Tattoo Removal

Types of Tattoos Decorative Tattoos

These can be divided into professional and amateur. Professional tattoos are placed deeper into the dermis and have larger quantities of ink, they also have more variable composition of inks compared to amateur tattoos. For this reason professional tattoos are more difficult to remove and may also result in incomplete removal of all colours.

Cosmetic Tattoos

Cosmetic tattoos are also known as permanent make up. Cosmetic and reconstructive tattoos are typically placed to improve or create the appearance of normal anatomical structures. These tattoos may include thinning eyebrows, eyelashes, eyeliner, vermilion boarder of full lip colour, recreation of areola following mastectomy, or to camouflage scars.

Traumatic Tattoo

Traumatic tattoo or “the injury tattoo”, may result from implantation of small pieces of asphalt and other debris from motor vehicle accidents, graphite from a pencil stab, as well as shrapnel, bullets, fireworks or their explosive fragments, that have become permanently imbedded under the skin.

How does tattoo removal work?

The laser sends energy into the dermis and breaks up the tattoo pigment into tiny pieces. These can move through the hypodermis to be eliminated by the lymphatic system.

  • Pulses of light are emitted at nanosecond pulse duration
  • The laser light is directed onto the tattoo where the light is absorbed by the tattoo ink. This causes a photo acoustic effect which results from the generation of shock waves following laser irradiation.
  • Shock waves cause the vibrational damage to cellular structure (pigment) as the pigment is rapidly heated, steam is formed, resulting in dispersion of pigment (this is known as “frosting”).

Elimination

These fragmented pigment particles are eliminated through the epidermis where skin cells and ink are taken through the vascular of lymphatic systems or removed by phagocyte cells (a cell, such as a white blood cell, that engulfs and absorbs waste material, harmful microorganisms, or other foreign bodies in the bloodstream and tissues).

How many tattoo removal treatments are needed?

The number of treatments necessary depends on the individual being treated. It depends on how old the tattoo is, what type of ink was used and how deep it was placed into the dermis.

Only the top layer of pigment can be treated at any one time, so it also depends on how many layers of ink has been trapped under the skin to create the tattoo. Professional tattoos may require ten or more laser treatments, while self-applied tattoos may fade after four laser tattoo removal treatments.

Tattoo Removal Pain Relief

Topical cream anaesthetic is available or injectable paid relief is available if required (as Carolyne is a registered nurse).

Tattoo removal contra indications and cautions

  • Cannot treat clients with sun tans (4-6 week wait after sun exposure)
  • Cannot treat clients who are taking Roacctane (6-12 month wait)
  • Skin types V and VI (darker skins)
  • Pregnant
  • Long term use of oral or topical steroids
  • Gold therapy
  • Bleeders or users of anticoagulants
  • Vitiligo (risk of pigment loss in treated area)
  • Facial/cosmetic tattoos

Please read our Fact Sheets for more information on treatment questions and after care.