We see alarming cases of tattoo removal gone wrong all too often. Many people come to our clinic with tattoo removal disasters caused by inexperienced laser technicians, the wrong laser equipment, lactic acid injections, tattoo removal creams as well as plenty of scarring from tattoo artists being too heavy-handed.
Chemical peels, injections and tattoo removal creams can remove layers of the skin before they get to where the ink actually lies, leaving the tattoo often in a worse state than when started. Laser treatments are the only way to remove unwanted tattoos however those seeking a removal or fade with a laser tattoo removal clinic should still be wary who they see and the equipment that is used.
We have had many seek our expertise and some of these clients have boldly agreed for us to publish the photos of tattoo removal disasters as a warning to others.
A Beauty Clinic Offering Laser Tattoo Removal Using a Cheap Laser Machine.
Many clinics that perform tattoo removal do not specialise in tattoo removal. Not only does that mean inexperienced staff, it also meant in this case a very cheap machine. Some machines from China for example can cost around $50,000 or less. Good tattoo removal machines cost from $150,000 and up. The problem with cheap machines is that the power output of the laser can be inconsistent and therefore has a much greater probability of causing burning to the skin. Unfortunately, this case of tattoo removal gone wrong is not a unique story.
Our client stated that the machine used on him sat on a bench top. In comparison, our laser tattoo removal machine is the size of a hippopotamus and is so heavy, it turns like a truck! It actually has 3 lasers within it for all colour removal and this particular company supplies lasers to the Vatican for fine art restoration. This means top quality and precision!
One of our favourite tattoo artists was approached not long ago by a salesperson trying to sell them a machine worth $35,000. They of course declined and come to us for fading for their redesigns.
Another article we have written touches on IPL machines. They are by no means designed for the tattoo removal industry and will cause skin to burn due to their long pulse duration (the time the skin is exposed to light). IPL is great for hair removal, dangerous for tattoo removal.
Lactic Acid Injections
Lactic Acid being injected into the skin creates a “moth eaten effect” within the tattoo. Unfortunately this can cause scarring deep within the dermis of the skin thereby impeding the laser removal process. This rose tattoo will now take us some time to remove but the good news is we have started to receive good results after the second visit even with all the deep scarring present.
We have had a few clients from other Sydney clinics come to us as well as a few who have been treated overseas. We can’t say whether it was the laser from the overseas clinics or inexperienced technicians that caused the damage ( or both!). Some technicians will be tempted to increase the power too much due to slow removal results. Patience is definitely required for a good safe removal as well as individually tailored treatments.
The best advice we offer is do your research. It is an unregulated industry so it is best to be careful. Here is what you should consider –
Training and Who uses the laser
What kind of training does the technician actually have? Our staff has been trained by an International Training company involved purely in teaching tattoo removal for over 30 years. At this point in time, anyone can open a laser tattoo removal business including beauticians, chefs, tattoo artists, office workers, even construction workers, literally anyone. University science based education and the understanding of lasers, laser applications and light therapy goes a long way!
What Laser Is Actually Used
Good lasers aren’t cheap so finding cheap options for removal is not necessarily a good idea for your skin. You will essentially get what you pay for; a good removal or scarred skin. The better machines are those designed primarily for tattoo removal, not beauty. Another very notable mention is the importance of a square spot size. Round spot sizes miss areas of the tattoo and are more prone to overlap, increasing the potential for skin damage. These machines are often also seen in the beauty industry as they work well for laser facial peels.
3. Have Patience
Most importantly have PATIENCE. A good technician/clinician should not rush the process. It also takes time for your body to remove your ink. Each tattoo must be personalised (Kirby-Desai Scale) based on skin colour, sensitivity, colour of the tattoo, the health of the body, and the tattoo location. This thorough process significantly reduces the risk of scarring and hyperpigmentation. You are not the same as anyone else, neither is your tattoo.
4. Don’t Be Sucked In By Marketing
Dr Asraf Badawi, a world leader in laser technology, Assistant Professor of Dermatology of the National Institute of Laser Enhanced Sciences, Board of Directors of the World Academy of Laser Application said at Cosmetic Conference in Sydney in 2016.
“There appears to be no difference between Pico and Nano second lasers [for tattoo removal] except marketing”
The science makes Pico better for inflammatory conditions of the face particularly in the Asian population, not tattoo removal.
One company recently has been sued for false advertising regarding Pico machines. You can read about it here
This client said he tried to burn the tattoo off using a home acid kit
So don’t be a victim of tattoo removal gone wrong! Do your research, read reviews and be wary of anyone that guarantees removal by a certain time or number of treatments. It is a scientific process and every tattoo is different as is the body that houses the tattoo. Cost isn’t always the criteria to choose who you see. You might end up paying a lot more due to inexperience. Good pre and post care can also make a great difference to your desired outcomes.