Using a picosecond laser, Vienna’s UnTattooU cuts in half the required number of treatments to lighten or erase tattoos.
“There will always be people getting tattoos and removing them, and when … we saw the PicoSure [laser] was coming out—a brand new technology, potentially revolutionary—we essentially opened up our business, UnTattooU, around that laser,” says General Manager Mark Chauteh of the decision he and his four business partners made in 2013.
PicoSure is a picosecond laser that uses three pulsing wavelengths (532, 755 and 1,064 nm) to break pigment beneath the skin into tinier pieces that the body’s lymphatic system flushes out over time, resulting in a fading tattoo that eventually disappears if desired. Some clients simply wish to lighten an old tattoo only to replace it with another.
“The faster the pulsation, the less trauma and the more efficient the laser is,” explains Chauteh. “So not only with PicoSure are we getting a nontraditional wavelength of light so we can effectively treat blues and greens more effectively than they were before, but the pulsation allows less trauma to occur so the risk of scarring is quite a bit lower.”
But arguably what makes PicoSure most interesting is the fact that, when compared to older Q-switch lasers, it removes tattoos in half the number of treatments (on average four to nine with at least six to eight weeks between), which can cost $150-$600 each depending on tattoo size and ink density.
“If you can imagine someone with a really dark, heavy, dense tattoo, it will take more treatments relative to say a very thin script or even a huge piece that’s all shading—that will move relatively quickly compared to a small piece that’s really heavy,” says Chauteh. “Other practices, not necessarily everyone, are trying to promise picosecond timelines without the technology, so what they’re doing is increasing the energy too quickly and causing people to scar.”
At UnTattooU—which sees approximately eight to 15 people per day and also offers noninvasive fat removal and facials that reduce fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots—registered nurses operate the lasers and can also numb interested clients with injectable Lidocaine. During a person’s first treatment, the nurses typically use a moderate amount of energy and then treat the area more aggressively in subsequent sessions so long as the client takes good care of the area by moisturizing with Aquaphor and covering it with a bandage.
“If we could be more specific, we could have it done much quicker,” Chauteh says of those in the industry. “Ideally, instead of designing expensive lasers to remove ink this way, if you could design the ink around the laser, you could save a lot of time and money for everyone in the future.” // 431 Maple Ave. W., Suite E, Vienna; untattoou.com