Over time, a tattoo can lose its appeal as you age and enter a different stage of your life. SkinDC offers the premier solution in the Washington, DC area: laser tattoo removal. We can remove tattoos of all colors efficiently and safely using the new advanced ultrashort pulsed picosecond laser. Research performed by SkinDC physicians spearheaded the FDA approval of the most powerful picosecond laser, also called PicoWay, for tattoo removal. The PicoWay laser safely delivers picosecond pulses to effectively treat all skin types. In addition, a wider range of tattoo ink colors (including challenging colors such as reds and yellows) can be successfully treated, thereby clearing multicolored tattoos in fewer treatment sessions. PicoWay is superior to older Q-switch laser technology because its ultrashort picosecond pulses resulting in shorter treatments with less risk for scarring or “ghosting” of the tattoo.
How does it work?
The PicoWay laser produces an extremely short and bright beam of light that fragments the tattoo pigment while leaving surrounding skin and tissue unharmed. The shorter the pulse, the more effective the laser; hence the ultrashort picosecond laser (trillionth of a second) is one of the most effective lasers that exists. The small fragmented pieces of tattoo ink are reabsorbed and removed from the skin.
What are the benefits of the picosecond laser?
Because it employs even shorter pulses (trillionth of a second], the picosecond laser achieves better clearance of tattoos. The shorter pulses more effectively fracture the ink particles without damaging the surrounding skin resulting in quicker, better tattoo clearance without the adverse effects.
What tattoos can be treated?
(1) Professional Tattoo: These tattoos are more complex depositions of large amounts of pigment often with multiple colors. These are the most challenging tattoos to treat and require multiple treatments. PicoWay is designed for these tattoos because its 3 wavelengths allow the treatment of all tattoo colors.
(2) Amateur Tattoo: Self-applied tattoos and medicinal tattoos (from radiation markings) typically fall in this category. The scant amounts of black ink or pigment in these tattoos can typically be removed in a few laser sessions.
(3) Cosmetic Tattoo These professionally applied tattoos consist of red, black, or brown pigments and are designed to mimic lip, eye or brow liner. Cosmetic tattoos may contain a specific tattoo ink that can turn dark upon laser impact. To gauge this, a single small test pulse may be applied to the tattoo to determine the response before full treatment.
(4) Traumatic Tattoo These tattoos are the result of an accident that forcibly introduces foreign debris into the skin. Depending on the size and distribution of the tattoo particles, it can take just a few laser treatments to clear the traumatic tattoo.
What does the procedure entail?
The laser procedure can be uncomfortable. Many patients have compared it to a rubber band snapping against the skin. To make the treatment more comfortable, the area to be treated may be numbed with topical or local anesthesia and the skin may be cooled with a very cold stream of forced frigid air. Removing a tattoo usually requires multiple sessions ranging from 15-45 minutes depending on the tattoo size.
What is required after the procedure?
You will receive detailed instructions on proper care and precautions. A crust or blister may form over the treated area and typically resolves within a week. Use mild soap to wash the area, gently patting it dry. We recommend applying an ointment such as Aquaphor® Healing Ointment twice a day until the area has fully healed. You may use ice and acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to ease any discomfort.
How long will the results last?
The benefits are permanent. Once removed, the tattoo will not return.