Laser tattoo reduction is simple, safe, and can produce good results.
Tattoo removal has been performed with various tools since the start of tattooing. While tattoos were once considered permanent, it is now possible to remove them with treatments, fully or partially, using certain types of advanced lasers.
Laser technology works by allowing the light produced by the laser to pass through the skin and break up the tattoo ink into tiny particles. The body then disposes of these fragments via its immune system.
A full consultation and patch test is needed to determine suitability, and we cannot treat very large or coloured tattoos. We cannot completely remove tattoos but rather reduce and fade the tattoo if suitable.
What type of laser do you use?
Q-switched lasers, which release energy in a single, powerful pulse, are usually the treatment of choice for tattoo removal.
At the Skin and Beauty Clinic we use a “Q-switched Nd:YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) laser” which has a dual wavelength of 1064 (for black ink) and 532nm (to treat red and orange tattoo pigment). Best reduction is achieved on black ink, but in general results vary greatly due to many factors such as pigment types and age of tattoo.
How does a Laser remove tattoos?
Tattoos consist of thousands of particles of tattoo pigment suspended in the skin. Laser treatment causes tattoo pigment particles to heat up and fragment into smaller ink particles. The smaller ink particles are then removed by dermal macrophages which are part of the immune system, tasked with collecting and digesting cellular debris.
Typically, black and other darker-coloured inks can be removed completely using Q-switched lasers while lighter colours such as yellows and greens are still very difficult to remove. Success can depend on a wide variety of factors including skin colour, ink colour, and the depth at which the ink was applied. Therefore the extent of removal will vary from tattoo to tattoo and from person to person as skin type and other factors must be taken into account.
What can I expect from the treatment?
Before the treatment you will need to have a thorough consultation and skin patch test to ensure you are suitable for treatment. Pregnant women, those taking certain medications or people prone to keloid scarring, amongst others, will not be able to have the treatment safely. Also, some tattoos may not be suitable due to the ink type or colours used. Certain skin types may be more prone to adverse effects and this will be discussed with you, as long as what to do in between treatments and the aftercare needed to ensure that your skin remains in the best condition possible while you undergo tattoo removal.
The treatment itself involves applying a powerful pulse of energy via the laser hand-piece to your skin which heats up and shatter the tattoo ink. Multi-coloured tattoos might need treatment with different wavelengths. With our device the removal of blue or green pigment is not possible. Some people choose fade the tattoo and then have a tattoo artist cover it up with a new tattoo.
Although you may feel some discomfort during the treatment we will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible and will soothe your skin after each treatment. After the procedure, you might notice swelling and possibly blistering or bleeding. Antibacterial ointment can help promote healing and you will be given aftercare advice to follow closely.
Each session will take 10 to 30 minutes depending on the area treated. You will need repeated sessions (average 6-12) to lighten the tattoo, and it might not be possible to completely erase the tattoo. Some scarring is rare but possible and this will be discussed with you.
If you’re interested in laser tattoo removal or any of our other treatments, the first step would be to contact us and book in for your patch test and consultation. We are always here to help so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions.