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Zapping Away Tattoos

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Dr. Barbara Frangos has dedicated her life to removing what her patients thought were the indelible no-longer-wanted tattoos with the use of a specialized laser process.

About six years ago, the chiropractor recognized there was a need for treating the “aesthetic wellness in the community.” Frangos opened LaserSpa of Tampa Bay, which attracts patients from all over the Suncoast. She became specialized in using intense pulsed-light laser technology to remove unwanted tattoos.

Tattoos primarily created with black or other dark inks are the easiest to remove. Shades of blue and green, however, are the more difficult to erase. To remove them she uses a HOYA ConBio C6 series YAG laser from a California-based company, MedLite.

The state-of-the-art laser lets her zap away a wider spectrum of tattoo colors.

The laser’s light energy breaks down the ink into tiny particles that are eventually carried away by the body. There is, according to Frangos, little or no risk of the scarring or skin pigment changes associated with older lasers or dermabrasion, in which the layers of ink-stained skin are scraped off.

As tattooing became more popular, a growing number of men and women from all generations and walks of life have come to her office with a common feeling of remorse over a decision made in haste or at a different time in their life, Frangos said.

“Some are talked into getting a tattoo or think it is something they want at the time,” she said. “The problem is when they change their mind, which could be in a few years or as short as a few days, they think they have to live with it the rest of their life, which is simply not the case.”

Many of her patients got their tattoos in their teens or early 20s and soon came to rue the decision. “Years later they are embarrassed by them,” she said of tattoos.

When that happens, people want permanent tattoo removal without scarring.

Some tattoos are elaborately designed and multicolored, while others are simple lines done by a trusted friend or relation. Professional tattoos are easiest to remove, she noted.

Some women who seek her services have been adorned with tattoos across their chests, necks, backs or arms since they were girls and now want them removed.

Men get tribal patterns along their back or words on their hands or neck that they come to consider an embarrassment later in life. Of course, there are always names that conjure up memories of soured relationships, ill-conceived comments or song lyrics and obscene words.

Some people think they have to live with the image of their rebellious years for the rest of their lives – until they find unwanted tattoos can be successfully removed. Depending on factors such as how well the tattoo was inked, its size and the complexity of the laser that removes it, unwanted images may not even leave a shadow, Frangos said.

Removing professionally done tattoos usually takes six to eight treatments. Amateur creations may require one to four sessions.

The treatments are spaced four to eight weeks apart to allow layers of the skin time to heal.

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