Red tattoo ink can be one of the trickier inks to deal with when it comes to tattoo removal. But if you do have red ink in your tattoo, you should not be discouraged, as we have still seen great results with our laser tattoo removal methods at Schweiger Dermatology. While the most common tattoo pigment used today is still black, tattoo ink colors have come a long way in the last 20 years ago when most inks were either blue, black, or green. Modern day tattoos use pretty much every color of the rainbow to create intricate body art designs.
The reason red tattoo ink poses a problem in tattoo removal is that it only absorbs green light, making it difficult to use any other wavelength. Red tattoo ink is much more difficult to remove than black tattoo ink, which absorbs every wavelength of light. If you need evidence, just think of the sun beating down on the scorching black pavement in the summer. The pavement is extremely hot, as opposed to a white surface or a patch of grass. The black becomes so hot due to its ability to absorb all of the visible and infrared wavelengths from the sun. The laser light is not too different than the sunlight in this way and is very attracted to darker tattoo inks.
We proudly offer the Q-switched 532 nm laser for tattoo removal that uses green light, which is highly absorbed by red tattoo ink. In order for proper tattoo removal to take place, tattoo-removing lasers must be absorbed by the tattoo granules. Because the tattoo pigments used by modern tattoo artists come in a wide array of colors, multiple wavelengths of light might be required to remove a single tattoo. In addition to variations in color, tattoos may become resistant to certain wavelengths of light the same way a bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics. That means multiple wavelengths of light may need to be used in order to enjoy the most success with your tattoo removal, this goes for even the simplest of colors to treat, such as black.
The Q-switched—or quality-switched—lasers search for contrasts between tattoo ink and skin tone. When it detects a contrast, its beam of light pulses down on the skin intensely to break the ink up in tiny particles, which then get absorbed by your body. Laser tattoo removal is now the gold standard for saying goodbye to your regrettable ink, but many years ago this was not the case. The history of people decorating their bodies with tattoos dates back to the earliest part of modern civilization. While tattoo designs have evolved over time, so have the methods at removing tattoos. Long before laser tattoo removal existed, people were using various forms of abrasion to try and draw out the ink particles through open wounds. Other painful methods of tattoo removal used in the past include using extreme heat or cold to destroy the top layers of skin as well as surgical procedures. Be thankful that laser tattoo removal is available now!