Laser Tattoo Removal FAQ
Tattoo art: Katie Wilson
Let’s be clear – when your tattoos are as thought-out and beautifully executed as those of artist Katie Wilson (above), you’ll never want to even think about removing them.
But… sometimes a tattoo can bring woe. Whatever your reason, you may have a change of heart big enough that you think – yes, it’s worth the money and effort to remove this tattoo, now.
Laser Tattoo Removal – Frequently Asked Questions
Laser tattoo removal is the process of using a laser to remove tattoo ink from the skin. This works by the laser dislodging the ink molecules from the skin where they have settled after healing. While dislodging the molecules the laser also breaks them down. This is where the human body’s natural defences kick in; the white blood cells within your body know that the ink molecules are foreign bodies within your system. They seek out these molecules and when they find them they carry them away as waste to the body’s natural filtration system, the kidneys, you then expel it as waste through your urine etc. The process essentially uses technology and the human body’s natural systems to clear your body of the unwanted tattoo.
Does laser removal hurt?
Yes, it does. the most common description given is that it feels like the spitting of hot fat when cooking a fried egg.
Will one session of laser removal completely remove my tattoo?
It is possible (but highly unlikely) that one session will be enough. In most cases, 3-6 sessions is the minimum amount required.
Is there any reason why laser removal won’t work?
Yes, there is: if the tattoo has not been done correctly you can have what we call a blow out. This is where the artist went too deep while doing the tattoo and the ink has spread underneath the skin. If this has happened, the laser removal process will not work as the laser will not penetrate that deep for safety reasons. The ink that sits above the blowout can be removed, but there may be a slight discolouration left.
I want my tattoo removed as quickly as possible. What’s the smallest amount of time I can leave between sessions?
The most common minimum time between sessions advised is 4 weeks. This is the absolute minimum you can leave. We advise leaving 6 weeks between sessions. The reason is that the area may look healed to the naked eye but there may still be healing taking place under the skin which is not visible and after 6 weeks this healing will be fully complete.
Is laser removal effective on all colours?
Yes, it is – but the effectiveness depends on the colour. You may be surprised to hear that black is by far the easiest colour to remove. As the colours get lighter the harder they are to remove. It’s down to the principle of light absorption – darker colours take in more of the laser’s power while lighter colours reflect more of the laser’s power. S,o for instance, black ink may absorb 80-95% of the laser’s power while yellow may only absorb 40-50% of the laser’s power.
Does it blister or scab?
Yes to both – however, it doesn’t always blister. Blistering can depend on the amount of laser removal an area has gone through. For instance, a large area of black will most likely blister, and a small name is less likely to blister. Scabbing is much more common. In both cases it is normal.
What do I do if it does blister?
We advise all clients to keep the area covered for the first two days to a week with a low adherent dressing to provide cushioning and a protective layer over the top of any blistering. Before applying the dressing, apply a layer of anti bacterial cream to help avoid infection. If blistering does occur? Take care to not tear them, avoid any physical contact sports and take care around animals and children.
Can it leave scars?
The process of carrying out laser removal itself can’t scar you, because the process itself doesn’t cut into the skin. Scaring can occur if the area is not cared for properly after the treatment. As mentioned above, blistering can occur; scaring can only happen if these blisters are, for example, torn during the healing process. To avoid this, follow the above steps.
Can I have a tattoo over an area that has had laser removal?
Yes you can. At our Worcester Tattoo Studio, we use laser removal a lot when asked for cover ups. The process can be used to lighten an area all the way up to being fully removed. This gives us many more options when it comes to the actual cover up process. You must wait a minimum of 3 months after your last removal session before having the area tattooed to ensure it is fully healed.