How Does Tattoo Removal Actually Work?

Whether you got your tattoo on the spur of the moment or planned ahead, it’s common to regret the decision. But the days of living with those unwanted tattoos are a thing of the past. At Serenity Medical Spa in Pennington, New Jersey, Dr. Sharon Gertzman performs tattoo removal with PicoSure®, a state-of-the-art laser system. 

It may seem too good to be true, but this advanced technology really works.

What makes tattoos permanent

When you get a tattoo, your artist puts the pigments underneath the topmost layer of your skin. Tattoo inks come from a variety of substances that make them permanent. Some even include heavy metals, like copper, lead, and manganese. Because of the location of the ink and the pigments that are used, it can be very difficult to remove them without leaving scarring or skin discoloration behind.

Even though tattoos are intended to be permanent, it’s also common for them to start fading over time. That’s because your immune system doesn’t recognize the substances in the tattoo ink. 

Your white blood cells quickly go on the defensive and start trying to break the foreign pigments down. This is a very slow process because most tattoo ink particles are significantly larger than your white blood cells. It’s also why you may notice your new tattoo fading with time but not disappearing completely.

Laser tattoo removal accelerates this process.

The PicoSure tattoo removal system

PicoSure erases your unwanted tattoos by breaking the pigments into tiny particles. The smaller the pieces, the faster your immune system can flush them from your body.

To break up the tattoo pigment, PicoSure uses three different wavelengths of energy. This versatility also enables Dr. Gertzman to tailor your laser removal treatments to your specific tattoo. Once in action, PicoSure delivers an intense photothermal impact to the pigment, lasting for a picosecond — that’s a trillionth of a second! 

Despite its powerful ability to destroy your unwanted ink, PicoSure’s advanced skin-sparing technology protects the rest of your skin from damage. Dr. Gertzman recommends PicoSure for removing all types of unwanted tattoos, including:

In many cases, you can expect your unwanted tattoo pigment to lighten or clear up significantly with 2-3 PicoSure sessions scheduled 6-8 weeks apart. For maximum results, however, you may need a longer series of treatments. 

Dr. Gertzman works closely with you to develop a treatment strategy based on you specific tattoo, your lifestyle habits, and its location on your body.

What to expect from PicoSure tattoo removal 

Before having a PicoSure treatment, you should avoid sun exposure for at least a few weeks. For your appointment, wear loose-fitting clothing so Dr. Gertzman can easily access your tattoo and don’t apply any products, like lotions or cream, to the area.

To keep you comfortable throughout your treatment, Dr. Gertzman applies ice to the area for several minutes before starting. While PicoSure delivers its short pulses of energy to break up your tattoo pigment quickly, you may feel some heat or a sensation similar to a snapping rubber band. Dr. Gertzman will re-ice the area several times during the procedure.

Dr. Gertzman usually spends about 10 minutes treating an average-sized tattoo, but actual times can vary based on your individual design. Afterward, she provides detailed instructions on caring for the area, including:


It’s crucial for your tattoo to heal completely before undergoing your next PicoSure treatment.

To learn more about how laser tattoo removal works, call us Serenity Medical Spa, send us a message on our website, or request an appointment by using our online scheduler today.

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