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Arizona is known for its deserts and interesting geologic formations, so locals should feel right at home with the language commonly used to describe laser tattoo removal. Tucson-based Ironwood Dermatology offers the PicoSure® laser from Cynosure for treating unwanted tattoos, which are often described as being made up of “rocks” of ink in the skin.
Since ink is a liquid, many people may picture it as a black or otherwise colored fluid that flows into the skin and sits there, or perhaps dries, to form the image seen in a tattoo. It is actually more accurate to think of the pigment as tightly packed chunks of material. If someone no longer wanted their tattoo, these bigger chunks could be broken down into smaller pebbles, rather like a worker wielding a pickaxe to pulverize a rock.
This is the premise behind nanosecond lasers, which use light energy to attack the ink and break it apart. Unfortunately, the process generated a significant amount of heat, making the process uncomfortable for patients. There is also only so much the body can do with “pebbles” of ink. Though they are smaller than the original “rocks,” they can still leave visible evidence of a tattoo, which may look faded, but not cleared up.
The picosecond laser—known as PicoSure®—improves on both of those drawbacks. First, the increased speed of the laser means sessions can be shorter and not generate as much heat during a full session. Second, instead of achieving “pebbles” as an end result, the breakdown creates something more akin to “sand.” These significantly smaller particles of ink are far easier for the body to process and remove, making the tattoo that much harder to see.
Arizonans know: Sand can be a beautiful thing, whether it’s creating a beautiful landscape or referring to the fading of an unwanted tattoo of any color.