In the tattoo removal industry 99% of the time you get what you pay for. This is why it is important to never let price of treatment or device be the main deciding factor on were to have your tattoo removed or what type of laser you choose to treat the public with. These days you can find thousands of low cost, low-end, off market, non-FDA approved devices on sites like eBay and Alma. These devices are often very intriguing, because it allows a person to start a business with very little overhead. If the lasing device only cost you 5-20k, and industry statistics say that one can make between100-600k+ a year doing tattoo removal, then it might be too good to be true. The problem with this game plan is that these type of devices are built with cheap, inexpensive, knock-off parts and no matter what is told to you will not have the appropriate, high quality components or power that is needed to get deep enough into the dermis to remove a "professionally" applied tattoo, with out causing scaring or pigmentation issues. What makes it worse is that, the probability of receiving an adverse reactions with these type of devices are increased by a 100% when the client is a Fitz Skin Type 4-6 (darker skin). This happens because the components being used in these type of devices will only allow the fluence/energy to penetrate or be attracted down into the upper/superficial layers of the dermis where the clients melancytes (a mature melanin-forming cell, that gives skin its pigmentation) are located. Since these type of lasers limit the the technician from "properly" adjusting the depth of the beam, and continuously effect the same layer of skin over and over again; which results in pigmentation problems, textual changes, and skin fatigue on any skin type (light or dark).
So in-example when the client is 5-6 treatments into the process and both the technician and patient become frustrated with the lack of results, the operator will often be left with two difficult options. Tell the client "I am sorry, but it appears the ink is too deep for my device to reach, because it doesn't have the power or spot size (depth) versatility needed too completely remove your tattoo safely" or they can choose to increase the fluence/energy...
Since the industry is currently in a booming phase and a lot of new technicians are joining the profession these type of things happen all to often; and as seasoned technicians we become responsible for fixing the mistakes of others in-order to conserve the integrity of our work. So with that being said we are designing and now teaching multiple pre/post treatment techniques/protocols that are helping technicians return injured skin back to its former integrity, texture, and color. By using proper high quality lasers (Quanta, Cynosure,Etc.), and receiving and practicing a proper laser education/protocol we can improve the end-result and eliminate these type of injuries that plague our profession. We should all assume the role of "responsible" technicians and make it our obligation and duty to provide the safest, honest, and most informed laser experience possible. Doing this will only lead to a stronger industry and help to finally eliminate the negative stigmas of the past; while also allowing us to display the progress in protocol and technology that clients and technicians currently have access to!
Quality Laser + Educated Technician = Success!
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog, I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any other questions or would like to discuss lasers or training options in more detail, please do not hesitate to call or email me anytime. I am always available!
Lorenzo Kunze, II CLS/MLS
Owner & Lead Instructor
International Laser Academy