Humans have been obsessed with their ink for as long as history has been around-- the oldest human specimen known to us actually has 61 tattoos! Pretty impressive, considering he died about 5,000 years ago… that being said, it’s probably safe to assume tattoo regret has been around for a similarly long time, with not much course for remedy. 


Even Dr. Seuss’s story, the Sneetches, is as much about tattoos and tattoo removal as it is discrimination. If you haven’t read it, let me ‘enlighten’ you (sorry). Essentially, Yellow bodied Sneetches with green stars on their tummies were the elite, so plain bellied Sneetches started tattooing themselves with a star. 

That’s when the original Sneetches decided to ‘Star-off,’ but removing the stars cost infinitely more. The Sneetches ended up paying whatever the price to be different was, happily.  


So let's talk about tattoo removal-- as tattoo regret and removal is an industry projected to group by about 25 billion dollars by 2025. What are the steps a person takes when they realize the decision they made after a few too many drinks was not the best. 


Unfortunately not all tattoo parlors are honest enough to use only FDA compliant ingredients, or perhaps it was long enough ago that glycerin and charred animal bones hadn’t been outlawed.


That being said, thousands of people look into tattoo removal lasers on a daily basis, and need be informed on how the process works and what their best options for tattoo removal are.In fact, tattoo removal is becoming an important part of every aesthetic practice. 


With the amount of people experiencing tattoo regret only growing, the tattoo removal market is projected to grow by thousands of people over the next 10 years. 

Best Tattoo Removal Lasers 2021: The Technology

Very much like the ‘Star off machine,’ in Dr. Seuss’s book, tattoo removal costs much more than tattoo application. Tattoo removal is the process in which we use lasers to heat and break up ink particles within the skin. 


When lasers are emitted, they usually operate on some wavelength that corresponds to the type of light being applied. Another slightly less important metric called Amplitude is responsible for the amount of energy, or heat, being emitted. 


Both of these metrics give us our laser tattoo removal, because depending on the combination of the two, different ink types can be targeted. However, until more recent advances in technology, wavelength was not able to be adjusted, forcing them into a specific type of removal. 


In comes the new generation of laser machines, namely, the Enlighten by Cutera. These machines operate on a ‘picosecond’ wavelength, which is faster, more powerful, safer, more effective and less risky than older laser systems.

The enlighten system, an industry leading platform for tattoo removal and skin retexturizing, is the first system to feature picosecond technology and nanosecond technology. 


This merger of old and new technology separates it from other industry staples like the PicoSure and PicoWay. Although picosecond technology is the newest, it is not always the most effective method for the job. Combining old and new technology lets the Enlighten treat a range of pigment and ink types. 


How Do They Work

A picture of a tattoo of the word 'Faithful' being removed with the enlighten 3 laser in 5 treatments

“The Enlighten system offers the capability to go from 750 picoseconds to 2000 picoseconds, or 2 nanoseconds simply by hitting a button on the touchscreen. That allows additional versatility beyond the range of spot sizes, or dual wavelengths. 


Now you also have a dual pulse duration system. I think the picosecond philosophy, the picosecond idea, offers some potential big advantages in laser tattoo reduction.” -E. Victor Ross, M.D.


Enlighten 3, PicoSure, PicoWay, and other picosecond technology are at the forefront of the removal market, considering they take advantage of the only recent major breakthrough in laser tattoo removal in the last 20 years. 


The process revolves around the application of heat to a tattoo. Ideally, heat is used to separate ink into small particles that can be absorbed and expunged by the body. 


However, different tattoo inks require different types and amounts of heat to remove. Luckily, the Enlighten system adapts to these different variables automatically. It also uses acoustic technology to make the ink vibrate and lower the amount of total heat required to completely remove the tattoo.


Through the course of treatments, the laser will dissolve the ink into tiny particles that are absorbed by your body. Because the Enlighten laser is faster and more effective than traditional methods, your tattoo is guaranteed could be removed in fewer sessions.


Other than the Enlighten Laser, there aren’t other tattoo removal technologies that allow physicians and patients to choose pulse speed based on individual factors. Allowing all skin types to benefit from the Enlighten laser.


All picosecond lasers are  a big step above the power of older nanosecond lasers for tattoo removal. However, many systems such as PicoSure and PicoWay laser tattoo removal do not have the same versatility and effectiveness of Enlighten.

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