Tattoo Laser Removal Information

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Laser Removal at Pictures of Lily

Tattoo nightmares are a reality and if you have something you want rid of, then pop by the studio and let’s talk laser!

The machine we use is one of the best; it’s a Q-Switched Nd:YAG Laser, which is considered the ‘Gold’ standard of QS Laser technology.

Cover-ups are not always easy and tend to need to go bigger and darker, which is not always desired. Laser gives you better options for cover-up designs. There are studios (and TV shows!) who will tell you they can do cover-ups and when it’s healed you still see the original tattoo underneath and so you have another tattoo nightmare to deal with. If you are eventually going for a cover-up, then always make sure you consult a reputable tattooist who is good at them and that you have seen evidence of their work.

Laser may be a longer process, but if you really hate that tattoo, it is the best option.

How does laser treatment work on tattoos?

Our laser produces a very high power in quick pulses. The light energy produced tends to pass through normally pigmented skin and is absorbed by the tattoo ink deep in the dermis layer. The pigment is rapidly heated, expands and shatters into tiny particles which are evacuated from the body through normal immune response. As the ink particles are removed, the tattoo begins to fade. Multiple treatments are required.

Is the tattoo removal laser dangerous?

Tattoo removal lasers are very safe for use when used by a trained laser operator with correct working procedure and safety equipment (appropriate goggles to protect the eyes); Bex is a fully qualified laser operator. The radiation emitted by a tattoo removal laser is non-ionizing and carries no risk of cancer or other abnormal cell growth. The procedure in non-surgical, and non-invasive.

Does it hurt?

Lasers will cause some discomfort and it is usual to experience a small amount of pain in the area afterwards (can feel like sunburn). The laser pulses have been likened to having your skin ‘pinged’ with an elastic band, or hot oil from the frying pan hitting your skin, this is usually tolerated by most people without any anaesthetic. The good thing about laser is how quick the treatment can be; a lot quicker than having the tattoo! However, some areas are more sensitive than others, especially around the ankles and places where the skin is quite thin, or on bony areas. Fortunately, the discomfort does decrease as treatment progresses and the tattoo pigments fade. Most people will be able to tolerate the treatment but local anaesthetic cream can be used if required.

Will the laser treatment leave a scar?

Not normally. It is very unusual to develop any scarring but it is a possibility, especially with poor aftercare (there is a reported 5% chance of scarring following tattoo removal treatments). The low pulse width of our laser reduces the risk of scarring.

How long does the treatment take?

Usually between 5 and 30 minutes, longer sessions could cause too much skin trauma so are not recommended. Depending on the tattoo and the result required (removal or cover up) up to 12 or more sessions may be required. Treatment sessions are minimum of 6 to 8 weeks apart.

Can the area be tattooed again?

Yes, although we do recommend waiting at least 4 – 6 months after your last laser session before having the area tattooed over again.

Will my tattoo be completely removed?

Possibly, our laser can give fantastic results but there are no guarantees. Sometimes the total elimination of the tattoo is not possible despite the use of the most advanced tattoo removal equipment. There are many factors that can affect treatment results such as:

  • Age of Tattoo
  • Density of ink
  • Application method
  • Area of tattoo
  • Type of Ink used
  • Your healing ability/immune system
  • Depth of ink
  • Skin type

Tattoos that are carried out by professionals are usually more difficult to remove as they contain more pigment colours and much more detail in the design. Often with an amateur tattoo, the ink is more sparsely applied and of lesser quality to what is used today in most modern tattoo studios, this is usually easier to remove. Some amateur tattooists (& even some ‘professionals’) create pockets of inks that are too deep and extremely difficult to eradicate completely. You may be surprised but there is no recognised international standard for the manufacture of tattoo ink, sometimes pigments may be mixed with other unknown compounds. Sometimes these compounds can react to the laser light.

Can you remove all colours?

No – Laser tattoo removal works best on tattoos of black ink. Black ink is also able to absorb the full spectrum of light. A wide range of other colours can usually be removed successfully or lightened to a large degree: Brown, Red*, Orange, Darker Green, Blue, Purple.

(IMPORTANT! Some people can have an allergic reaction to red ink particles absorbed into to body, which is why it’s important to do a patch test)

The most difficult colours to remove are pastel colours such as: Light Green, Pale Blue, Teal, Turquoise, Pink* These colours may be lightened, but it is difficult to remove them completely.

If you are going to cover-up your tattoo with a new design these pastel colours are usually easy to cover. Usually untreatable Colours: White*, Yellow, Light green, Skin tones, Fluorescent or UV* White and yellow ink does fade over time and become less noticeable, be cautious of anyone who guarantees to remove all traces of green ink.

*Colours with potential problems – Occasionally the tattoo may go darker where the ingredients in certain ink colours carbonise. This irreversible darkening is sometimes seen with the following colours: White, Pink, Flesh Tone colours, Fluorescent or Ultra-Violet, Light Brown, Red. Although these complications are rare, it is one of the reasons we insist on a patch test for each colour in the tattoo so that potentially rare complications can be predicted before undergoing laser treatment


Am I suitable for treatment?

Certain medical conditions and medications would make exposure to the laser treatment dangerous to you. Some conditions will only temporally prevent you from undergoing laser treatment; medical contraindications will be discussed during your consultation.

How much?

We have a minimum charge of £20, but price depends on how big and detailed the tattoo is, so a quote will be given on consultation. The consultation is FREE and usually takes about half an hour. Bex will go in to more detail and explain the treatment fully; this involves a patch test. Full aftercare advice will be given.