LASER TATTOO REMOVAL
Do you have a tattoo you regret? Would you like part of a tattoo removed? Do you need a tattoo fading for a cover-up tattoo? Do you have a tattoo that needs removing urgently (up to 5x5cm)?
Q-Switched Laser Tattoo Removal available at Beautiful U
WHAT TYPE OF LASER DO YOU USE?
Medical grade, Q-switched Nd:YAG laser. This clinical laser delivers the energy quickly and allows for the safest and most effective tattoo removal.
Q-Switched stands for ‘quality-switched laser’ and this laser targets short pulses of light energy at a tattoo which shatters the pigments into tiny particles.
HOW DOES THE LASER TREATMENT WORK ON TATTOOS?
This laser produces a very high power in quick pulses. The light enters the skin at a speed that is too fast to heat the tissues (billionths of a second). The light energy passes through skin and specifically targets the tattoo ink/pigment deep in the dermis layer. As the ink absorbs this light energy, breaking down into small particles, the body’s immune response recognises these particles and removes them naturally via the body’s own elimination system. The tattoo begins to fade over the coming weeks.
IS THE TATTOO REMOVAL LASER DANGEROUS?
Tattoo removal lasers are very safe for use when used by a trained laser operator with proper safety equipment (goggles to protect the eyes). The radiation emitted by a tattoo removal laser is non-ionizing and carries no risk of cancer or other abnormal cell growth.
DOES IT HURT?
Laser tattoo removal has been described as the feeling of having a rubber band snapped on your skin, or like hot fat splashing on your skin. Tattoo removal treatments on areas with more fat like the arms and thighs are generally not as painful as areas where there is less fat or close to a bone like the neck, ankle, or finger.
Fortunately, the discomfort does decrease as treatment progresses and the tattooing fades. Most patients will tolerate the discomfort of treatment very well.
WHAT HAPPENS IMMEDIATELY AFTER TREATMENT?
Straight after treatment the area will feel hot and skin will form small white 'blisters', these are water vapour spots created by the intense heat under the skin and might be flat or slightly raised. This is due to the release of microscopic steam bubbles in your skin. This change usually lasts no more than a few minutes before it disappears, this is perfectly normal and a good sign that the treatment is working. The white spots start to fade quickly, and the remaining ink will start to show through.
WILL THE LASER TREATMENT LEAVE ME WITH A SCAR?
It is unusual to develop any scarring (a 5% chance) but can occur especially with poor aftercare. The light pulses it emits are only in contact with the skin for literally billionths of a second, there is not enough time for a significant build-up of heat in the skin. If you are concerned about scarring allow 12 weeks in between sessions instead of 8.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS?
Most side effects of laser procedures are temporary, generally few and to be expected. Normally symptoms will subside within a week and may include:
• Localised Swelling and Redness - The most common side effects and could feel similar to sunburn for a day or two
• Blistering - Don't worry when blistering occurs, this is part of the normal healing process, and the skin will heal nicely afterwards as long as you do not pick and scratch the scab.
• Infection - Following each of the treatment sessions there is always a high risk of infection to the area. It is very important that you maintain a good level of hygiene.
• Scabbing - If you do experience blistering and/or bleeding, when the scab forms as with any healing wound it is very important not to pick any scabbing as this could cause scarring and impair further treatments.
• Hypopigmentation - Loss of skin colour may occur. But normal skin tone should return within 6 – 12 months following your last treatment session. Very occasionally the hypopigmentation effect can be permanent, or pigment will return in patches. As a general guideline, the darker the skin and the more treatments required, the more risk there is of long-term de-pigmentation.
• Hyperpigmentation - An abundance of colour in the skin at the treated area. This problem is more common in patients with darker skin types and patients with fresh tans are also more at risk. Hyperpigmentation is usually always a temporary effect that resolves over time.
• Sunburn. - It is important that you keep the area covered in a minimum SPF30 sunblock at all times when the area is not covered by clothing or a sterile bandage.
• Lack of complete pigment removal – Some colours cannot be treated, traces (or ghosting) of colour pigmentation may remain after treatment.
• Slight pin-prick bleeding or weeping - This is all normal and nothing to worry about.
• Allergic Reaction - A possible development an allergic reaction to your tattoo dye as it is released into your system. Hence why a patch test is very important.
Detailed written aftercare instructions will be provided - PLEASE follow them.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REMOVE A TATTOO?
Many factors influence how many sessions are needed, such as Fitzpatrick skin type, location of the tattoo don't he body, tattoo colour(s), saturation/density, any scarring/tissue damage from when the tattoo was originally done, layers of ink/cover up tattoos, and the patients general health.
