If you do an internet search for laser tattoo removal you might be easily overwhelmed with all the information and choices.
Here are 10 things you need to know about laser tattoo removal – read the list if you’re in a rush or follow the links to the detail.
- Laser machines can fade a tattoo for remodelling as well as remove it.
- Yes it hurts, but probably less than it hurt to get the tattoo and good clinicians can reduce discomfort.
- The laser machine technology is VERY important.
- The healthier you are, the quicker your tattoo will fade.
- Even a little exercise goes a long way.
- Removing or fading a tattoo will always take more than 1 treatment.
- A tattoo created by a professional tattoo artist will take longer to fade or clear than one created by an amateur.
- Safe and effective tattoo fading or removal takes time.
- The location and colour of the tattoo will also impact the tattoo clearance time.
- Your skin goes through a healing process post treatment – some things are normal, others are not.
1. You don’t have to hate your tattoo to want it removed or changed.
Many people think tattoo removal is to remove every trace of the tattoo, whilst this is true for some, it’s not true for all.
Many people who want their tattoo removed are actually only unhappy with an aspect of their tattoo. Every tattoo is different but generally it is possible to fade or remove just a part of the tattoo. Obvious things like your former partner’s name under in a heart or “Death Before Dishonour” across a skull or something like that, can generally be removed without removing the part of the tattoo you like.
Once the old Tattoo is sufficiently faded or has been removed altogether, it’s then possible to re tattoo over the area again.
2. Yes, tattoo removal hurts – but not that much.
Yes, there is some discomfort with laser tattoo removal.
But probably not as much as getting the tattoo done in the first place. In fact when you got your tattoo done, it most likely hurt much more, but a mixture of excitement, anxiety, bravado and maybe even some Dutch Courage helped you get through it.
If you decide to get a tattoo removed using laser technology, you might feel anxious with the unknown, a bit of disappointment or sadness, maybe regret for a mistake you now need to correct. Worse still, you don’t have the excitement of having something new to show for the process either.
Most people describe the process as like getting your skin flicked repeatedly with an elastic band and afterwards it’s like sunburn – an uncomfortable feeling rather than painful.
The cold air that is directed to the area during treatment and for a short time afterwards makes a huge difference to your comfort too.
Renude Laser is the only tattoo removal clinic in Australia to offer additional Low Level Laser Therapy as part of their pre and post treatment protocols in the tattoo removal process. Read how we reduce discomfort and improve healing times.
3. Not all laser machines should be used for tattoo removal.
Lasers come in all shapes and sizes. The ones used for hair removal for instance, are definitely not suitable for tattoo removal. Even some lasers specifically designed for tattoo removal are unable to remove all colours or have the strength to even do it well.
You need to ask the tattoo removal clinic what type of laser they have and what wavelength they operate at before you sign up for a series of tattoo removal treatments.
If they use a dye attachment to change the wavelength to target other tattoo pigments, don’t bother. These machines won’t harm you, but they just won’t do the job.
You should read this article about different types of laser machines used for tattoo removal which describes how the technology works that is easy to read. It also links to a court case regarding a laser machine manufacturer being prosecuted for false advertising claims regarding the effectiveness of its lasers. It will answer all your questions and direct you to the right laser whether you are looking to remove fade or modify your tattoo.
Energy dispersion and shape of the laser beam
The other consideration with laser tattoo removal machines is the way the machines disperse energy and the spot shape of the laser beam.
Even distribution of energy means there will be no scarring.
A square shaped laser beam versus a round spot is also another difference with laser tattoo removal machines that has a significant effect on how clean, efficient and even the tattoo fades. A square beam means there is very little chance of overlap. Round beams create small gaps in the treatment area because putting a small circle next to a small circle means that there are areas that are missed and will need to be targeted. But this means there are areas of your tattoo which will be hit twice with a laser beam, which potentially is more damaging to the skin.
Look at the image below that demonstrate the effectiveness of a square dot beam.
Renude Laser’s machine is the first tattoo removal machine to have even energy dispersion and has a square spot beam.
4. The healthier you are, the faster your tattoo fades.
Did you realise that the removal of you tattoo ink is already taking place in your body pretty much straight after the first day you get a tattoo done? True! Your body’s immune system attacks the foreign substance (the tattoo inks) over a very long period of time, slowly breaking them down.
You might notice that some tattoos on older people will look a little faded. In new tattoos however, the particles are too big to be effectively chomped away by your immune system. The best your body can do on its own is slightly fade the tattoo over a very long period of time.
Laser tattoo removal involves targeting the different coloured tattoo inks with a specific lasers of differing wavelengths that shatters the tattoo ink particles into much smaller pieces for the immune system to attack and flush from your body. A healthy diet that helps the body get rid of the shattered ink will make an enormous difference to the effectiveness of the removal process. You might like to download our detox guide from our home page for information on effective tattoo removal.
5. Exercise significantly improves tattoo removal clearance times
Ok you don’t have to join a gym, but exercise, even just mild exercise for 15 mins once or twice a day will improve the rate at which the body removes the tattoo ink.
