Got a tattoo you regret? How laser tattoo removal treatment can help
Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic doctor, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower, Berwick and Beaumaris Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2005, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More
Have you got a tattoo that you’ve changed your mind about or that no longer fits your lifestyle? Having second thoughts and feeling regret about a tattoo can be devastating, especially if you can’t cover the tattoo with clothing or makeup. Laser tattoo removal treatment is a technique that has been successful in our clinics at significantly fading or removing tattoos.
Dr Gavin Chan (MBBS, Cosmetic Doctor, Liposuctionist) explains that virtually all amateur and professional tattoos can be treated with laser tattoo removal. With the advent of new laser technology, a multiple laser approach to reduce the number of treatment sessions required is possible.
Secrets behind effective laser tattoo removal
According to Dr Gavin Chan the secret to effective laser tattoo removal lies in selective photo thermolysis. He notes that, “the wavelength of a laser will determine what colour it’s attracted to. If you have a green tattoo you need a wavelength around 695 nanometers which is highly attracted to green. If you have a red tattoo the laser wavelength needs to be around 532 nanometers which is attractive highly to red.” This means that if you try to remove a red tattoo with a different wavelength that’s not highly attracted to the tattoo, it needs to use more power and energy to break it down which can result in scarring.
The PiQo4 laser “emits very high, short high-energy pulses which are able to fragment the tattoo ink and then allow the body to engulf the tattoo ink in the white cells and flush it out through the lymphatic system.” Because the PiQo4 uses selective photo thermolysis it can be selective about removing the tattoo ink without damaging your skin.
When you have laser tattoo removal treatment at a reputable medical clinic that performs many of these procedures, the Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses will be able to use multiple lasers with multiple wavelengths.
How lasers have transformed tattoo removal
Dr Gavin Chan explains that over the past few years the development of picosecond lasers have transformed tattoo removal.
In the first few sessions of laser, the tattooed particles are quite big. Nanosecond lasers are used in these sessions because they can generate more heat into the tattoo particle and break it down. Once the ink particles become smaller, the picosecond lasers are used. The average number of treatment sessions varies from patient to patient and is determined by:
- Amount of ink: The amount of ink present in a tattoo will determine how many sessions are required. Tattoos with minimal ink or outlines only tend to be easier to remove and require fewer sessions than solid or heavily inked tattoos.
- Layered tattoos: If you have had tattoos that have been tattooed over with another tattoo, it will be harder to remove.
- Location of the tattoo: Ink in the tattoo is broken down by the laser and taken away by the body’s immune and lymphatic systems. Tattoos that are situated in areas of high blood supply and lymphatic drainage require fewer treatments to remove.
- Skin type: The darker your skin type, the more laser removal sessions you will need. This is because the skin’s melanin and the tattoo ink are competing targets for the laser. To prevent complications, we usually use lower settings on the laser. If you have darker skin, you will need to have more sessions.
- The colour of the tattoo: A black tattoo tends to be the most easily removed, with yellow, green, and multiple coloured tattoos being the hardest tattoos to remove.
What happens during the laser tattoo removal treatment?
At your laser tattoo removal treatment you may have anaesthetic cream applied to the skin. You will then have anaesthetic injections over the area that needs to be treated. These injections will not be painful if they’re given after the anaesthetic cream has been applied. This ensures your treatment will be as comfortable as possible. To allow your immune system to remove the ink that has been broken down by the laser, we recommend 2 months or more between sessions.
What is recovery like after laser treatment?
After your laser treatment, you will have antiseptic cream applied with a non-stick dressing over it. This needs to be kept dry and worn for 24 hours.
Immediately after the treatment, the tattoo may look frosted and slightly raised in appearance. Some people can also experience pinpoint bleeding and surrounding skin redness.
If you notice scabs are forming after the laser treatment, you must not pick at them. We suggest you apply Bepanthen ointment on the treated area until the scabs fall off. It is also important that you keep the treated area out of direct sunlight. For most patients, healing time after the laser tattoo removal takes between 1 to 3 weeks.
The best skincare to use after laser tattoo removal procedure
We suggest you keep the skin nourished and hydrated after your laser tattoo removal procedure. Dermaceutic Panthenol Ceutic can be used between your laser treatments to assist in your skin’s healing process. This hypoallergenic balm is suitable for hypersensitive and dry skin that is prone to irritation and inflammation. The combination of Panthenol, Bisabolol, Shea butter, Vitamin E and beeswax can be also be used on your lips and cuticles.
Not sure about what skin care to use? A consultation with one of our Skin Therapists will ensure your personalised skin care regime achieves the best results. Contact us on 1300 863 824 to book your consultation in.
The best laser tattoo removal treatment in Melbourne
Is it time to say goodbye to your unwanted tattoos? Since 2005, we have helped thousands of people with laser tattoo removal treatments. Led by Dr Gavin Chan, our highly trained Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses are experts in using q-switched nanosecond and picosecond lasers. These lasers are currently an effective means of removing or fading tattoos and compared to other tattoo removal methods have the lowest chance of scarring.
At your consultation our Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses will discuss in detail the pros and cons of having your tattoos removed by laser. Call us on 1300 863 824 to book a consultation.