Tattoos are formed when ink is injected deep into the skin, where it remains in place. The particles contained within the ink are too large for the body to remove. As time goes by a tattoo may change slightly, as colours fade and edges bleed, but it is permanently trapped in the skin.

Laser tattoo removal uses laser technology to target large ink particles. When the laser is applied to the tattooed skin, it penetrates the superficial layers and breaks up the ink particles into minuscule fragments. These fragments are then carried away by the body’s scavenger cells, causing the tattoo to fade.

This type of treatment is most effective on black tattoos; many professional tattoos nowadays are multi-coloured, and they can be more difficult to resolve completely. Different coloured pigments can require different amounts of treatment, with green ink being the least responsive.

Tattoos need to be individually assessed in order to determine the treatment necessary to remove them. Some tattoos may fade after as little as six treatments, while others may require considerably more. It is isn’t known why certain colours respond differently.