As discussed earlier, it’s the body’s lymphatic system that removes the ink, so if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, very little will change with your tattoo.
If you are able to exercise however, increasing your heart rate up and getting all your limbs moving, your lymphatic system will be stimulated and the removal process becomes accelerated.
Shattered tattoo ink is moved through your lymphatic system and then out of your body. The lymphatic system is a network of valves that removes waste from your body – it requires the action of your muscles to move the lymph fluid. It also loves water, so drink plenty of it.
6. Tattoo removal is a process – one treatment isn’t enough
Tattoo ink is deposited into the deeper layers of your skin. Each laser tattoo removal session essentially gets rid of one layer at a time.
Anywhere from 4 to 15 treatments are needed depending on the ink density, whether the tattoo was created by a professional or an amateur, where the tattoo is located, your skin type, the colours used in the tattoo and how big the tattoo is. If it is a very large tattoo, this might be broken up into a 2 phased treatment plan.
7. Professional versus Amateur Tattoos
Tattoos created by amateurs are generally only placed in the shallower layers of the skin compared to tattoos created by professional tattoo artists where the ink is deposited much deeper within your skin. It is important to know that the needles used by professionals can deposit ink into the deep part of the skin up to 50-3000 times a minute. That means a lot more ink to remove.
8. Time is needed between your appointments
The healing time required between each laser tattoo removal session is typically 8 weeks, although renude clients are often back within 6 weeks due to our proprietary pre and post treatment and superior laser technology. This time is required for your body’s lymphatic system to do its work to flush the shattered ink particles away.
Once the first layer of ink particles are shattered, we have to wait for your immune cells to gather them up and eliminate them from your body. It happens little by little. Time is needed not only for the removal of the tattoo pigments but also for the treatment area to heal well.
Clients at renude laser clinics are encouraged to return for additional complimentary Low Level Laser Therapy sessions that are dedicated solely to healing and stimulation of lymphatic drainage.
9. Location and colour of your tattoo is important too
Tattoos in some areas of the body are actually harder to remove than others.
This relates back to your lymphatic system and its network of valves. The further the tattoo is away from the heart, the harder it is to remove. Foot and ankle tattoos will probably take longer to remove than a tattoo on your back.
Also some tattoo pigments do not respond well to the laser tattoo removal process Yellow and white ink for instance, are too close to your natural skin colour and lasers which are designed to target different colours with different wavelengths will not be entirely effective with colours close to your natural skin tone.
10. What to expect after treatment
The skin does not take long to heal after a treatment, particularly with the proprietary pre and post treatment care at Renude Laser. But you still need to protect it.
You can sometimes expect pinpoint bleeding and swelling, all of which subsides within a few days. When specific Q switched lasers are used a “white frosting” occurs immediately after the treatment and only lasts for about 10 minutes. This is the body’s process of pushing water from your skin layers up to the surface. It is important to note that this is VERY different to a blister which is damage caused by overheating of the skin, poor technique and inappropriate technology. Good white frosting is a sign of the ink shattering well, however, it is less prevalent when there is less ink which tends to happen after a few tattoo removal sessions.
Hypo-pigmentation (whitening) can occur in darker skin types. Lower machine settings should be used for those with darker skin and often greater time is needed in between appointments to help minimize this. A good machine clinician should advise you of this. The skin generally returns to normal.
Hyper-pigmentation (darkening) can occur if there are metallic inks, particularly seen in cosmetic tattoos.
Some people are prone to scarring – often these people would have also had a reaction when they initially had their tattoo done in the first place. Scarring is rare (less than 1%) with the right machine, the right care and the right clinician.
So in summary, with the right knowledge, a bit of healthy living, the best technology and some patience your tattoo can be removed or faded to a level that you’re happy with. Don’t settle for second best however – re-loving the skin you’re in is worth it.
The Renude Laser Point of Difference
We pride ourselves on the use of world-first technology and unparalleled client care. Our clients experience less pain, faster tattoo fading, faster healing in a carefully monitored treatment plan designed by our experienced clinicians..
As a client you will benefit enormously from:
- Our exclusive pre and post treatment use of a special Low Level Laser Therapy, which minimises discomfort and accelerates healing by repairing the skin and stimulating the lymphatic system. No other tattoo removal clinic in Australia offers this treatment.
- The best laser tattoo removal machine on the market that offer 3 true wavelengths for all colours.
- A laser machine whose laser beam is a square spot rather than round, which reduces any chance of treated skin being targeted a second time which leads to skin damage and scarring.
- Even dispersion of energy that minimises any potential for scarring.
- Our at home post treatment care package is focussed on giving you the tools and techniques to help you clean the ink out of your body. Read this is important article about a woman being misdiagnosed with cancer because of her tattoos.
- Our senior practitioners have 25 years in health care industry as well as 27 years in the art world. This means that we have an eye for your art, irrespective of whether you want it modified or removed and science in our hearts for the best laser treatment outcomes.