a second, which is necessary for the process of breaking up the pigment particles, called photothermolysis. This process works by superheating the large pigment particles, causing them to expand due to thermal expansion, while operating fast enough to leave the other half of the ink particle cold. This difference in temperature causes the particle to literally rip apart, creating smaller pieces that the immune system can then clear away via the liver.

This process is why laser tattoo removal is the most effective method of tattoo removal, and why we recommend this method over any other methods of tattoo removal.

Is There Actually Such A Thing As “Easy Tattoo Removal”?

Tattoos are a form of permanent body modification, in which ink is inserted under the dermis using needles in order to change the pigment or color of the skin. We love tattoos (no really!), but the permanence of this process is what makes removing tattoos so notoriously difficult. In order to remove an unwanted tattoo the pigmented skin must either be removed, or the pigment must be broken up and then processed by the body with the help of special laser technology.

That makes the search for an easy tattoo removal process a bit tricky. But the good news is while it might sound intimidating, modern laser tattoo removal isn’t really all that complicated. At The UnTattoo Parlor, we use two cutting edge lasers, each targeting a specific range of light, that specialize in breaking up pigments in a range of colors. Because these lasers are designed for tattoo removal, they target only the pigmented skin and leave untattooed skin alone, providing more effective results without damage.

While there may not be such a thing as “easy tattoo removal”, the process of tattoo removal is pretty simple itself. Once you schedule your consultation, we will meet with you, evaluate the tattoo and provide a treatment plan. Most people need a few treatments and we usually recommend 1-3 treatments for lightening, and 3-6 for a complete removal. The process is pretty simple, and relatively painless. Our goal is to offer the best service possible while helping you to get back to that clean canvas for your next art.

5 Reasons You May Need To Seek Professional Tattoo Removal Services

If you are one of the 17% of people (according to statisticbrain.com) who have regrets after getting a tattoo, you might be ready to explore professional tattoo removal options.

While there are a few at-home tattoo removal options circulating the web, we highly recommend visiting a parlor for a professional tattoo removal consultation and session. You will not only have a better experience than other options for tattoo removal, but you’ll receive better results at a faster speed.

Here are our top 5 reasons why you should seek professional tattoo removal services:

1. Professional Tattoo Removal is Faster

Because of the way that tattoo pigments are processed by the body, pigment particles must be broken up into pieces small enough for the immune system to engulf and remove through the liver. Where tattoo removal creams and other topical applications might slowly fade the tattoo and surrounding skin, professional tattoo removal lasers get right to the source by breaking the particles up with nanosecond bursts of light. This makes the tattoo fade faster than any topical or cream treatment could ever do.

2. There’s a Reduced Chance of Scarring

Some other tattoo removal methods include dermabrasion, salabrasion and excision, all of which are painful and expensive procedures requiring a fair amount of healing time with a high chance of scarring. Whereas, professional tattoo removal lasers target only tattooed skin, breaking up pigments while leaving the skin around it alone.

3. Get the Safest Treatment From Medical Professionals

When you go to a professional tattoo removal shop, like The UnTattoo Parlor, you get the benefit of a medically trained staff. The process of removing a tattoo, even when using professional tattoo removal lasers, is taxing on the body so it’s important to be in the presence of medical professionals who can take your medical history and provide the best care for your skin before and after treatment.

4. Lasers are More Effective at Eliminating All Colors of Ink

Some pigments are more difficult to remove from the skin than others. Professional tattoo removal lasers run on specific bandwidths of light which target particular colors, and help to break up the green and blue pigments that are notoriously difficult. At The UnTattoo Parlor, we use two lasers specifically chosen to target the broadest range of ink colors.

5. You’ll Receive the Least Painful Treatment

Non-professional tattoo removal options like dermabrasion and excision require removal or partial destruction of the tattooed skin, which can be pretty painful and require a lot of healing time. When getting professional tattoo removal services, some people experience pain, but having a physician on staff allows us to offer local anesthetic to make your experience pain-free!

Laser Tattoo Removal and Melanoma

At The UnTattoo Parlor, we are frequently asked how the process of tattoo removal can either help or hurt screening for Melanoma.

What is Melanoma and how can we get it?

