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Introduction to Obsolete methods of tattoo removal


Tattooing has been a part of human culture since ages.

The technologies used to remove tattoos in the beginning were with destructive methods which lead to severe scaring & pigmentation. The discovery of selective photo thermolysis,ie,.the ability to selectively remove target structures without disturbing the surrounding skin, was possible with lasers.


Obsolete methods of tattoo removal(non laser) included:

  • Caustic chemicals like phenols, sulphuric acids
  • Sal abrasion (abrasion with salts)
  • Dermabrasion (use of wire brush frozen with topical cryogen)
  • Electrocoagulation/ Cryo surgery
  • Surgical

These modalities are not reccommeded for modern tattoo removal as all lead to definite scarring & pigmentation.


Q-Switching Lasers

It is a technique which works on the principle of selective photothermolysis applied to the pigmented lesions to achieve desired clinical results without much damage to the surrounding area.

Q-switching technology uses short & high energy pulses delivered at nano seconds.


Present-day tattoo needles inject ink granules into the superficial to mid-dermis. This ink placement hence requires deep penetrating lasers to achieve tattoo removal.

Also the tattoo pigments come in a variety of colors, hence multiple wavelengths of light may be required to remove a single tattoo.


Shorter wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation scatter more than longer wavelengths.


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