Tattoos are created by inserting ink into the lower layers of the skin (dermis), which locks the ink in place behind a wall of collagen and scar tissue. These ink particles are too large for your body’s immune system to digest, creating that permanent presence.
With tattoo popularity on the rise, especially among the young adult generations, it stands to reason that there are a number of regrets tattooed into the flesh of a whole host of enthusiasts. Approximately 1/3 of tattooed adults regret at least one tattoo, whether that’s owing to poor choice of artwork or simply evolving tastes.
What unifies all those seeking tattoo removal is the desire for change. When your art no longer speaks to your heart, it’s time for alternatives. And whether you’re dreaming of a clean slate or a more effective means to try another tattoo in place of that embarrassing mistake, laser tattoo removal is renowned as the gold standard by leading plastic surgeons and dermatologists worldwide.
It is worth mentioning that, while there are numerous centres who might claim to be experts in tattoo removal, it is important that this type of procedure is performed by a specialist medical Doctor or Nurse. A true expert such as those found in any reputable laser clinic will be able to spot complications and know how to manage risks including bleeding, infection or scarring.
Laser tattoo removal is regarded as the safest and most effective means of removing unwanted or faded tattoos, however, with so many variables to consider, ranging from the ink used to skin colour, choosing your practitioner wisely is absolutely key.
How does the treatment work?
The aim of laser tattoo removal treatment is to break down the ink particles so that they can be successfully ejected by the body without damaging the surrounding tissue. We achieve this with our state of the art lasers which emit a wavelength selectively absorbed by the ink pigment to ensure collateral damage is kept to a minimum.
Over the course of several sessions spaced at monthly intervals, these progressively shattered particles of ink are flushed out by your body’s natural immune defences, causing the tattoo to fade.
Not all laser technologies or types of ink are the same, hence a variety of laser wavelengths and a varied number of treatment sessions can be required to ensure optimal results. No single laser wavelength removes all types of ink, and multi-coloured tattoos can require at least 3 wavelengths of laser light to guarantee the desired outcome.
At Cambridge Laser Clinic we offer the latest Q switched lasers from Quanta Systems including Nd YAG 1064nm (ideal for black and dark blue ink) , Ruby 694nm (effective for sky blue and green pigments) and KTP 532nm (optimal for red, orange and purple ink)
What to expect
Firstly, any treatment course such as this should begin with a medical consultation with a dedicated Doctor or Nurse to ensure that all variables are discussed in detail and you are clear as to the path ahead and your expectations.
AtCambridge Laser Clinic we offer free Doctor consultations, with absolutely no obligations, to ensure suitability and peace of mind. We are always at hand if you would like to contact us to arrange an appointment.
Your laser specialist will also assess the size, age and colours of the tattoo in order to determine an accurate treatment plan for you.
The treatment itself is always delivered with forced cold air to cool the skin, thereby reducing pain and unwanted skin damage.
The discomfort of the laser removal process at Cambridge Laser Clinic has been likened by most patients to the pain of getting the tattoo in the first place; some areas are more sensitive than others, such as the ribs, ankles or shoulder blade. If the idea of returning to the sensation of being tattooed troubles you, a reputable laser clinic should be able to offer you a local anaesthetic.
The duration of treatment sessions will vary depending on the size, age and complexity of the tattoo and last anywhere between 5 and 40 minutes.
Amateur tattoos (usually carried out at home with Indian Ink and a needle) on average require 3 to 5 sessions spaced at monthly intervals, while professional tattoos (performed by a tattoo artist with a tattoo gun) usually require 8 to 12 treatments performed at monthly intervals.
The fading process is progressive and it can take up to a year or more to complete the removal of a very complex, multicoloured, professional tattoo. An instant skin whitening is often seen during the procedure, but this typically fades within 10-20 minutes.
The treatment area is likely to feel sensitive, with redness and swelling similar to a sunburn. This usually settles within 24-48 hours. Blistering is also a possibility for a minority (10-15%) of patients. It is a normal side effect and will resolve usually within 1 week.
Owing to the absorption of laser light by the melanin in your skin, there is a chance of your skin appearing paler throughout the treatment process. Any such changes are rarely permanent and can be expected to resolve within months.
As with any laser work, you should avoid exposing the treated area to sunlight during the overall process. Your laser specialist will discuss safe timeframes with you during your consultation.
While there are a variety of alternative means to remove a tattoo, these older treatments carry a far greater risk of complications and yield dramatically inferior results.
Those considering organic creams, surgery or dermabrasion can be assured of a much higher risk of scarring and prolonged recovery times, whether owing to the chemical compounds used, scarring from donor skin areas used for grafts or aggressive skin stripping.
Acid tattooing, often involving bleaching of the skin, carries very high risks, including raised scarring and permanent pigment change.
As each tattoo will require a different number of treatment sessions to reach the desired results, at Cambridge Laser Clinic we operate on a cost per session basis as follows.
|Area to be treated||Price per Session|
(1-3cm x 1-3cm)
(4-8cm x 4-8cm)
(16-20cm x 16-20cm)
(per 1-10cm x1-10cm)
We also perform test patches at a cost of £50
There is a lot to take in when it comes to laser tattoo removal, and we have tried to collect together the most valuable advice for you in this article. However, for those seeking more detailed or specific information on the tattoo removal process, you will find a wealth of facts throughout our website.