Lasers have been used for tattoo removal for more than 20 years and remain the gold standard in removing tattoos today. Over the past few years, several non-laser based tattoo removal techniques have emerged with extraordinary claims about their ability to remove professional tattoos. The non-laser techniques are questionable at best and often dangerous to the skin.
The process begins when a laser emits a pulse of light that is absorbed into certain colours of ink. The laser light penetrates the skin at high speed (billionths of a second) that produces a shock wave effect that disperses the ink particles into smaller pieces. The body then identifies these particles as something that shouldn't be there and attacks and removes these via the body's immune system.
Unlike most other laser devices in the market today, Revlite™ Laser can emit 4 wavelengths of laser beams and is therefore able to target the widest possible range of ink colours. In our experience, not all colours respond very well to Laser treatment. Blacks and reds are removed effectively as well as some brown, purple, orange, pink and occasionally yellow ink. Greens and blues are less effective, although these can be faded by up to 50% allowing for a more successful cover-up. It has been found that 80-90% of tattoo images are made from black ink.
Ink Pigment And Skin Depth
Different colour ink settles in different depths of the skin. Black ink settles the deepest in the skin, Blues/Greens settle mid skin and Reds/Oranges settle at the surface of the skin. In order to successfully treat different ink colours, you need different wavelengths to properly target each colour and its depth within the skin.
You Can’t Change Physics
In the world of tattoo removal, the two most important factors a wavelength has is 1) how deep the wavelength penetrates the skin and 2) the colour or colours does the wavelength targets.
When considering where ink colours reside within the skin, research has proven the best wavelength to successfully target dark pigment (Black, Dark Blues, etc.)
is the ND: Yag 1064. The best wavelength to target the difficult Blue and Green colours is the 694 and the only wavelength to target Red is the 532.
Every tattoo responds differently due to several variables including the age of the tattoo, the depth of the ink and whether it was a professional or amateur piece will determine the number of sessions required. Then there are variations in ink colours and their chemical compositions, the density of ink placement, skin type and individual immune system factors. Predicting how many treatments any tattoo will require is an educated guess. During your consultation, your doctor will make an estimate of the number of tattoo removal sessions needed to remove your tattoo. On average most black ink tattoos require between 10 to 15 sessions spread over several months.
Both Revlite SI™ and Picosure™ lasers are manufactured by the same US company, Cynosure™(Cynosure recently purchased Hoya Conbio). Revlite is a Q-Switched Laser operating in a nanosecond range delivering 1064 nm and 532 nm wavelengths and with MultiLite Dye Handpieces extending the wavelength capabilities to include 585 nm and 650 nm. Hence, 4 wavelengths to target the most diverse range of tattoo inks. Picosure™ Laser operates in picosecond range but able to generate only one wavelength, 755.
It can stop short of deep black colour due to shorter wavelength hence is may potentially be unable to fully remove the ink.
It cannot remove red coloured inks.
Tattoo fading is a slow process and is dependent on your body’s immune system to work. We recommend that you wait at least 4 to 5 weeks to get the greatest value from each laser treatment.
The discomfort of laser tattoo removal is often described as a “rubber band snapping the skin” but it can vary from client to client. We do our utmost to minimize any pain or discomfort possible. We also use high-strength topical numbing cream as well as skin cooling with a cryo-chiller device, which are both highly effective when used together.
It takes four weeks for the body to start breaking down the ink and even though the tattoo may appear healed, it is not. The laser breaks the ink down into smaller pieces and then the body must remove it. This process takes 4 to 6 weeks so getting treated sooner will not make the tattoo remove any faster and can also put you at risk for scarring.
Limit the amount of physical activity that you do and sun exposure for the first 24 hours. If the body gets too overheated it can cause the tattoo to blister. Showers can be taken but only if they are lukewarm and you use mild soap.
Yes, the laser is accurate and can remove unwanted parts of a tattoo.
Yes, this is the most commonly performed laser tattoo removal treatment at Medaesthetics®. There is a small risk associated with it. Some cosmetic inks have metallic bases and when the laser beam hits it, it can turn black. Once this darkening occurs, it can take several sessions to fix it. A test spot is always done first.
