Q-switched lasers are the only really effective lasers for tattoo removal. These lasers penetrate deeply into the skin with minimal risk of scarring and pigmentation changes.
The Q-switched laser produces an intense focused beam of light into the pigment used in the tattoo. The pigment then absorbs the light energy which then causes the tattoo pigment to shatter into tiny particles. These tiny particles are then removed by the body.
Non Q-switched lasers (such as IPLs) do not deliver intense focused light energy at the wavelength that is absorbed by the tattoo pigment. Hence, they are ineffective for removing tattoos and may damage the surrounding skin.