Laser Tattoo Removal
There are many reasons for wanting tattoos removed - we may grow older (and possibly wiser!), work has changed, or the artwork is just not up to scratch. Laser tattoo removal is the only sensible option, given the risks of scarring of the alternatives.
The Revlite Q-Switched YAG Laser delivers powerful bursts of light that pass through the skin and break down the large tattoo ink particles into smaller fragments. These fragments are then removed by the body's white blood cells - its natural filtering system. Ink is therefore removed from within the skin, and this process occurs slowly over many weeks after a treatment.
What does it feel like?
The discomfort is usually more than when you have a tattoo done. It is common to apply a local anaesthetic cream at home 90 minutes prior to treatment. We also use ice or chilled air in many cases.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments depend on how heavily inked the tattoo is, the colours used, and the location (tattoos on the distal parts of the body are slower to respond, eg, the wrist). Cover-up tattoos are expected to be slower due to the extra layers of ink.
If the tattoo is multicoloured, then more treatments may be required. Simple blue-black tattoos usually require fewer treatments. Professional tattoos generally require around 12 treatments but this is highly variable from person to person. Some tattoos have required many more than 12 treatments. Fewer treatments are necessary for amateur tattoos. Multicoloured designs usually require more treatments than the simple blue-black tattoos. Treatments are done with at least 6 weeks between. Green and light blue ink are often quite resistant to treatment.
Will the tattoo disappear completely?
In many cases the answer is yes. However it is more common to achieve significant fading and partial removal. It is very important to appreciate that world-wide, there are over 100 substances used in tattoo inks today. Some compounds do not respond to laser treatment at all. This is more common with greens and blues. Blues and greens are traditionally more difficult to remove and we generally say that that treatment is unlikely to remove these colours fully.
What happens after laser tattoo removal treatment?
There will usually be some swelling; pinpoint bleeding, blisters and scabbing can occur. Vaseline or an antiseptic ointment (Bepanthen) should be applied daily for 5 to 7 days, until the area is healed. The treated area can get wet, but should be gently patted dry. As the scabs lift, some of the ink may be seen coming out in the scab. The underlying skin may be red in colour, and could take several weeks to settle. The tattoo colouring fades gradually, with additional fading occuring with each treatment.
Does it leave a scar?
No guarantees can be given, but in the vast majority of cases there is no scarring. Raised scarring is most unlikely, but patients should be aware that it can occur. Changes in pigmentation may also occur, leaving some whiteness in the treated area. Infection, which is a rare complication, may increase the risk of scarring.
Remember: The tattoo fades gradually.
Below: Tattoo before & after 7 laser treatments
Bad Tattoo Removal Techniques
- Tatt Free
Our doctors strongly advise against the use of these techniques. Injections treatments for pigment removal work only by scarring the skin. We have seen many cases of scarring from these treatments. Creams do not work to remove pigment which lies deep in the dermis of the skin. IPL does not work and has a very high chance of scarring.
Raised punctate scarring from Tatt2Away
Depigmented raised scars from injection treatment
Raised scarring from injection treatment
Red, raised early scarring from IPL treatment
Raised, keloid scarring from injection treatment
Spotty red raised scarring from injection treatment 9 months prior