In nearly 3 decades working within the laser industry of aesthetics, there are not many misconceptions about laser tattoo removal that Cambridge Laser Clinic’s own Doctor Nathan Holt has not encountered.
When roughly one-third of the world’s tattooed population regret at least one of their tattoos, and over 20% of British adults have at least one piece of permanent art etched on their skin, it makes sense that the field of laser removal gets a lot of eyes-on attention.
The problem then lies in a lack of readily-available resources to help provide these intrigued individuals with the tools they need to make an intelligently informed decision.
So for those rethinking their ink, hopefully, this article can serve to dispel the more common misconceptions surrounding the art of laser tattoo removal you might have heard, and help shine a light on if this kind of treatment might be exactly what you really need.
Laser tattoo removal is expensive
Many people worry that they’ll be breaking the bank going in for laser tattoo removal treatment when, in reality, if you can afford the tattoo then you can afford to have the piece lasered off, too.
Most reputable laser clinics set their prices based on the size of the area you need removing, and provide a cost per session – take a look at Cambridge Laser Clinic’s tattoo removal pricing for an idea.
Keep in mind, there are many influencing factors when it comes to how many sessions it will take before your tattoo has fully faded (we’ll get to that next, in fact).
Tattoos removed by laser treatment disappear instantly
Perhaps owing to the nature of getting a tattoo, many individuals considering tattoo removal expect a one-and-done service which is simply not the case.
Those of you wondering how long after laser tattoo removal will your tattoo fade need to consider a series of factors first, including;
- The age of the tattoo
- The complexity of the tattoo
- The colours your tattoo contains
- Whether your tattoo was performed professionally or by an amateur
These are the main considerations, which can be generally summed up in the sense that;
- Older tattoos tend to be far easier to remove than new pieces
- More intricacy and more colours require more sessions than simple monochrome tattoos
- Professionally drawn pieces using modern tattoo guns and ink will take longer than amateur-grade work.
There are other factors at play, too, and greater depth we could explore these topics in (such as your skin tone, how your skin reacted to being tattooed, and why older ink is easier to remove – but there is time for that later).
For the best answer to how long it takes for your tattoo to fade after treatment, book yourself a free consultation and we can pin down the most likely timeframe for you.
Laser tattoo removal isn’t permanent
To address this misleading belief, allow me to explain how laser tattoo removal actually works.
Tattoos are considered permanent because the ink is injected deep into the dermis (the second layer of our skin), where it remains until the body’s natural immunities are able to disperse the pigment particles.
Over time, our bodies will do this in gradual degrees (hence the natural fading of tattoos), however, through laser treatment, we facilitate this process by using lasers to penetrate the skin and break up the ink into tiny particles (all while minimising any surrounding tissue damage).
With repeat treatments, we are simply helping the body along, making it easier for those natural immunities to flush out the foreign pigment and restore your skin’s natural state.
This means, for those considering laser tattoo removal, there is no chance of your tattoo returning after it has faded – once it’s gone, your body has flushed it out.
All tattoos are equally easy to remove
As we mentioned when discussing factors which influence successful tattoo removal, there is a lot of variety when it comes to this treatment.
Simply put, this belief is far from the truth. Larger, more complex, professional, colourful or new tattoos are far more challenging to laser away than aged, amateur, crude, small or black and white pieces.
Anyone can be suitable for laser tattoo removal
Sadly, this is not the case.
Did your skin react poorly when you got the tattoo? Bad skin reactions like this can be a serious warning sign that laser treatment might not be right for you – it is possible in extreme cases for the broken-down pigment to enter the lymph nodes, causing a systemic reaction throughout the body which puts patients at risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Those with allergies might not be suitable, along with those of darker natural skin tones (due to the fact that tattoo removal lasers target the melanin in the skin, which is found in reduced levels for darker-skinned individuals).
If you ever need to discuss your case and see how suitable you are for laser tattoo removal, get in touch via our contact page, we’re happy to advise.
At-home tattoo removal kits are a wise option
This entirely depends on your standards, however, we would never advocate the use of at-home tattoo removal kits.
We have covered some of the myriad influences to how well any given tattoo can be removed, and why this treatment might not be suitable for everyone anyway – none of this counting yet the considerable knowledge and experience a professional brings to the equation, alongside cutting-edge technology.
Make no mistake, this is a skin surgery and an art – a dedicated hand backed by frontline experience and specialist equipment is essential. An expert will know how to avoid causing tattoo removal blisters, the best aftercare options for you, and how to anticipate and manage any complications.
Lockdown through COVID-19 may have filled you with an urge to learn and try new things, but anyone considering tattoo removal is better off waiting until they can see a specialist rather than risking an at-home removal kit.
Other tattoo removal methods are better
Laser tattoo removal is without a doubt the gold standard in erasing tattoos.
Any alternative that’s caught your eye, from removal creams to dermabrasion, surgery or (heaven forbid) acid tattoo removal is simply not worth your time or money.
Surgery or dermabrasion both involve unnecessarily invasive procedures which require anaesthetic, remove the skin itself (rather than dispersing the pigment), and don’t make full use of modern technology. Removal creams are a reduction method at best, not a full removal, and all that needs to be said on acid tattoo removal is don’t do it – ever.