On average it takes around 10 complete sessions to remove a tattoo but can vary between 8-12 sessions and sometimes longer. Each person and each tattoo are unique, so the number of treatment sessions you will need can vary.
The maximum working area to treat in one session is the size of the patient’s palm of their hand, this size guide allows the liver to remove the fragmented ink safely, and without causing ink poisoning.
An interval of at least 8 weeks (sometimes as much as 12 weeks) is required between sessions before working on the same area, however for larger tattoo removal the next session can be 2 weeks later when working on a different area of the tattoo.
It is important to allow 8-12 weeks for your skin to fully recover, but also to allow 8-12 weeks for your body to fully dispel the ink from the area, this takes your body a considerable amount of time as the ink is fragmented into tiny particles which have to be removed by your own lymphatic system. The surface ink is removed by the body first, then the lower layers and so on.
CAN I HAVE JUST A PART OF MY TATTOO REMOVED?
Yes, just part of your tattoo can be removed. You can also have it faded ready for a cover up tattoo to go directly over the top.
CAN YOU REMOVE ALL COLOURS?
Not all colours. Light green, yellow and light blue can be a problem, I have a choice of wavelengths to help overcome this, but these colours are not always guaranteed to remove.
Also, as we don’t know how the original colour was created, for example, was your green ink just green ink, or was it made by mixing blue and yellow, if so, the blue particles may fade before the yellow and some yellow may even remain, as colours will fade at different rates.
Fluorescent colours and white ink cannot be removed due to reflecting the laser light instead of absorbing it.
WILL MY TATTOO BE COMPLETELY REMOVED?
Sometimes the total elimination of the tattoo is not possible. The success of the treatments depends on more than just the type of tattoo ink used as mentioned in the previous question.
DO YOU DO THE R20 METHOD?
Yes. This method removes 70% of the tattoo in just one session (59% removal of homemade tattoos), therefore cutting down the removal time considerably. The laser is passed over the tattoo four times in just one session. It is only suitable for black tattoo’s under 5x5cm. This method is Ideal for military enrolment for unsightly tattoos or brides-to-be who need a quick removal. Allow 2 hours for the R20 method (due to the 20min wait time in between each pass to allow the white frosting to subside). Any remaining tattoo can be treated with an individual session(s) after 8 weeks. The R20 method has a slightly higher risk to texture change of the skin.
AM I SUITABLE FOR LASER TREATMENT?
Suitable for up to and including a Fitzpatrick skin type 4 (diagram bottom of page). If you have had any previous reactions to laser tattoo removal you must not have the procedure again - a second reaction can be severe.
It is important for the effectiveness of the treatment that you are generally fit and well and that your immune system is not compromised and functions as normal. You will complete a short medical questionnaire to determine suitability
There are some conditions that prohibit you from treatment, and common medications that may cause photosensitivity can include, but are not limited to: Antibiotics Antidepressants Antihistamines Antihypertensives Antiparasitics Antipsychotics Contraceptives Diuretics Hypoglycaemics NSAID and Retinoids. But all of this will be listed in the medical consent form.
For more information on contra-indications that could prohibit you from treatment click here...
DO I NEED A CONSULTATION & PATCH TEST?
Yes, treatment cannot go ahead with it. Beautiful U requires you to complete a short Medical Questionnaire before you commence any laser or IPL treatments. This will be emailed to you prior to your initial consultation, this allows to check your suitabilty for treatment, as some conditions or medications prohibit you from laser treatments and would be unsafe for you at that time.
It is not uncommon to request you obtain GP authorisation before treatment can go ahead for some conditions or medications.
During the consultation the treatment will be discussed fully and a series of 3 small patch tests (at various energies) will be caried out, enabling the correct parameters to be established and check your skin's tolerance to light. Full treatment can then commence 3-14 days later following no adverse reactions.
Each time you return for subsequent appointments you will be asked to sign in agreement you have not been tanning and that no changes to your medical history or medication have taken place since your previous treatment. It is your responsibility to inform Beautiful U of any health or medication changes throughout the course of your treatment. Failure to do so may result in complications.
For more information on contraindications that could affect treatment click here
It is very important you follow the aftercare advice. Failure to follow the advice and keep up good hygiene may cause infection. If honey coloured fluid (pus) is oozing from the blistered skin, seek medical attention from your GP who may prescribe antibiotic cream. Your next treatment will be delayed by a minimum of six weeks in addition to the usual time 8-12 weeks in-between sessions. Other signs of infection include profound redness, excessive swelling, excessive tenderness/pain. Please make contact if this is the case.