The evolution of body art through the ages has resulted in some incredible scientific advances in the fields of both putting ink into people and taking it out. While generally speaking, the methods used for administering tattoos haven't changed too much over the centuries – after all, there's only so many ways you can inject ink under a person's skin – the past few decades have seen substantial innovation when it comes to tattoo removal. 

Fortunately for those stricken with tattoo regret these days, the more grisly methods of ink excision from bygone eras have largely fallen by the wayside in favor of more precise, technologically advanced and user-friendly techniques. 

Tattoos and you: An overview
If you want to understand how tattoo removal works, it's a good idea to take a brief crash course in what exactly a tattoo is in the first place. You know that needles and ink are involved, but why is it permanent? What keeps the tattoo from flaking off as skin layers change? Where does the ink go?

The process of tattooing is, conceptually, a fairly simple one. A needle dipped in ink is inserted into the skin – about one-eighth of an inch, according to BrainStuff – and the ink is deposited there. The depth is enough to sink below the outer layers of skin, which typically shed and flake off, and reach the dermis, the permanent layer of inner skin underneath. The ink then just sits there on the dermal layer of skin, held in place by the outer layers which, conveniently enough, are transparent, both allowing your tattoo to be seen and providing it with an invisible protective layer from sun, water and time. Because a simple needle is the only required piece of equipment, tattoo methods vary greatly, from the electric tattoo guns of modern U.S. shops to the older art of tebori – tattooing by hand – common in Japan.

Undo your tattoo
Because tattoos rest on the inner layer of skin, people often ask: Can tattoos be removed? Widely thought to be permanent, what goes in can come out again using the right procedures. Earlier tattoo removal methods were nothing short of ghastly, but fortunately, the advent of modern science has granted us with a few practices that weren't quite so medieval. CNN outlined some of the more common modern methods. One such method is dermabrasion, where the tattooed skin is literally sanded down to expose and remove the ink – salabrasion is a similar method that involves application of a heated salt solution that is then scraped away.

The good news is the new millennium has brought with it new technology, and laser tattoo removal is now by far the most common and least damaging removal method. Unlike all previous methods, even the modern ones, that relied on brute force and inflicting trauma to the skin, laser removal harnesses the power of science to provide a much less invasive and damaging solution for tattoo erasure. CBS News explained the process, indicating that the laser is programmed to detect and react to ink molecules of a specific color – usually black. This laser zaps the ink and obliterates it into particles that are so small the body's natural processes can carry it away – no muss, no fuss and no residual scarring. 

PicoSure® is the latest technology for laser tattoo removal and offers faster and better removal in fewer treatments. PicoSure shatters ink into smaller, dust-like particles which are more efficiently absorbed by the body's natural processes. It is the first and only aesthetic picosecond laser that is FDA-cleared for the removal of tattoos. Visit to learn more and find a PicoSure Practitioner near you.