Although we see sunlight (or white light) as uniform or homogeneous in colour, it is actually composed of a broad range of radiation wavelengths in the ultraviolet, visible and infrared portions of the spectrum. The component colours of the visible portion can be separated by passing sunlight through a prism, which acts to bend the light in differing degrees according to wavelength.
Wavelength is defined as the distance between adjacent peaks (or troughs). The electromagnetic spectrum covers wavelengths from billions of kilometres down to a fraction of the size of an atom.
Visible wavelengths are measured in nanometres (nm). A nanometre is a billionth of a metre and the visible spectrum covers a range from approximately 400 to 800 nm. The longest visible wavelength is red and the shortest is violet.
A pigment is a molecule that absorbs visible light of a certain colour. Chlorophyll, the pigment found in plants that allows photosynthesis to occur, appears green because it strongly absorbs blue and red light. When illuminated with white light (sunlight) all but green light is absorbed. The wavelengths that correspond to green are reflected or transmitted through the leaf and so the leaf appears green.
Tattoo ink pigments work in exactly the same way.
When white light passes through or is reflected by a coloured substance, a characteristic portion of the mixed wavelengths is absorbed. The remaining light will then assume the complementary colour to the wavelength(s) absorbed.
Laser tattoo removal works by shattering the tattoo ink particles trapped in the dermis (the deeper layers of the skin). The laser sends a pulse of incredible energy into the skin and the tattoo ink pigment will absorb the energy and shatter into tiny pieces. The skin is not heated, this not a photo-thermal effect, it is a photo-mechanical process. The energy levels are so high that the laser creates a photo-acoustic effect (a kind of shock wave) which shatters the pigment. The shattered tattoo ink particles are now small enough that they can then be expelled through the body’s normal phagocytosis process via the lymphatic system.
The process of phagoctyosis takes a few weeks, so the fading effect of the treatment will continue in the weeks following treatment and it is advisable not to have a second treatment for at least six weeks to allow this process to work.
The laser we use is the Quanta Q-PLUS C, a medical grade laser (in use by the NHS) which incorporates both a high powered active Q-switched Nd:YAG Laser System operating at 1064/532nm and a Q-Switched Ruby Laser System operating at 694nm.
The Q-Switched output at 1064nm is ideal for tattoos with dark blue and black pigments. The Q-Switched output at 532nm is effective for the treatment of red and orange tattoo pigments and the Q-Switched output at 694nm is effective for the treatment of blue and green pigments. This is the only laser on the market that can deliver pulses at the appropriate wavelengths to shatter green and red pigments without the use of dye convertors.
An exclusive characteristic of the Q-Plus Series is its utilisation of Optibeam® technology handpieces. The square spot profile allows safer and more effective treatments due to the homogeneous energy distribution over the treated area. This results in less skin trauma and decreased incidence of side effects. Most lasers have a circular spot profile which means it is impossible to cover the whole area without overlapping onto the previously treated areas. The square spot profile also means easier and more precise coverage of the entire treatment area is possible without overlapping onto the areas of tattoo that you don’t want removing.
To learn more about Quanta lasers visit their website here
If you want to buy your own Quanta laser visit Quanta System's UK main stockist here