While tattoos were once considered permanent, it is now possible to remove them with treatments, fully or partially.
Tattoo removal is most commonly performed using lasers that react with the ink in the tattoo and break it down.
Mechanism of laser action
Tattoos consist of thousands of particles of tattoo pigment suspended in the skin. While normal human growth and healing processes will remove small foreign particles from the skin, tattoo pigment particles are permanent because they are too big to be removed. Laser treatment causes tattoo pigment particles to heat up and fragment into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces are then removed by normal body processes.
Laser tattoo removal is a successful application of the theory of selective photothermolysis (SPTL).