Melanoma is commonly thought of as a pigmented lesion of the skin that can result in disfiguring excisions, metastatic disease, and on occasion death. Many may not know that melanoma can also occur on mucosal surfaces such as the intestines and even in the eyes. Risk factors for melanoma include fair skin, a history of sun exposure (for example severe sunburns in childhood), a family history of melanoma, and rare genetic disorders such as xeroderma pigmentosum. Melanomas can also appear on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet (some may know that Bob Marley died of melanoma that originated on the sole of his foot).

A diagnosis of melanoma can only be made by obtaining tissue that can then be examined by a pathologist. The prognosis or expected long-term outcome of melanoma is directly related to the depth that the malignant melanoma invades the dermis. The deeper the invasion the more likely for metastasis and a poor outcome. As with any malignancy the earlier the diagnosis the better the prognosis.

If I have had or think I might have Melanoma, is it safe to undergo laser tattoo removal?

Individuals diagnosed with Melanoma in the past or think you may have Melanoma it is best to consult with a licensed dermatologist before undergoing laser tattoo removal. The laser used to treat tattoo pigment also has the potential to lighten pigmented lesions which can sometimes indicate the presence of Melanoma. If your doctor cannot see the Melanoma it can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages when the survival rate is highest. If you are at high risk for Melanoma many doctors will recommend that you hold off on getting tattooed. If you already have tattoos, the safest course of action is to keep your tattoos and get regular check-ups from a physician trained in melanoma screening. Dermoscopy and photo mapping are often used to screen and follow patients at risk for melanoma.

Melanoma self-screening Guide

A – Asymmetrical Shape
Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.

B – Border
Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.

C – Color
The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.

D – Diameter
Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).

If you exhibit any of the above signs consult a physician right away. See the links below for more information:

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/index

http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/are-there-skin-risks-associated-with-tattoos

http://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/melanoma/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/tattoos-moles-and-melanoma-201308056578

Debunking the Myth of Green Ink

Can Green Ink Be Removed?

One of the most commonly asked questions we hear is in regards to the myth of green ink. There seems to be a perception that green ink is the hardest, if not impossible ink to remove. All ink and all colors of ink can be treated and lightened with a laser but the catch is that the laser has to have a wavelength that corresponds to the color of ink being treated. For example, a 532 nm wavelength laser will blast away red, pink and yellow ink but it will not make a dent in black or green.  The same is true for a 1064nm wavelength that is a master at breaking up black pigment but does not treat colors.  A 755nm wavelength laser is the only wavelength that has been proven to effectively treat green ink.  Currently, there is no picosecond laser on the market that will treat all colors and pigments. When we purchased our Cutera Enlighten laser in March of last year we believed that this would be the first laser to be able to treat all pigments and colors. While the Enlighten laser does deliver on its promise to remove black, red, orange, yellow and pink pigment in about half the number of treatments of a standard Q-Switched laser, it falls short in its ability to effectively clear green ink. Likewise, the other picosecond laser on the market manufactured by Cynosure has been shown to be great at clearing out green and blue pigments but struggles to remove black ink. When it comes to removing your tattoo the laser wavelength being used must correspond to the colors in your tattoo. For example, black inks require a 1064 nm laser, green ink requires a 755 nm laser and red, orange, yellow and pink inks require a 532 nm laser. 

Tattoo Removal Before and After
Before + After First Treatment

We can now remove Blue and Green ink

The UnTattoo Parlor now offers treatments with our Cynosure Picosure laser to effectively remove green, blue and purple inks. This laser has been shown to be the most effective laser for removing cool pigments.

Erasing Hate

There are many reasons for removing unwanted ink.

The UnTattoo Parlor recently watched the documentary film Erasing Hate which tells the story of a man who had the courage to confront his past and undergo the process of removing racially motivated hate tattoos on his face and neck. For many laser tattoo removal is not only about getting rid of a design that no longer suits us. Removing a tattoo can mean letting go of an ideology that no longer defines who we are and the way we see the world. Free from these icons of the past which can carry shame and judgement, a clean slate allows us to write the story of who we are now. In the words of TS Eliot, “We are not the same travelers who have left the station or who will arrive at any terminus.” There is nothing more beautiful and heroic than the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to learn from where we have been and like the phoenix, to rise from the ashes of our past stronger and more resilient.