Tattoo Removal

The popularity of tattoos is increasing, as is the range of tattoo inks that are being used currently.

How are tattoos removed?

  • Laser Treatment
  • Q Switched Lasers

These were introduced in the early 90s and are still the gold standard for scar-less tattoo removal. These lasers shatter the ink particles into fine particles. The white blood cells can then effectively ingest and remove the finer material via the lymphatic system.

While Q-Switched lasers are able to achieve scar-less removal of tattoos, multiple treatment sessions are required.  Lightly inked tattoos such as self-applied lettering with India ink may disappear with less treatments. However, densely inked professional tattoos take much longer to clear. 

Anesthetic cream or local anesthetic injection will be used to minimise discomfort during treatment. Treatment takes 10-20 minutes usually. Post laser care is simple.

Factors influencing response to treatment includes:

  • Amateur versus professional tattoos – professional tattoos require more treatments as the ink is placed more deeply and at greater density than amateur tattoos
  • Location – tattoos located on the extremities will require more treatments than those on the head and neck area
  • Ink colour – black is the easiest colour to remove, followed by red. Multiple colours will require more treatments. Green tattoos can be very difficult to remove
  • Layering – overlay of tattoos will require increased treatments
  • Scar history – those with a history of scarring will usually require more treatments as laser fluences (power) tends to be lower
  • Tattoo size – larger tattoos may require more treatment sessions if the entire tattoo is too large to treat in a single session
  • Smokers do not respond as well to treatment as non-smokers