When a technician is performing laser tattoo removal, it is important to see and hear certain signs that indicate the laser energy is being absorbed by the tattoo ink. One of the signs that we need to see is frosting.

Before treatment and frosting after laser treatment for red ink.

The photo above shows what a tattoo looks like both immediately before and after the treatment for red ink using a 532 nanometer wavelength laser. The white haze on the “after” picture is called frosting, and it indicates that we have successfully performed a laser treatment. We want to see this effect after every treatment, to ensure that the tattoo ink has absorbed enough energy to break apart and be removed by the body. It may look different depending on the color of the tattoo ink, but frosting should be evident after each laser treatment.

To understand why laser tattoo removal creates frosting, we should go to the research performed on laser technology. From a study performed by Ho et al. published in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, sophisticated models indicate that the heat from the laser creates cavitation bubbles where the ink particles absorbed the light energy. In lay terms, this means that it is very likely that the “frosting” effect we see during treatment is actually tiny steam bubbles surrounding the ink that we have broken into smaller molecules.

To make a long story short, laser removal technicians need to see frosting during treatment because it is an excellent indicator that the ink has absorbed the right amount of light energy. If you are in Pinellas or the greater Tampa Bay area and are interested in having a tattoo removed, or would simply like to learn more about the process, then please give us a call or book your free consultation online!