Laser removal for Tattoos  using the Q switched laser

Once the ink has dried we often change our minds..
Even though there are people who LOVE their tattoo(s), we see patients daily who regret getting a tattoo. Nearly 30% of people in Johannesburg have at least one tattoo. But not all of them are happy about their decision. As many as 25% of those with a tattoo say they  regret getting it. At Dermology we often remove tattoos that are over 10 years old. But we also have our fair share of fresh tattoos e.g. patients popping in on Monday to remove a tattoo that was done over the weekend! Tattoos have become very common; it’s not strange to see a person with a tattoo anymore.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the tattoo regret phase, or maybe you just want to  find out more about different types of laser tattoo removal treatments available to fade your tattoo .if you regret having your tattoo done, Read on….

This first question most people will google is: “What is the Best way to remove a tattoo?”

The Q- switched Laser for tattoo removal in particular is a very effective treatment to remove a skin tattoo.While tattoos were once considered permanent, it is now possible to remove them. Before the development of the more advanced laser tattoo removal methods, common techniques  to remove a skin tattoo included dermabrasion, TCA (Trichloroacetic acid, an acid that removes the top layers of skin, salabrasion (scrubbing the skin with salt), was used. These older treatments that were used to remove a tattoo are outdated and not recommended as often anymore. Luckily, there have been some great advances in the technology used to remove tattoos. With the creation of the advanced Q switched laser , laser tattoo removal is now a safe and effective way to remove or fade your tattoo.

How does laser removal on tattoos work?

  • Always do research about laser removal treatments before removing your tattoo – at our skin clinic we are able to advise you how best method to remove your unwanted ink.
  • The laser breaks down the ink molecules into smaller pieces, therefore the smaller ink particles gets flushed out by the body’s immune system over the next couple of weeks.
  • This will cause the tattoo to fade more and more every time after a Laser Tattoo Removal Session.
  • During the initial short consultation we will determine the age, colour, quality and size of the tattoo(s). This will be done complimentary by one of our Skin Specialists.
  • The age of the tattoo always determines how many sessions of laser removal treatment you might need.
  • The older the skin tattoo, the more laser removal sessions will be required.
  • Professional vs Amateur Tattoos- Professional applied tattoos penetrate deeper into the skin at uniform levels which can make it easier to treat, but not always, as the ink is usually denser. Amateur tattoos are often applied with an uneven hand which can sometimes make the removal more challenging.
  • After the consultation, the patient will be presented with a formal quotation as well as skin treatment plan.
  • Should it suit the schedule, the first laser tattoo treatment can be done on the same day as the consultation.Laser tattoo removal is generally safe when performed by a qualified technician or laser specilaist. Each person’s health, skin, and tattoos are different, so it’s important to ask lots of questions! During your consultation, don’t be afraid to ask about all the potential side effects and risks based on your own situation.
  • There are a handful of symptoms you might see post-treatment. Among them are blisters, swelling, raising of the tattoo, redness, and/or temporary darkening. Not to worry, though. These are common and usually subside within one to two weeks.
  • People with darker skin CAN safely remove a tattoo with laser, however there is a higher risk of hypopigmentation because the laser may remove pigment from your skin along with pigment from your tattoo. Your technician should proceed with caution and always do a test spot to minimize any risk. The most common side effect is hyper- (darkening) or hypo-pigmentation (lightening) of the skin. This usually corrects itself anywhere from 6 to 12 months later.

How many sessions do I need of laser tattoo removal?

  • This will depend on the size and the age of the tattoo. Older Tattoos generally fades quicker with laser than recently done tattoos. The reason for this: the tattoo ink particles have already started to break down into smaller pieces as the tattoo ages by the body.
  • The quality of the ink and colour used when the tattoo was done, will also play a role. Ink qualities differ, therefore some will be broken down quicker than other. Laser can see darker colours best, therefore black tattoos goes quicker than colour tattoos.
  • Location of your Tattoo  – In most cases, location does matter. Fading is generally slower for tattoos located further down the arms or legs as they are further from the heart. The closer the tattoo is to the heart the better circulation, therefore better results.

Is the laser removal treatment painful?

  • If you could handle tattooing your skin, you can handle the Laser Tattoo Removal treatment as well. It is a similar feeling.
  • However we do numb the area (optional) with a topical anaesthetic cream, before proceeding with the tattoo removal treatment

How long should I wait between tattoo removal treatments?

  • The skin will take about 6 weeks to recover fully from the removal treatment and for all the broken down ink particles to escape through the immune system. Therefore we allow 6 weeks between Laser Tattoo Removal Sessions.

The Q-Switched laser is a popular method created to be a leader in  the removal of tattoos . If you are wanting to start the process of removing your tattoo, Contact our skincare clinic in the heart of Sandton  to make your first appoinment with our Tattoo removal specialist.



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Disclaimer: Dermology’s goal is to produce the best results possible for all of our clients however, everyone’s skin and body is different. Responsiveness to results and final outcomes of treatments may vary amongst clients.