The laser shatters the molecular bonds between the ink in your skin. After a laser treatment, the ink is not removed, just broken down. This allows your body to remove the pigment just like any other waste product in your body – through your lymph drainage system and out through your wee!
The sensation of laser tattoo removal has been described as having an elastic band snapped against your skin, but I think it’s more like when you’re cooking and fat spits at you from the pan – hot, sharp and temporary. On a scale of 1 to 10 I think it resembles the pain of a tattoo itself. Something to note is that laser tattoo removal is much quicker than tattooing itself, so something that took two hours to tattoo will only take about 20 minutes to laser.
There is always a risk of scarring with any procedure like this, but there is no reason to expect a scar from laser tattoo removal that is carried out correctly.
The way we work is to minimise scarring – there are a number of strategies we have, along with aftercare recommendations that will ensure the safety of your skin.
Please see our blog post for more in depth information.
The laser cannot tell the difference between tattoo pigment and natural skin pigment – therefore if you have natural pigment in your skin there is a risk that you will get white scarring from the tattoo removal process.
To calculate the risk level we use something called the Fitzpatrick skin type scale (picture) [or quiz?] If you have a skin type 1 to 4 then it is safe to treat you, but your bespoke aftercare advice will involve recommend to eliminate all sun exposure to the area until treatment is completed.
If you are skin type 5 or 6 then it is considered that you have a 100% risk of scarring and laser tattoo removal is not recommended for you. At No Regrets we have never refused treatment to someone based on skin colour, so if you do have dark skin please get in touch with us so we can tailor a treatment plan to your needs.
Each laser tattoo removal session will take a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes.
Laser treatment is much quicker than tattooing itself, and in this time we can cover the maximum healthy section size of skin.
There is a minimum of 6 weeks left between each treatment session.
Imagine the size of a palm of solid ink – that is the healthy maximum to work on in a session.
This is around 20 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted lasering or 5000 hits of the laser.
As long as your multiple tattoos all fit into the size of a palm then we will treat them in one session
Large tattoos are worked on in sections. For example, a tattoo the size of two palms of solid ink would be split into two sections.
One section would be treated, then the second can be treated two to three weeks later.
This gives the first section a head start to heal and remove pigment before we start the second.
If we were to laser more than the maximum section size there can be a number of adverse side effects
1. If too much ink pigment is released into the blood stream your body can literally get ‘clogged up’ with ink and you will not fade.
2. If the lasered area is too large it can take a long time to heal, meaning that scarring risk is increased.
A normal black tattoo will take between 6 and 10 laser sessions to be fully removed.
For a colour tattoo this can be upwards of 12 sessions.
It is not possible to estimate the amount of sessions just by looking at a tattoo, but these averages apply to most tattoos.
Yes! More than half of the work we do is to assist with cover-up work. We recommend leaving 3 to 4 months after your last laser session before you have your new tattoo.
This leaves plenty of time for the collagen fibres in your skin to knit back together.
Without this, your new tattoo pigment can become patchy and therefore need touch ups.
Yes! The laser only does half the work – it shatters the pigment allowing it to be removed.
The ink will fade fastest if you are constantly refreshing your body fluids, therefore by drinking a minimum of 2 litres (4 pints) of water everyday you are optimising fading.
If you do not keep hydrated, your tattoo will not fade.
We do not recommend going swimming before your laser treatment as chlorine may be left on your skin that will react with the laser. We recommend not to submerge your tattoo in water for four to five days after your laser session.
It is very important that the area that we are treating is kept completely out of the sun and any other UV exposure.
This would increase your scarring risk tremendously. If you plan to go on a sunbed or on holiday where you will be in the sun then we recommend that the treatment area is completely covered with your clothing or with a dressing.
You could also use high factor suncream but we recommend staying away from the sun completely for two weeks either side of your treatment.
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