How does laser tattoo removal work? - LightSense™

Introduction to concepts in laser tattoo removal: fluence

The best method for removing a tattoo depends on the unique characteristics of the ink and design. Some tattoos use coloured inks that can be tough to remove, and some are made up of extremely dense ink.

For these cases a sophisticated laser will be required for tattoo removal, one that makes the most of the concept of fluence

Put simply, fluence is the scientific basis of how the LightSense™ laser system is able to operate on particularly low energy.

This blog post will introduce the concept of fluence and explain how it relates to laser tattoo removal.

Laser for tattoo removal

What is fluence?

The spot size of the LightSense™ laser system measures in at a minuscule 0.4mm, smaller than the nib of a pen. This allows expert operators to work with ultra-low energy and consequently reduce pain, because of the concept of fluence.

Fluence measures the energy delivered by the laser per square cm. Commonly, it is measured in joules per square centimetre (J/cm2). In essence the measurement denotes how concentrated the laser beam is.

A comparison can be made with a garden hose. When we want the stream to become more powerful we may cover some of the nozzle with our thumb. A similar principle applies here with the laser. 

The precision of the laser (a smaller area like the partially covered hose) means that experts are able to direct lower energy onto the specific areas of skin that they are targeting.

Image source: Wikipedia

Altering the fluence

Fluence can be incrementally increased over a course of tattoo removal sessions in order to penetrate deeper into the skin. 

In Optimising Laser Tattoo Removal Kabir Sardana, Rashmi Ranjan, and Sneha Ghunawat observe that,

“An interesting concept was proposed by Ho et al. who demonstrated that laser fluence attenuates rapidly in the dermis, thus a lower-intensity laser may be used first for the removal of the top layer of the tattoo pigment. Subsequent sessions, with increasing fluence can help remove the pigment deep inside the dermis. This sequence can minimize the overall laser energy, and consequently reduce the collateral damage.”

Fluence is an important concept in laser tattoo removal, one that can be tough to get across in a compelling way. Less appealing than charismatic terms such as strength and power, the concept of fluence is however a crucial aspect of laser tattoo removal. As we have discussed, fluence is one of the concepts that underpins how laser tattoo removal works.

Watch the LightSense™ laser system in action here.


LightSense™ statistics based on proprietary technology.
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