Laser Removal Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the ink stay in the skin when you have a tattoo?
When you have a tattoo the particles of ink are too large for the body to destroy, so instead it encapsulates the particles of ink with a network of collagen fibres as the skin heals, and there the tattoo remains.
How does the YAG laser work to remove it?
The laser emits a pulse of light that is preferentially absorbed into certain colours of ink. The light enters the skin at a speed that is too fast to heat the tissues (billionths of a second), instead, it produces a ‘shock wave’ effect and breaks up the ink particles into smaller pieces, the body then recognises these particles as something that shouldn’t be there and attacks it. The particles are then removed naturally via the body’s own elimination system.
Can you treat all colours?
No. Light is measured in nanometres and there are two wavelengths of light that are emitted from this laser -one is invisible infrared light (1064nm) and the other is visible green light (532nm). The infrared wavelength is preferably absorbed into black and dark blue inks, whereas the green light is absorbed by red ink. It is possible to treat some other colours although white, yellow and bright colours are difficult. This is not usually a problem however, as lighter colours cover very easily. If you wish to cover- up an existing tattoo then the darker colours will be faded or removed, allowing you greater choice of size and colour of the cover-up design you choose.
Why is it difficult to treat colours other than red and black?
The light will only see the colour ink it is attracted to as different wavelengths absorb into different things. It is not possible to produce a laser that can see all colours as some wavelengths are too shallow when absorbed to affect the ink, others can absorb into other matter and damage the skin in the process. Another reason is that all ink pigments contain certain levels of heavy metals. Some pigments may have a higher concentration of some of these than others, and these heavy metals can react with the laser light and carbonise in the skin, turning the ink black. It is very difficult to remove the ink when this has happened so, if you have other colours you would like treating, the laser operator will perform a test patch for you to see if it is possible before proceeding.
How far apart are the treatments?
Your body needs time to break down the tattoo ink pigments after each laser treatment. This is a slow process; therefore you will typically schedule each treatment a minimum of 4-6 weeks apart. This can also depend on you own healing ability, taking into account your physique, age, skin type and body immunity etc.
How many treatments will it take to remove my tattoo?
Unfortunately, due to the nature of this procedure, it is impossible to predict exactly how many treatments it will take for complete results. It could take as little as 3 treatments for an amateur tattoo or as many as 12 treatments for a professionally applied tattoo. How quickly your ink fades will depend on several factors, such as the colours of your tattoo, the type of ink used and how your body responds to the treatment.
What will my skin look like after each treatment?
Your skin around the tattoo will most likely be red with some localised swelling and feel like it has mild sunburn. This typically goes away after a couple of hours. There may also be some bruising. At times and with certain inks, there may be mild blistering that usually heals in about a week. After each treatment you will be given detailed instructions on how to care for your treated area.
Does the age of my tattoo matter?
Older tattoos are usually easier to treat; new tattoos contain more pigment (ink) and often multiple colours. Amateur tattoos are easier to remove as usually they are not as deep as professional tattoos and the ink is more sparsely applied. The deeper the pigment the more difficult the tattoo is to remove. We will not begin to remove your tattoo until it is fully healed, at least 8 weeks from being tattooed.
Does tattoo removal leave scars?
There will always be a risk of scaring when you are dealing with skin; you need to consider these risks seriously before starting tattoo removal as we are unable to guarantee returning your skin back to its pre-tattooed condition. The type of laser used leaves virtually no scars, however, there will always be a risk of scaring or loss of skin pigment. Anyone with scarring disorders, such as keloids, have an increased risk of forming a scar. It is important that you do not pick any scabs or burst any blister that you may have. Aftercare is essential. Please be aware that some inks will react differently to the laser, we are unable to determine what ink was used for your tattoo. If you have scarring from your tattoo, the laser can remove or fade the ink but the scarring is likely to remain.
Who can have Laser Tattoo Removal?
Due to some medical conditions not everyone can have Laser Removal; we advise anyone wishing to undergo Laser Removal Treatment to consult with their GP. Many prescription drugs and herbal remedies can cause increased Photosensitivity, meaning that the skin becomes more sensitive to light.
How soon after removal can I have a new tattoo applied?
We recommend leaving at least 8 weeks from your last treatment before having a new tattoo. In the case of cover ups it is not always necessary to have your old tattoo completely removed; please speak to our tattooist if you require further information.
Will the laser tattoo removal hurt?
Patients have reported that laser tattoo removal feels like a rubber band snapping quickly on your skin.
How much will laser tattoo removal cost?
Laser tattoo costs starts at £35 Per Session. Initial consultations are free. When you come for your consultation, we will measure your tattoo, carry out a skin assessment, and let you know how much each treatment will cost. A further consultation will be carried out at the start of each treatment session to determine progress made.
What happens before treatment?
At the beginning of the treatment we hold a full consultation and a patch test is carried out before any treatment takes place. We also require your medical history this may include GP information, and will also ask you about your skin type. You will be required to complete a consent form giving us permission to start to remove or fade your tattoo and that you are fully aware of the risks involved. At the begining of each appointment it is important that you tell us about your healing and if you have any concerns.
What happens if I miss a treatment or decide not to complete the treatment?
Whilst we hope that once you have committed to having your tattoo removed you will continue until you are satisfied; however each session is paid for on the day.
During the treatment you will be required to wear eye protection throughout the duration of the procedure. We also respectfully ask that jewellery and watches are removed, wedding bands maybe covered by tape/plaster, as reflective items are not permitted whilst the laser is operating. We would prefer you to wear pale/white clothing when you come for your treatment.