According to historical records and archaeological sites, humans have marked their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years, dating back to the Stone Age. These permanent designs – sometimes planned, sometimes elaborate, always personal – have served as amulets, state symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment.
How Many Americans Get Their Tattoos Removed?
Today, tattoos are less taboo in America. But this doesn’t mean no one is getting tattoos removed. Demand for laser tattoo removal increased by 32% last year. In fact, at least 11% of Americans have considered tattoo removal or have already had a tattoo removed (2017 Harris Poll).
How Are Tattoos Created?
Tattoos are created by depositing ink (pigment) in the dermis, your second layer of skin. Like the epidermis, your dermis never sheds, so the tattoo remains in place and is not lost.
Ink-laden tools with needles are used to puncture the skin and inject a small amount of ink, which is done many thousands of times in order to complete an image or text on your skin. As the needles penetrate the skin, ink is dragged down into the dermis and is left in place as the needle retracts.
Modern day tattoo artists can use up to 25 different tipped needles for their work. Those needles with fewer points tend to be used for outlining, while many-headed needles tend to be used for shading and coloring.
How Does Your Body Respond to Getting a Tattoo?
Some large ink particles are dispersed in the ‘gel-like matrix of the dermis,’ and others will be gobbled up by fibroblasts, a type of dermal cell that plays an important part in healing wounds.
Once injected, your immune system responds to the many thousands of tiny wounds that the tool has created. Macrophages rush to the site and attempt to remove the pigment. Some are successful and some are not, remaining trapped in the dermis with the ink.
Why Tattoos Fade Over Time
Other cells in your dermis, called fibroblasts, also absorb the ink at the injection site. These cells are not shed when the epidermis regenerates and will remain in the dermis until they die. Once they do die, the fibroblasts are absorbed (including the ink) into new fibroblasts which also helps tattoos last for a very long time.
As your immune system continuously perceives the tattoo’s ink as a foreign body, it will continue to attack it for the rest of the owner’s life (hence, why tattoos fade over time).
How Laser Tattoo Removal Works
This is how laser tattoo removal works too. Lasers penetrate deep into your skin and break up the ink particles into smaller bits. This helps macrophages engulf and remove them more easily. Different lasers are used to remove different colored pigments because color is related to absorption of light energy.
Pico Way Laser Treatments
Are you one of the many who have tattoo regrets? Schedule a consultation with us to learn about our Pico Way laser treatments. Pico Way is a high power laser with ultra short pulses that shatters tattoo ink, while leaving the outer layer of the skin intact.
Pico Way treats a wide range of tattoo colors across a broad range of skin types. Over a series of brief treatments, Pico Way can eliminate most tattoos. Call us to schedule your tattoo removal consultation. We are here to help you ‘wipe the slate clean!’ 916-624-4959