Breaking Down Laser Tattoo Removal & Ink Colors
Laser tattoo removal science is well established. Lasers are the safest and most effective method of removing a tattoo. Here is how it works. Laser light targets the tattoo ink in the skin’s dermis layer. When the laser is fired at the tattoo, ink particles absorb the light energy emitted by the laser and shatter into tiny fragments. Your body’s immune system then eliminates the fragments.
You can click this link to learn more on the tattoo removal process.
All lasers operate at different wavelengths. Different lasers emit different light wavelengths in order to target specific ink colors. Depending on the wavelength of the laser being used and the ink color targeted, the ink will either absorb or reflect the laser’s light energy.
The key to removing any pigment color is the ability for the ink to absorb the lasers light energy. If the ink cannot absorb the laser light, the ink won’t shatter. If the ink does not shatter the tattoo will not be removed.
Multiple Tattoo Ink Colors Require Multiple Lasers.
Think of a drawing done in colored pencil that has an image made up of red, blue and green. Instead of being able to use a single eraser to remove the whole thing, you would have to use three different erasers – one that targeted red, one that targeted blue and one that focused on green.
We recommend using a Q-Switched laser over a picosure laser. They’re safer and more effective.
The most common lasers wavelengths fused for removing tattoos are:
Q-Switched Nd:YAG Laser 1064 nm
The 1064 nm wavelength is near infrared. The beam from this laser is invisible to the human eye. The 1064 nm wavelength absorbs dark ink exceptionally well.
Colors Targeted: Black, Dark Browns, Dark Blues, Dark Purples
Q-Switched Nd:YAG Laser 532 nm
The 532 nm wavelength is visible green light. This laser is highly effective on red ink and other warm-toned colors.
Colors Targeted: Red, Orange,Violet, Darker Yellows, Brown.
Q-Switched Ruby Laser 694 nm
The 694 nm wavelength is barely visible red light. The Ruby laser effectively removes brighter shades of blue, green and purple as well as neon colored inks.
Colors Targeted: Blue, Green, Purple, Teal, Turquoise, Lime green.
Q-Switched Alexandrite Lasers 755 nm
The 755 nm wavelength like the 694 nm is also barely visible red light. The 755 nm also targets blue and green, but with less power than the 694 nm wavelength.
Colors Targeted: Black, Green, Blue.
Which Color Tattoo Ink Is The Most Difficult To Remove?
Light works the way it does because of certain inarguable scientific principles. Depending on their color, objects either absorb or reflect different wavelengths of light. A black car absorbs ultra violet light from the sun, while a white car reflects the same wavelength of light. This is why the black car will get hotter in the sun. Tattoo ink is no exception.
Certain colors are harder to remove than others. It’s important to note that just because some colors are harder to remove doesn’t mean they’re impossible to remove.
- Black ink absorbs all wavelengths of light and converts it into heat. This makes black ink unique in that any wavelength can be effective. This also why black ink is the easiest tattoo ink to remove.
- Like Black ink, Dark Blues, Dark Browns and Purple ink absorb 1064 nm very efficiently. Because of the high absorption of 1064 nm in dark colors, these colors are fairly easy to remove.
- Red, Orange, Violet and Brown ink are absorbs green light. This makes the 532 nm wavelength ideal for removal of red ink. Conversely, the 755 nm and 694 nm wavelengths’ red light reflects red ink and will not be effective to remove it.
- Green and Light blue ink are absorbs red light. Both the 694 nm and the 755 nm wavelengths effectively target green and light blues. No other wavelength has proven success removing green.
- Yellow ink can be challenging depending on its hue. Darker Yellows can respond well to the 532 nm wavelength. However, the lighter the yellow the more challenging it can be to remove.
- White ink reflects all light; there is no known laser wavelength that can absorb white ink. This makes removal of white ink almost impossible.
Careful consideration of the clinic you choose to remove your tattoo will lead to a smoother, less frustrating experience in the long run. The single most important tattoo removal success factor is ensuring that your clinic has the right laser to efficiently remove the ink colors in your tattoo.