IS LASER TATTOO REMOVAL TREATMENT PAINFUL?
Many patients report little or no discomfort; they liken the treatment sensation to the snapping of an elastic band on the skin. You may notice that skin is slightly sore, perhaps even red in the hours following; this can be eased with a cool compress.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A LASER TATTOO REMOVAL CONSULTATION AND PATCH TEST
Before your tattoo removal treatment can begin, we offer a free consultation and patch test to assess your tattoo. The patch test ensures you are suitable for treatment. You can start your first tattoo removal session 48 hours later.
HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED FOR THE BEST LASER TATTOO REMOVAL RESULTS?
During your consultation, your practitioner will assess you to decide the best laser tattoo removal treatment.
The amount of time required for the removal of a tattoo and the success of the removal varies with each individual and their immune system function. Factors influencing this include:
colour or colours used
amount of ink
scarring or tissue change
layers of ink
immune system function
Factors under your control are :
time between treatments
Tattoos located on the extremities, such as the ankle, generally take longest. As tattoos fade clinics may recommend you wait months between treatments to help ink resolution and minimize unwanted side effects.
A reduction in pigmentation is noticeable after just one treatment. However, a course of treatments may be recommended for best results. As many as 1-10 sessions may be required. There should be a six-week gap between laser sessions to allow the wounds to heal and the body to absorb as much of the ink as is possible.
If you want more information on how practitioner assess tattoos you can google:The Kirby-Desai scale. The scale was introduced in 2009 to provide health professionals with a tool to estimate the number of treatments needed for removal.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PRACTITIONER DURING YOUR CONSULTATION
We encourage you to take an active role in your treatment. Please use the below list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation.
Am I a good laser tattoo removal candidate?
Can I reasonably expect to get the results I am after, are they realistic?
Can I see before-and-after photos?
Will there be scarring or discoloration?
What are the costs related to my treatment?
What do I have to do to get the best results?
What is the recovery period?
When can I resume normal activities?
Can you explain the risks and complications for my laser tattoo removal?
How are complications handled and what are my options if the cosmetic outcome of my treatment does not meet the goals we agreed on?
DOES TATTOO REMOVAL LEAVE SCARS?
Unless you already have an existing scar, are prone to scarring or keloids, or are not following your aftercare, laser tattoo removal will generally not cause scarring.
HOW DOES LASER TATTOO REMOVAL WORK?
Our laser tattoo removal treatment works by using powerful highly concentrated pulses of light waves to heat up the ink particles. Applied precisely over the tattoo the ink particles beneath the skin shatter and fragment as the laser breaks down the ink molecules.
Your body’s immune system will then safely absorb the molecules without damaging the surrounding tissue before being expelled naturally.
WHAT IS A TATTOO MADE UP OF?
Tattoos are made up of thousands of particles of tattoo ink suspended in the skin. Normally the human immune system would remove tiny foreign particles from the skin and your tattoo would disappear soon after getting it. This does not happen because the ink particles are too big to be removed by your system so remain permanent.
WHAT IF I HAVE A LARGE TATTOO OR ONE WITH VARIOUS COLOURS?
We can treat all ink colours including black and multicoloured inks. Lasers may need further sessions to target larger or more stubborn areas. The best thing to do is book a consultation and patch test so we can assess and discuss your requirements as every tattoo and person is unique.
IS LASER TATTOO REMOVAL SUITABLE FOR ALL SKIN TYPES?
Yes our advanced laser technology can treat all skin tones and types including darker skin. Our lasers can remove tattoos from Caucasian, Mediterranean, Asian, Oriental, Black Caribbean and African skin tones.
CAN I REMOVE A TATTOO ON MY FACE?
We cannot treat tattoos on the face or those with semi-permanent make up over the affected area.
HOW LONG IS A LASER TATTOO REMOVAL SESSION?
The duration of each treatment and session varies depending on the size of the tattoo. A small tattoo 1 x 1 inch needs no more then a 20 minute session. Larger tattoos are treated in sections over the course of months with many sessions lasting an hour or more.
WHAT IS LASER TATTOO REMOVAL POST TREATMENT LIKE?
You must protect the area by applying an ointment and gauze for the first forty-eight hours. We recommend you protect the tattoo from sun exposure as this may cause changes in pigmentation between treatments, so cover up where possible.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS OF LASER TATTOO REMOVAL?
Most side effects are short-term. They may include: blistering, swelling, scabbing, itching and heat in the area treated.
Longer term effects may include darkening of the skin hyperpigmentation or lightening hypopigmentation. If you have any concerns about the effect of laser tattoo removal treatment please speak to your practitioner or doctor.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST TATTOO COLOUR TO REMOVE?
This varies from person to person and depends on the skin type and depth of the ink.
Pastel colours can be tough to remove as they are mixed with white ink which reflects the laser light.
Our Q-switched lasers produce bursts of infrared light at specific frequencies that target a particular spectrum of colour in the tattoo ink.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS LASER TATTOO REMOVAL?
Laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective way to get rid of ink from tattoos. Other methods for removing tattoos include:
Dermabrasion involves using a medical grinding tool. It removes the outer layers of the skin in a controlled way before removing the layers with the ink in. It leaves an open wound which needs to heal and significant scarring can occur.
Chemical peels include Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels will like dermabrasion will result in an open wound and aftercare to avoid infection.
Surgical excision involves cutting the tattoo out, which most would consider as a last resort. Salabrasion and cryosurgery are also options.
WHAT TATTOO REMOVAL CLINICS ARE NEAR ME?
Tattoo removal services are available at all our tattoo clinics in London including Central London, Greater London and Surrey.
IS LASER TATTOO REMOVAL SUITABLE FOR ALL SKIN TYPE?
Yes our advanced laser technology can treat all skin types including darker skin.
WHAT HAPPENS AT YOUR FIRST LASER TATTOO REMOVAL TREATMENT?
During your first session the laser handpiece will focus and pass over the tattoo or the section of the tattoo if it is a large one. Cool air blows as the laser targets and shatters the ink below the skins surface. You will notice the skin will frost or blister over swelling slightly with tiny pin pricks of blood appearing.
If you have seen laser tattoo removal videos online you would have seen the skin blister it. This is known as “frosting” and will appear after your treatment. The frosting is produced by small gas bubbles rising to the surface enabling the breaking down of tattoo pigments and is harmless.
Once the area under treatment has been covered by the laser, the tattoo will be wrapped in gauze to protect it. The practitioner will the discuss the best aftercare for you.
CAN I REMOVE A TATTOO ON MY FACE?
We cannot treat tattoos on the face or those with semi permanent make up over the affected area.
WHAT IF I HAVE A LARGE TATTOO OR ONE WITH VARIOUS COLOURS?
The laser machine may need further sessions to target larger or more stubborn areas. The best thing to do is book a consultation and patch test so we can discuss your requirements further. We can treat all ink colours including black and multicoloured inks.
WHAT IS THE BEST LASER TO TATTOO REMOVAL?
There are many lasers on the market for removing tattoos, we use the Candela lasers which are FDA approved and are advanced top of the range lasers. They are excellent at tackling many colours and are safe and effective at removing tattoos.
HOW DO YOU SPEED UP LASER TATTOO REMOVAL?
Tattoos located on the extremities, such as the ankle, generally take longest. As tattoos fade your practitioner may recommend you wait longer between treatments to help ink resolution and minimize unwanted side effects.
You can speed up the effectiveness of treatment by:
having the appropriate time between treatments
reduction of stress levels
getting enough sleep
CAN YOU GET SKIN CANCER FROM TATTOO REMOVAL?
The short answer is no. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, laser tattoo removal poses no known risk for cancer.
DOES DRINKING WATER HELP WITH TATTOO REMOVAL?
Drinking water helps to break up ink particles making it easier for your body to process the tattoo ink. The recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water or 2 litres a day is even more important when you are having treatment.
CAN TATTOOS BE REMOVED IN ONE SESSION?
If you have a homemade tattoo these can normally be removed in about 3-4 sessions because the ink is not to far down in layers of skin. Tattoos done with a tattoo gun are much deeper in the skin so will take longer to remove.
IS IT NORMAL FOR LASER TATTOO REMOVAL TO BLISTER?
The blistering of the tattooed area is a normal reaction and should not be cause for concern. Blistering is a sign of the healing process and ink is being removed from your body. Bursting blisters mean the skin will heal faster.
You can always apply a cold pack to the treated area to ease any discomfort and inflammation. Choose paracetamol over aspirin if permitted, as aspirin will thin blood risking bruising and bleeding to the area and jeopardise healing.
Wait for a minimum of 2 hours and it should be okay to shower. Avoid exposing the treated area to direct pressure and do not soak the area in a bath, hot tub or swimming pool until you are completely healed.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A TATTOO REMOVAL PROCEDURE?
Wear sunscreen and/or avoid the sun.
Avoid shaving, waxing, or exfoliating before treatment.
Avoid tanning and spray tans several weeks prior to your procedure.
Stop smoking at least 6 weeks before your treatment to promote better healing
Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
Keep hydrated before and then after treatment.
DO TATTOOS CONTINUE TO FADE AFTER LASER?
Immediately after your laser treatment if you can cool the area down further using ice packs and soothe the surrounding skin, this will speed up the fading process. It reduces the body’s reaction to the heat generated by the laser.
ARE OLDER TATTOOS EASIER TO REMOVE?
In general, older tattoos take fewer sessions to remove than a new tattoo. Darker inks are easier to remove than lighter inks with black ink being easiest to remove.
WHAT ARE THE EASIEST TATTOOS TO REMOVE?
Amateur tattoos are usually easier to remove than professional tattoos. This is because they normally use less ink at various depths. Professional tattoos have a more even amount of ink at a consistent depth.
Also different ink dyes react to different light wavelengths. Black and dark green are the easiest colours to remove; yellow, purple, turquoise and fluorescent dyes are hardest to fade.
HOW MUCH DOES LASER TATTOO REMOVAL COST IN LONDON?
A single session for a one-inch by one-inch tattoo removal can cost anywhere between £47-£80 in London.