Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal is an easy and effective way of lightening your existing tattoo and gives you many more options in regards to covering up or reworking your old tattoo. From the first session you should see a good result - depending on a few factors. It is not as expensive as you think - prices start from 30 pounds and pain-wise it is no worse than having the tattoo put on it the first place!
Laser Clinic at Tribe
Roz runs the laser clinic in Tribe 1 47 West Nicolson Street Edinburgh Tuesday - friday and second Saturday, and in Glasgow Tribe 2 every second Saturday. Please feel free to drop by then to have a consult or chat about whether laser treatment is an option for you. Otherwise you can ring Roz to chat - at Tribe 1 on 0131 622 7220. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After 2 treatments on an old tattoo. The cover up.
Laser Treatment Fact-Sheet
-Why does the ink stay in the skin when you have a tattoo?
When you have a tattoo the particles of ink are too large for the body to destroy, so instead it encapsulates the particles of ink with a network of collagen fibres as the skin heals, and there the tattoo remains.
-How does the YAG laser work to remove it?
The laser emits a pulse of light that is preferentially absorbed into certain colours of ink. The light enters the skin at a speed that is too fast to heat the tissues (billionths of a second), instead, it produces a ‘shock wave’ effect and breaks up the ink particles into smaller pieces, the body then recognises these particles as something that shouldn’t be there and attacks it. The particles are then removed naturally via the body’s own elimination system.
-Can you treat all colours?
No. Light is measured in nanometres and there are two wavelengths of light that are emitted from this laser -one is invisible infrared light(1064nm) and the other is visible green light(532nm). The infrared wavelength is preferably absorbed into black and dark blue inks, whereas the green light is absorbed by red ink. It is possible to treat some other colours although white,yellow and bright colours are difficult. This is not usually a problem however, as lighter colours cover very easily. If you wish to cover- up an existing tattoo then the darker colours will be faded or removed, allowing you greater choice of size and colour of the cover-up design you choose.
-Why is it difficult to treat colours other than red and black?
The light will only see the colour ink it is attracted to as different wavelengths absorb into different things. It is not possible to produce a laser that can see all colours as some wavelengths are too shallow when absorbed to affect the ink, others can absorb into other matter and damage the skin in the process. Another reason is that all ink pigments contain certain levels of heavy metals. Some pigments may have a higher concentration of some of these than others, and these heavy metals can react with the laser light and carbonise in the skin, turning the ink black. It is very difficult to remove the ink when this has happened so, if you have other colours you would like treating, the laser operator will perform a test patch for you to see if it is possible before proceeding.
-Will the tattoo be removed in one treatment?
No, the light can only shatter a certain amount of ink in one treatment, so several treatments are needed at monthly to 6 weekly intervals to work through the layers. You will notice the tattoo fades more and more with every treatment you have. A professional tattoo can take between 10 -20 treatments although some Indian ink and amateur tattoos can be removed within 6 treatments and sometimes only take 1 or 2. There are several factors that influence the number of treatments required, these can be down to how easily you heal , how deep the ink is in the skin, and the types of ink that were used. Generally speaking the longer you have had the tattoo and the darker it is, the easier it is to remove.
-Will my tattoo disappear completely?
It is possible, but we cannot guarantee that your tattoo will be removed completely, this is due to the same factors that affect the number of treatments required, such as the depth of ink in the skin, type of ink, healing ability ect. Certain areas may contain deeper ‘pockets’ of ink that are very difficult to remove.
-What happens to my skin after treatment?
The immediate after effect of the treatment is that the skin turns temporarily white, this is due to water evaporation and disappears within an hour. The skin also swells and feels like mild sunburn, this usually disappears within 24 hours. The body continues to remove ink after the treatment and the skin is usually back to normal within 2-4 days. Full aftercare instructions will be discussed and given to you by the laser operator at the consultation.
-Are there any side affects?
Sometimes bleeding and/or blistering can occur. Again, there are varying reasons why this happens but it can be due to high concentrations of ink in the skin, like when treating a cover-up for example. The laser operator will adjust the treatment to try and prevent this from happening so the skin can heal properly.
-Will the laser treatment scar my skin?
No. If bleeding or blistering does occur it is very important not to pick any scabs that may result when the skin is healing - this could cause scarring, and should be avoided as scar tissue can make further treatments more difficult.
-How much will it cost?
Prices generally start from £30 per session for a small tattoo and increase in amount depending on the size of the tattoo. Your laser operator will be able to give you a personal quote once he/she has assessed your tattoo in the consultation.
-How long will the treatment take?
Treatment can take between 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the size of the tattoo. Large tattoos may need to be treated in 2 separate appointments.
-Does it hurt?
The treatment feels similar to an elastic band being snapped at the skin and is easily tolerated by most people without any need for anaesthetic.