Tattoo Removal

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Anesthetic: None

Return to work: Same day

Procedure time: 30 min

Duration of results: N/A

Treatment: 4 to 8

Recovery Time: 7 to 10 days


With the overwhelming popularity of tattoos over the last ten years, the market for effective removal has exploded. Tattoos are created by injecting coloured pigment into small deep holes made in the skin.

Regardless of whether a tattoo artist or an untrained individual injects the pigment, the marks or designs are relatively permanent.

When people subsequently want their tattoos removed, most physicians today consider laser one of the best methods. The Q-switched Nd:YAG is the most frequently used laser for tattoo removal. During treatment, pulses of light from the laser are directed onto the tattoo, breaking up the tattoo pigment. Over the next several weeks the body’s own macrophages remove the treated pigmented areas.

This breakthrough technology enables Skinlogic to offer removal of

  • Dark tattoo inks (black, blue, green) using the 1064nm wavelength
  • Light tattoo inks (red, orange, yellow) using the 532nm wavelength
  • Benign deep pigmented (dark) skin lesions using the 1064nm wavelength

Are there other types of light treatments for tattoo removal?

Yes, IPL (intense pulsed light) is increasingly being advertised as an effective alternative for tattoo removal. But because these systems are not Q-switched, they allow heat to build up in the tissues around the tattoo resulting in an increased risk of skin damage and scarring. Low powered Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers are now also available. These pain free lasers typically generate less than one tenth the energy that clinical evidence suggests is required for optimal tattoo removal. At Skinlogic we only use the latest high powered Q switched Nd:YAG lasers, ensuring superior results.

How does tattoo removal work?

Tattoo ink and natural pigmentation like melanin absorb short pulse duration/high peak energy Q-switched pulses so quickly, that they create a photo-acoustic effect within the pigment clusters. This effect breaks down the ink into much smaller particles that can be more easily removed by the body’s natural filtering system.

Preparing for the treatment

You cannot be treated if you are suntanned or have used a self-tanning cream.  The increased melanin in your skin will make you liable to burns.  Please avoid direct sun exposure for at least 4 weeks prior to treatment.

How many treatments do I need?

Most amateur tattoos require 3 to 5 treatment sessions at monthly intervals. Most professional tattoos require 8 to 12 treatment sessions at monthly intervals. You need to leave 4-6 weeks between treating the same area.  This is to allow your skin to recover, but mainly to give your body’s immune system time to do its job so that you are not having more sessions than is necessary.

How long does it take and does it hurt?

Typical treatment sessions last between 5 and 40 minutes depending on the size of the tattoo. The lasers do cause discomfort during treatment, similar to being “snapped” with a rubber band. Most patients equate the pain of tattoo removal with the pain of getting the tattoo. Some areas are more sensitive than others, such as ankles and the shoulder blade. The pain tends to decrease as treatment progresses and the tattoo ink fades. Most patients tolerate the discomfort of treatment very well, but a local anaesthetic is available if required.

What happens after the treatment?

Detailed written aftercare instructions will be provided at your consultation which explain that immediately after the treatment the area may feel like sunburn.  There is a possibility that it may also be red and/or swollen, or even have minor blistering.  The application of cold compresses and topical ointment such as Bactroban will keep the skin supple so that it can heal without drying out and risking scarring.  Like having a tattoo, you must not pick at the area or you will cause scarring.

Are there any side effects?

Most side effects are temporary and to be expected.  Our laser is high powered Q-switched, this means the lasers deliver high power in a very short pulse (25 billionths of a second!).  There is normally no lasting damage to the skin.  Some side effects include blisters, swelling, raising of the tattoo, pinpoint bleeding,  redness,  and  temporary darkening. These are common and usually subside within a couple weeks.  Hyper- or hypopigmentation are also possible side-effects. This can usually corrects itself in 6 to 12 months after treatment. Other potential risks include scars (including keloid scarring), infection,  burns, and textural changes of the skin. As always, consult your practitioner with concerns.

What results can I expect?

The degree of success depends on the amount of ink, the depth of the ink, the colour of your skin, the colour of the ink and your body’s immune system.  Before you start the process, it’s important to realize that complete tattoo removal is possible, but can not be guaranteed. Set your expectations by speaking with your laser treatment expert. Some tattoos only partially fade after several treatments and may leave a ghost image of your tattoo, and permanent raised scarring from the initial tattoo procedure. So the big question is: Would you rather do a cover up, or be left with possibly a ghost image or partial tattoo? Should you decide to continue with treatment, we will do our best to meet your needs.

Pre-treatment care:

  • People who are tanned or recently had direct sun or sun bed exposure (within the last 2 weeks) should not be treated.
  • Make-up, perfume or deodorant should be removed from the treatment area.
  • Jewellery near the treatment area should be removed.
  • Inform us if there has been any change in your medical history or in the medication that you are taking since your last visit.  This includes retinol and all natural remedies such as St Johns Wort.

Post-treatment care:

  • Immediately after the treatment the area may feel like sunburn.  There is a possibility that it may also be red and/or swollen, or even have minor blistering
  • The application of cold compresses and topical ointment such as Bactroban will keep the skin supple so that it can heal without drying out and risking scarring.
  • Do not piece the blisters or do anything that will cause the blisters to burst (such as playing rough sports or even wearing tight cloths that could rub against the blisters).
  • Avoid excessive heat such as saunas, steam rooms or hot baths and hot showers for 48 hours after the treatment. You may be heat sensitive for up to 2 days after the treatment.
  • Sun exposure or sun beds must be avoided for four weeks after the treatment as this will increase the risk of hyper (increased) and hypo (decreased) pigmentation.
  • A sun screen (S.P.F 50) should be used on all sun exposed areas for four weeks after the treatment.

Pre-treatment Consultation

  • On arrival, you will be asked to complete a confidential patient intake form.
  • Your practitioner will then discuss your concerns and requirements with you in order to get a clear understanding of your expectations.
  • After a thorough examination, the most suitable treatment options and their alternatives will be proposed to you.  Treatment procedures will be clearly outlined and discussed, together with the benefits and possible risks of each.
  • To ensure a good result, it is of utmost importance to carefully select our patients for this treatment.
  • Should we find that surgery will be better, we will then refer you to a plastic surgeon.
  • Your practitioner may also provide you with a quotation.
  • Any questions you have about the process or treatment will be answered honestly.
  • Together, you and the practitioner will then decide on the treatment that is most appropriate and safe for you.
  • Any pre- and post-treatment care will be explained in detail. Written instructions may be handed to you.

You are under no obligation to book the treatment with us after your consultation, however, should you do wish to book a treatment this can be done for you after your consultation or at a later date via phone or e-mail.

At Skinlogic we can assure you that we value your health and wellbeing. You will only be seen and treated by qualified and experienced professionals.

During the Treatment

Before your treatment you will be provided with a detailed consent form. You will be asked to read and sign this prior to your having your treatment.

You will have plenty of opportunity to ask any questions you may still have regarding the treatment.

Your practitioner will cleanse the area to be treated.  If necessary, topical anesthetic will be applied. At Skinlogic, we encourage our patients to omit the topical anestetic since it causes vasoconstriction and thus impair an optimal healing cascade.  However, your well-being and comfort is very important to us, so the option of topical anesthetic is always available. Depending on the treatment intensity, most patients report feeling moderate discomfort and heat, as though a hot rubber band is snapped against the skin.

After the procedure, the skin is calmed with the application of specialized products to provide comfort, enhance your treatment and aid recovery.