The price of the treatments depends on the size of the tattoo you are having treated. We will have to see the exact size of the tattoo first because we do not charge for open space. Most people tend to overestimate the size of their tattoo. For reference, a coin-sized tattoo costs $150 per session.
Of course, depending on the colours of the tattoo we recommend having 3 to 5 treatment sessions done to lighten the area before having a cover-up tattoo put on. You should wait at least 6 weeks between your last treatment and having your new tattoo put on.
Blisters and scabs are normal; however, you should not pop or pick at them. If any blister/s are bothering you, please feel free to call us and arrange to come in and have it/them drained. If the blister pops on its own, keep the skin over it and cover with a healing ointment and gauze. This will promote healing and prevent scarring.
Unfortunately, health insurance does not cover this procedure.
Unfortunately, no. You must wait 6 weeks after a tattoo has been put on before starting the removal process.
It is important to understand that not all tattoo removal lasers available today are the same. Only top of the range Class 4 (C4) Q-Switched Lasers from the US and European manufacturers can properly tackle the inks of professionally done tattoos. These high-end laser platforms are extremely expensive (over $100,000) and in Western Australia, by law they can only be sold by the manufacturers to dermatological clinics operated by medical doctors. Non-medical personnel can only operate certain low powered laser devices. Manufactured in China and Korea, these devices are not able to remove professionally done tattoos, often deliver suboptimal results and have a significantly higher risk of tissue scarring. It is imperative for anyone wanting to have a tattoo removed, to ask about the professional qualification of their service provider and what laser device is being used in-house.
Aftercare of laser tattoo removal is very similar to the aftercare you had to follow when you initially had the tattoo. During laser treatment, your tattoo may turn white briefly. It then swells somewhat and may turn red, but this usually lasts only a few hours. It is important to keep that tattoo covered with ointment and a bandage for the first day. Usually, it feels like a mild sunburn and does not hurt unless rubbed against. Between your treatments, it is important to keep the tattoo covered from the sun to prevent hyperpigmentation (darkening). You will receive detailed instructions during your appointment.
There are other ways to remove tattoos, but the results can be disappointing and carry a relatively high complication risk. Injections, creams, acid and other non-laser methods are, in our experience, not just ineffective but potentially hazardous. If these low-cost alternatives worked, we would use them. You need to know all the facts before deciding on tattoo removal.
Acid, or chemical removal: These methods involve the use of a concentrated caustic compound to chemically burn skin tissue to the depth of the tattoo itself. This can obliterate the tattoo but only through the formation of scar tissue, which may still contain pigment. Scarring is inevitable but removal is not assured. Several scientific sounding acronyms such as Trans Epidermal Pigment Release (TEPR) have been used to mask what is in fact simply a chemical burning.
Medaesthetics® does not recommend using such methods. Chemical injection burns and scarring are the main complications that we see and while we can usually improve on the mess that is left behind, in most cases, we can never completely repair third-degree chemical burns.
Dermabrasion: To remove the pigment, layers of skin are removed, and full thickness scarring will result. If the treatment fails to go deep enough only partial thickness scarring will occur but remnants of the tattoo can remain.
Surgery: Removing the skin which contains the tattoo and replacing it with a partial thickness skin graft from elsewhere on the body – two areas of scarring will result.
If you want your tattoo removed effectively, whilst minimising the risks of skin damage and scarring, you should be treated with a high-end Q-switched Ruby or Q-switched Nd: Yag Laser. This is the proven method for safe tattoo removal. High energy Q-Switched laser treatments are the only safe and effective method of tattoo removal in the world currently.
Non-Laser Tattoo Removal methods by non-medical operators almost always involve an injection of chemical acids to burn the skin in an attempt to fade away the tattoo ink. Third-degree burns have been reported after such treatments which leave lifelong scarring.
Dr Jadoon behind the scenes with a typical "tattoo eyeliner" case.
Watch to see the full procedure and explanation by Dr. Jadoon.
Every cosmetic procedure carries risk. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. All images displayed on this website are the property of Medaesthetics™. Formal Consent has been obtained from the respective individual (where required) who images have been used. Before/After photos are of actual Medaestheicst® Patients and are for reference purpose only. Individual results may vary.