Tattoo Removal

History of Tattoo Removal

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Published: 05.18.2015
Updated: 02.05.2024

History of Tattoo Removal Techniques

The way we think about tattoo removal these days is drastically different from some of the earlier methods, it’s only in the last ten years that laser treatments have really been refined. Luckily for you, we have Removery Clinical and Safety manager, Chelsea Labrecque, CLS/MLS, to explain a little bit about the history of tattoo removal. Once you hear about some of the original methods, you’ll be thankful for all of the advancements.

Tattooing dates back over five thousand years and has been used in various cultures for different reasons: Greeks and Romans used them to mark slaves and criminals while some African cultures believe in scarification and used it to indicate social rank, political status, or religious authority.

When it comes to tattoo removal back in the day, the rudimentary methods sound incredibly painful at best. Using abrasive substances to scrape down the top layers of skin and then removing the pigment, inflating a balloon underneath the skin to stretch it and then cutting the tattoo out then graphing it with the extra skin, or they would even cryogenically freeze the tattoo and then using microdermabrasion to remove the tattoo.

It wasn’t until 1967 that Dr. Leon Goldman, M.D. used a 694 Ruby laser and an ND: YAG laser to remove a tattoo for the first time. Then in the 1980’s those same specialists began using CO2 lasers to remove tattoos, but that technology was still in its infancy and resulted scaring permanent pigmentation issues. Plus, it was extremely painful and required general anesthesia.

The early 90’s brought about safer laser procedures with minimal side effects, thanks to Dr. Rox Anderson M.D. and John A. Parrish, M.D., because of the development of short-pulsed width lasers and the theory of selective photothermolysis (selecting tissue and using a specific wavelength of light to target a specific area or chromosphere).

In the last ten years, laser aesthetic treatments have really become refined by the introduction of new protocols, training, and technology. At Removery, they have been working with their proprietary “T2 Method” that was designed specifically to make the new Cynosure PicoWay® more effective at removing the full color spectrum of stubborn ink.

Dr Eric Korsh Dr. Eric Korsh Spine & Orthopedic Surgeon

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