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Ta ta tattoo! New laser method removes body art in less than half the time



12:45 GMT, 19 April 2012

Countless people who get ill-advised tattoos when intoxicated by passion or drink face the problem of how to have them erased – and fast.

Now doctors are singing the praises of a new technique that cuts the time of removing them from a year to a few months.

Known as R20, the procedure involves passing a pulsing laser beam over the skin four times with a 20minute pause in between each pass.

A before and after shot shows the effect of the R20 method after just one treatment, at Schweiger Dermatology in New York

A before and after shot shows the effect of the R20 method after just one treatment, at Schweiger Dermatology in New York

This is different from the conventional method when the laser is passed over the inked area just once before the skin is left for six weeks to allow the pigment to fade and the skin to completely heal.

Scientists led by Dr Theodora Kossida from the National Technical University of Athens published a study on the new method in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in February.

They reported that while the technique causes more skin injury in the short term it didn't create any more scarring and removed far more ink during a session.

The R20 method completely removed the tattoo in 61 per cent of treated areas. It also lightened professional tattoos 70 per cent more effectively than the single pass method.

Dr Mitchell Chasin, director of The Reflections Center for Skin and
Body in Livingston, New Jersey, told Msnbc.com: 'It is not only a
way to decrease the number of treatments but to improve the appearance
of skin after removal.'

Dr Chasin added that patients should be aware that a number of different lasers would be needed to remove different coloured inks and so they should only go to a highly-trained expert.

Actress Gina Gianni, 29, from Los Angeles, who had the procedure at the The Reflections Center to remove a tattoo that reminded her of her ex-boyfriend.

She said just one session using R20 removed 75 per cent of the Latin script.

However, the procedure it costly at 375 ($600) a session, so the best advice would be to think long and hard before you have a tattoo in the first place.

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