SOMERS POINT, N.J. (WPVI) -- More Americans than ever have tattoos.
But many admit they don't still love it the way they did when they were freshly inked.
Erasing that unwanted body art is getting a little easier, with the help of a new laser.
"It is lightening up," notes Dr. Jeffrey Gosin, of Shore Vascular and Vein Center.
"Even on this side," remarks Abbie Aristizabal.
5 years ago, Abbie got these Chinese letters tattooed to her wrists.
"It looked cool and i thought it was a basic artistic expression," she says.
But it didn't take long for them to get in the way for this music teacher and conductor.
"The students are asking more about my tattoos than dynamic markings, or the piece of music that we're studying," she says.
Plus, Abbie can't really remember what the letters mean.
She didn't think any treatment would get rid of them, till Dr. Gosin in Somers Point, N.J. told her about the new Enlighten laser.
He says the body sees tattoo ink as an invader.
"The problem is that the ink particles are too large to completely eliminate," says Dr. Gosin.
Lasers break them down - but success depends on the wavelength, and the ink's color and density.
Enlighten uses 2 wavelengths - the nanosecond, and the new pico second.
"A pico second is one trillionth of a second," he notes.
The shorter bursts make for smaller particles
"We will frequently use the nanosecond technology in earlier treatments, and then switch to the picosecond technology as the ink begins to fade," he says.
So the treatment, which takes barely a minute, can be tailored to each tattoo.
"We are frequently seeing much faster results," he remarks.
About 40% fewer treatments -
Cristina Schuler got tired of seeing her name on her arm in photos.
"It was just kind of sticking out there," she says.
It was turquoise, a challenging color.
But after 2 treatments with Enlighten -
"You can't even tell what it was," she says with delight.
Abbie's tattoo had very dark, dense ink, but after 4 treatments, it's much lighter, and Dr. Gosin says it's fading faster with each treatment.
He says fewer treatments means less time, less discomfort - and less cost.
The treatments are done between 6 and 12 weeks apart, depending on the individual tattoo.
Both women say the procedure is uncomfortable, but not really painful.
"It's like rubber bands snapping against your skin," Schuler notes, and adds, "About the same as getting the tattoo in the first place."
Anesthetic cream and ice packs are applied before and after the procedure.
For more information, see Shore Vascular and Vein Center website, or
New tattoo removal laser uses dual wavelengths to cut time 40%
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