Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) tattoo removal Therapy

This is similar to a laser in that it directs a beam of light onto the skin which removes the top layer (epidermis). In this case it burns away the top layer of skin which contains your tattoo. The treated area then heals itself by producing new skin growth which also makes the tattoo less noticeable. Repeat treatments will cause the tattoo to fade away over time.

This type of treatment is less painful than laser tattoo removal and less harmful to the skin, but it can be more expensive as you are charged per pulse of light. So as you might imagine the more pulses of light you need, say in the case of a large tattoo, the more expensive it will be. If you have several large tattoos then it will prove quite costly!

What is the difference between IPL and a Q-switched laser?

To start with they both work by emitting a beam of light energy onto the skin. However the main difference is in the type of light they use.

Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) uses a broad spectrum light which means that it is versatile and can treat all manner of conditions apart from tattoo removal. This includes hair removal and thread veins. A Q-switched laser emits a narrower type of light which is able to target a specific part of the tattoo, for example a particular colour which reduces the risk of overheating the surrounding skin tissues.

The laser causes the pigments in the tattoo to split or crack which are then safely absorbed by the body. The aim with both of these is to focus upon the tattoo and reduce the risk of heating the surrounding areas of skin thus preventing damage and scarring. However, there is a small risk of this happening with either of these.

It does seem to be the case that IPL works better on treating large areas of the skin which may not be suitable for small tattoo removal. It emits larger pulses than a Q-switched laser which can result in skin damage and scarring. In this situation, laser tattoo removal may be a better option. However it may be fine with bigger tattoos especially those that cover a large part of the body, e.g. the back. You need to investigate both of these treatments and obtain unbiased advice about both. Do some background reading and speak to a reputable clinic.

If IPL is not for you then consider any of these alternatives: laser tattoo removal, dermabrasion tattoo removal, cover-ups, removal cream, tattoo erase and surgical removal.

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