Description of the skin structure, where ink sits & laser interactions with skin
The Skin Structure
The epidermis also called the outer layer, is the thinnest layer, but it’s responsible for protecting you from the harsh environment, with five layers of its own!
The epidermis also hosts different types of cells: keratinocytes, melanocytes and Langerhans cells. Keratinocytes produce the protein known as keratin, the main component of the epidermis. Melanocytes produce your skin pigment, known as MELANIN. Langerhans cells prevent things from getting into your skin!
The dermis also called the middle layer, is the layer responsible for wrinkles. It is also WHERE THE INK IN YOUR TATTOO SITS. The dermis is a complex combination of blood vessels, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Here, you’ll find collagen and elastin, two proteins necessary for skin health because they offer support and elasticity. Fibroblasts are the cells you’ll find in this layer, because they synthesize collagen and elastin. This layer also contains PAIN AND TOUCH RECEPTORS.
The hypodermis is the innermost and thickest layer of the skin, also called the fatty layer. Reduction of tissue in this layer is what contributes to sagging skin. This layer is also known as the subcutis. It hosts sweat glands, fat and collagen cells, and is responsible for CONSERVING your body’s heat and PROTECTING your vital inner organs.
The wavelengths of the most common medical lasers & aesthetic lasers, inc No Regrets lasers, occur in non-ionizing infrared part of the spectrum. Absorption converts light energy into THERMAL and/or MECHANICAL ENERGY.
Types of laser-tissue interactions
Lasers relying on photo mechanical effects use shorter pulses of power and thermal expansion to create acoustic waves. These waves then break up the target material into smaller particles, such as TATTOO REMOVAL.
Lasers that produce a photo thermal effect use prolonged energy exposure to facilitate an increase in chromophore temperature, which in turn leads to cellular vaporization. This type of laser-tissue interaction is used in HAIR REMOVAL & SURGERY.
Lasers using photo chemical effects do not destroy or break up tissue. Light is absorbed into the chromophores and are used for PAIN RELIEF and INFLAMMATION REDUCTION.
Once a laser beam is produced it is aimed at tissue to perform a specific task. As the energy reaches the biological interface one of four interactions will occur; scattering, absorption, reflection or transmission.
Once the laser energy enters the target tissue it will scatter in various directions. It is useful in certain bio stimulative treatments such as SKIN REJUVENATION.
Absorption is the most important interaction. Each wavelength has specific chromophores that absorb their energy. This absorbed energy is converted into thermal and/or mechanical energy. Near infrared lasers like Nd:YAG are mostly absorbed by pigments such as HAEMAGLOBIN, MELANIN & TATTOO INKS.
The laser beam bounces off the surface with no penetration or interaction at all. As with SOME LIGHT COLOURED INKS SUCH AS WHITE, YELLOW AND PALE GREEN.
The laser energy can pass through superficial tissues to interact with deeper areas. RETINAL SURGERY is an example; the laser passes through the lens to treat the retina.
Possible Side Effects of Tattoo Removal
See FAQs for further information.
The risk of infection is very low, especially if you follow the aftercare instructions, but it can occur. Keep the area clean and avoid touching it.
The laser pulses heat up the ink particles which, in turn, can break tiny blood vessels around the tattoo. This causes superficial blisters that fill with water and ink. These blisters are only an expansion of the very outermost layer of skin and will not lead to scarring. While the blisters can look intimidating and be tender to touch, do not puncture them. It usually takes between 1-7 days for the blisters to heal completely.
Another sign that treatment is working, scabs often collect fragmented ink particles and usually appear 8-72 hours after treatment. When the scab falls off, a layer of ink can come away with it. Picking at scabs can increase the risk of infection and scarring, so however tempting it might be, DON’T PICK SCABS!
Hyper and Hypopigmentation
Hypopigmentation presents as small white spots or a white halo around the treated area. Hypopigmentation is usually transient and passes naturally. Treatment will usually be suspended until the hypopigmentation recedes. People with darker skin risk hyperpigmentation which presents as a darkening of the skin around the tattoo. The use of 532 wavelength for colour tattoos and darker skin tones have a higher risk of both hypo and hyperpigmentation. Both may be avoided by following aftercare instructions, especially with regard to sun exposure.
In general, the first couple of sessions sees more side effects than subsequent treatments. Once the amount of ink in the tattoo has dissipated, the associated immune response lessens.