Tattoo Removal FAQs
Can my tattoo be completely removed?
In nearly all cases, yes we can. During the initial consultation we will assess your tattoo, your health and your skin type, and advise you on the likelihood of complete removal.
Can all colours be removed?
Yes they can. Our Quanta Q-Plus C laser was designed for removing multi-coloured tattoos. The easiest inks to remove are black, red and blue and these respond to treatment very quickly. Some of the lighter colours like pastels or white take longer to treat because it’s more difficult to get the ink particles to absorb energy. Therefore tattoos with these colours will require more treatments.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required for tattoo removal varies. There are a number of factors that determine how many treatments will be required. Some of them are:-
- Professional vs amateur tattoo:
Amateur tattoos need fewer treatments to remove as the ink is shallower in the skin as professional ones. Amateur tattoos may only require as few as 3 treatments.
- Colour of ink:
Generally darker pigments respond quicker to treatments than do lighter pigments. Therefore complexmulti-coloured tattoos will need more treatments than simple one colour designs.
- Location on the body:
Tattoos on the torso and neck will respond more quickly to treatments than those on the feet or hands as the lymphatic system and blood supply is more extensive in those areas.
- The type and depth of ink used:
There are hundreds of different inks used around the world with no standard. Some pigments will respond much better than others.
- The age of the tattoo:
Older tattoos generally require fewer treatments than newer tattoos.
- Skin tone:
Lighter skin will respond more quickly to laser treatment than darker tones.
- The patient’s general health:
The healthier the patient, the more efficient is his/her lymphatic system, and the more responsive to treatments he/she will be.
For a more detailed discussion about how many laser sessions will be needed to achieve full tattoo removal please see this blog article.
- Professional vs amateur tattoo:
Does it hurt?
The feeling of laser treatment has often been compared to either an elastic band being flicked on the skin, or hot fat spitting from a frying pan. Of course, everyone’s pain threshold is different. We use a cryogenic cooling machine during the laser treatment to minimise discomfort as much as possible. We also offer topical local anaesthetic cream as an optional addition to the cooling system. However, for maximum effectiveness this needs to be applied an hour before the treatment is scheduled. You can buy the cream from a pharmacist if you prefer. Look for numbing cream containing lidocaine or lignocaine.
You can read more about how painful laser tattoo removal treat is in this blog post.
What can I expect immediately after the treatment?
The laser treatment causes an immediate whitening of the target area. This is known as frosting and is caused by your skin’s reaction to the laser. It subsides fairly quickly – within 15 mins. Once the frosting has disappeared there will be some mild swelling or redness which can feel a bit like sunburn. There may even be some pinpoint bleeding, and in the following days blistering or scabs may form. These are completely normal reactions, and the subsequent healing process actually helps the body in eliminating the ink.
How do I care for my skin after the treatment?
After your treatment we will apply antiseptic ointment and a simple dressing to the treatment area. You will be provided with detailed aftercare instructions to take home. It is important for the treatment process that the instructions are followed.
The most important thing to remember is to avoid sun exposure on the treated area both before and after treatment.
Does the treatment leave a scar?
The chances of scarring are extremely small. A Q-switched laser directs energy for just a few nanoseconds and is absorbed primarily by the tattoo pigment, thereby minimising damage to the surrounding skin. However, it is not possible to guarantee 100% that scarring won’t happen since the skin of every patient is different. Occasionally there may be some textural or slight colour changes to the skin. For those patients who believe that they may be susceptible to scarring, we will discuss this before the first treatment and carry out a patch test prior to commencing full removal.
Can you remove only part of a tattoo?
Yes of course. Our laser can target very precise areas. In fact, this is a very common request. Many clients have partial removals in preparation for rework or cover-ups.
Can you remove a brand new tattoo?
Yes, but we recommend you wait till at least 6 weeks after the tattoo has been put on before starting to remove it. This allows the skin to recover from the physical trauma of the tattooing process itself.
Why not the Picosure?
There has been a lot of hype about the Picosure laser system. Its manufacturers claim that it can remove tattoos quicker than nanosecond lasers and causes less damage to the surrounding tissue resulting in faster healing times. However, there has been no concrete evidence of these claims so far.
The Picosure also has its shortcomings. For a start, it has only one wavelength – 755nm. This has been designed as an ‘all purpose’ wavelength, which can get rid of black, purple and dark green. However, it can’t target red, and that’s why some clinics with a Picosure also have a 532nm Nd:YAG Q-switched machine to treat red tattoos.
The other criticism of the Picosure is its cost. It is an incredibly expensive laser system, and clinics who own a Picosure have to charge a very large premium on treatment prices to recoup their investment.
At Fade to Blank we’re happy with our Quanta Q-Plus C laser. It’s the only system on the market that offers three true wavelengths (1064nm, 694nm and 532nm) and the only one that can successfully remove a full spectrum of colours.