What types of tattoos can be treated with laser tattoo removal?
Amateur: In most cases, amateur tattoos respond more readily than professional tattoos. Exceptions are those cases in which the ink has been deposited in the subcutaneous tissue.
Professional: Professional tattoos usually have an even distribution of ink with an even depth of placement. Most of the ink is in the dermis with little in the subcutaneous tissue. Professional tattoos may also include a greater number of layered or combined colours. They can contain more ink and the depth of ink placement and tattooing technique may vary. More treatments may be needed to remove the professionally implanted tattoo ink.
Cosmetic: Cosmetic tattoos, such as lip and eyeliner, are usually made of iron-based inks. These inks may oxidize or blacken upon laser impact.
Traumatic: Traumatic tattoos occur when substances, such as carbon or gunpowder are accidentally introduced into the skin. They can usually be removed in one or two treatment sessions. Use caution when treating gunpowder tattoos because the heat dispersion from micro ignitions of the gunpowder may be released into the surrounding tissues.
How many tattoo removal treatments do I need?
It may take more than one laser tattoo removal treatment to see a visible change in dark, dense black ink tattoos. Laser energy targets tattoo ink layer by layer, starting at superficial layers. Once the superficial target is removed the laser energy can penetrate to the residual deeper ink.
The longer treatment interval (e.g. 8 weeks or more) generally leads to increased ink clearance which may result in fewer treatments. Generally, intervals are every 6-8 weeks, but this may be extended for patients with a darker skin type, or if the skin has not returned to baseline condition and adverse effects including erythema have not resolved.
Is the laser tattoo removal treatment painful?
The treatment can be painful and uncomfortable. Numbing cream can be applied 30-45 minutes prior to treatment and ideally covered in cling film. A cold air machine will be used during the treatment to help with comfortability. The sensation is a sharp, hot, stinging and some places on the body can be more painful than others, for example, bony areas or areas where there are large ink deposits. This pain is temporary and stops once the tattoo removal treatment has ceased.