Laser Tattoo Removal
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 the ink reamains below the epidermis.
How does the Titan 2 Q-Switched ND: YAG Laser Tattoo Removal Machine work to remove the tattoo? The laser emits a pulse of light that is 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); 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 them. The particles are then removed naturally via the body’s own elimination system. Other ways of removing tattoos have relied on more extreme methods such as surgical excision and skin grafting, dermabrasion or chemical removal through salts and acid tattooing which carry significant risks of damage to the surrounding tissue, and which often result in scarring. Lasers that are not Q-switched will not be effective on tattoos and Intense Pulsed Lights (IPLs) will also be ineffective, delivering energy that is not effectively absorbed by tattoo pigment and which may damage surrounding skin.
Can we treat all colours? No. 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 absorbed into black and dark blue inks, and 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 we will perform a patch test for you to see if it is possible before proceeding.
Can I lighten an existing tattoo? Our tattoo artists encourage customers to lighten an existing tattoo before covering it with a new one. This reduces any chance of the old tattoo appearing through the new one. In most cases, a minimum of 1-4 treatments is all that’s required in lightening an existing tattoo in preparation for cover-up.
How much will laser tattoo removal cost? The initial consultation and/or patch test is free. Laser sessions cost from £15 to £40. You should see considerable change after the first full treatment.
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. Most tattoos fade considerably after the first session, whilst others require several sessions. 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. The best candidates for laser tattoo removal are those with fair skin who have tattoos on the arms, chest, legs or buttocks. Those with dark skin or who have tattoos on the ankles, feet, or fingers are the most difficult to treat and the end results can be less predictable.
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 and therefore we usually recommend 5-6 weeks apart.
What will my skin look like after each treatment? Your skin will most likely be red 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. This is quite normal and does not indicate potential scarring. Rarely is any specific treatment required and it will usually clear within a few days. A dry dressing may be applied to avoid contact with clothes, etc. When bathing or showering, the area should be patted dry and not rubbed. If blistering occurs, prolonged immersion in water, e.g. swimming, should be avoided. During the period in which the tattoo is being removed, the treated area must be protected from strong sunlight or sunbeds by means of a sun-blocking cream or by covering the tattoo. This is very important and will help to avoid any pigment changes in the treated area. We will not treat any suntanned skin.
Will the laser tattoo removal hurt? Customers have reported that laser tattoo removal feels like a rubber band snapping quickly on your skin. It is painful, but the pain is bearable. Anyone with a tattoo has already experienced a level of pain that’s on a par with that of laser tattoo removal. Prescribing medicine is usually not done for laser tattoo removal. Paracetamol can be taken to help relieve any pain.
Does tattoo removal leave scars? The type of laser used leaves virtually no scars; however, in rare cases, those with scarring disorders, such as keloids, have an increased risk of forming a scar.
Will the skin be normal when treatment is finished? During treatment it is quite normal for the tattoo area to become paler and any freckles may disappear. This is because the laser is also effective at removing natural skin pigment. Once all the treatments have been completed, the pigment should slowly return, usually within six to twelve months. However sometimes there may be some permanent loss of natural pigment and the area may remain pale. This risk is minimised by avoiding strong sunlight and sunbeds whilst undergoing treatment. A tattooed area which is particularly hairy must be shaved prior to treatment. The hair should grow back normally but in some cases may be slower than expected.
Is Laser treatment safe? Yes. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the treatment can lead to skin disorders or an increased risk of cancer. Furthermore, every precaution has been taken to ensure the safety of the customer.
Warning: laser tattoo removal cannot guarantee removal of all of the tattoo.
You will be required to wear eye protectors.
Who will do my laser tattoo removal? The laser tattoo removal will be performed by Steve, who is trained to do this type of procedure. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask.