Removing tattoos with laser
Tattoo removal with a laser is now “state of the art” and is used in aesthetic medicine everywhere. A plus point is the rapid development of laser technology and the many possibilities for removing certain color pigments. In favor of a laser is the gentle approach and in earlier years mainly a nanosecond laser (NSL) was used. The classic here is certainly the Nd:YAG laser.
In the meantime, however, treatment has gone one step further and has left the nanosecond range in favor of the picosecond spectrum. As a result, the light pulses are even shorter and faster, which makes treatment possible without pain.
What does Nd:YAG laser mean?
The abbreviation Nd:YAG laser seems complicated at first glance. A solid-state laser with “neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet” is used. Neodymium has the chemical formula Nd and is a rare earth metal. It is used to improve the luminosity of a laser. Yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG), on the other hand, was produced in the laboratory and is a crystalline chemical compound. By the way, laser is also an abbreviation for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” or the stimulated or induced emission of radiation and resulting amplification of light.
With a Nd:YAG laser, light pulses are emitted in short intervals and heat the affected skin area. This heat destroys the color pigments of a tattoo, which occurs in a wave spectrum of 1,064 Nm. The advantage of this frequency is that it penetrates even deeper layers of the skin and thus eliminates certain colors that are not reached as well with other lasers.
How suitable is the Nd:YAG laser for tattoo removal?
Those who choose a Nd:YAG laser are relying on an outstandingly gentle procedure. The lasers used are equipped with a Q-switch and ensure with this technology an enormously short impact on the skin. We are talking about a billionth of a second, thanks to which no skin damage occurs. Eight to twelve sessions are already sufficient to remove a tattoo without leaving any residue, which works especially well with black and red ink. Limitations occur with the Nd:YAG laser with the colors green and blue.
Which is more suitable: a picosecond laser or a nanosecond laser?
In keeping with its name, the picosecond laser operates in a range of one billionth of a second to one thousand billionth of a second, making it more powerful than a nanosecond laser. The reason lies in a plus of pulses, or a shorter cycle time, which can also lead to fewer visits for tattoo removal. A picosecond laser can also usually remove green and blue color fragments.
If we follow the findings from studies, working with the picosecond laser is also more painless and pleasant than with the nanosecond laser, and hypopigmentation also hardly ever occurs.
How does a Nd:YAG laser work in tattoo removal?
Whoever wants to have a tattoo or permanent make-up removed should definitely work in the correct wave range. This is also the key to correctly address the individual tattoo colors, because they react differently. 532 Nm is a perfect match for red, 1,064 Nm for dark colors, and green responds to the 755 Nm waveband.
Since the Nd:YAG laser normally operates at 1,064 Nm, it is suitable for dark colors. However, frequency doubling is also possible, resulting in 532 Nm. Furthermore, certain Nd:YAG lasers, such as the “QX Max” from Fotona, also work at 650 Nm and 585 Nm and are thus optimized for the removal of green and blue. In sum, there is hardly a color that cannot be removed via laser.
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