How does it work?
To understand how tattoo removal works, we must first learn how tattoos work.
When tattoo ink is placed into the skin, the depth is between 2-3mm in the dermis (middle layer of skin). Over time the body tries to remove these ink particles by sending white blood cells to the placed tattoo to try and break away the foreign particles (tattoo ink). When the white blood cells realise that the ink particles are too large to take away, the body locks the tattoo into place with collagen, this is what makes the tattoo permanent.
That’s where the laser comes in. When the Q-Switched Nd:Yag laser comes into contact with a tattoo, the laser light is absorbed by the tattoo ink. This creates a photo acoustic shock wave that releases the heat from the tattoo and shatters it into minute particles (this is known as a photo mechanical effect). When the particles are shattered, they are then able to be carried away by the white blood cells and leave the body through the lymphatic system, then through the kidneys and out through your urine. So in affect you are flushing away your tattoo!
Frequently asked questions
Does the laser remove all colours?
In principle, the laser can remove all kinds of tattoos by varying between different laser wavelengths for different colours. Since all tattoos are not the same in terms of colour, depth of ink as well as their chemical composition, some may respond differently. This is why we test patch a small area before carrying out full treatments to know what to expect.
Do I have to have a test patch?
Yes, test patching and consultation is mandatory by law. It gives us the chance to asses and see how easily the tattoo will be removed. One of the technicians will quote you a price and go through a consent form with you, then if all is good (no photo-sensitive conditions, immune system problems etc.) we will perform a test patch. This consists of 3 laser shots on each colour of the tattoo (e.g: black, blue and purple – 9 shots). We will then book you in for 2 weeks later to carry out a full treatment.
Does it hurt?
The amount of pain felt will depend on the type of tattoo, the amount of treatment required and your own pain threshold. Some clients would describe it as no more than uncomfortable, where others will describe it as an elastic band flicked against the skin. The truth is that you will not know how painful you will find treatment until you try it! We do give advice on pain relief if you need it.
Does it cause scarring?
The tattoo is actually a scar (as pretty as it might be!), although there is a risk of scarring with any laser, in most cases, scarring is not a significant risk for tattoo removal with the Nd:Yag laser. Tattoo removal has become associated with scarring because the first lasers used for tattoo removal were very aggressive and carried a very high risk of scarring. The Nd:Yag laser does not heat the surrounding skin significantly and the risk of scarring is much reduced.
How many sessions are needed and at what intervals?
Customers will see a reduction after the first treatment, however to completely remove a tattoo depends on the ink, colour and how deep it has been put into the skin. It could be up to 10 treatments with intervals of 6 weeks between treatments. However, It is very tricky to precisely tell how many treatments you will need, as we do not know how professionally the tattoo has been done, how strong your immune system is and how deep the ink. It is sometimes a case of sitting for a treatment and seeing how well your body disperses the ink in the 6 weeks.
How long does a treatment take?
This depends on the size of the tattoo; a small tattoo might take 5 minutes, where a large, or multiple tattoos could take an hour or more.
I live very far away! Can you quote laser removal via picture?
In some cases. It is sometimes very hard to get a perspective on how big a tattoo is when we cannot see it in person. We do offer our clients to send over images via email or Facebook messenger of the tattoo they have, along with something next to the tattoo for size comparison (e.g. ruler or bank note) then we can give an estimate quote.
I understand the process and want to come in for treatment.
If you’re ready for removal, just pop in to see us where we can get one of the technicians to talk to you and book you in for a test patch/consultation. Or alternately call or message us to book a test patch/consultation. We hope to see you soon.