….before you have Laser Tattoo Removal

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and rid your arm/back/neck/leg of that pesky tattoo that’s been bugging you ever since you realised you weren’t totally in love with it. In this beautiful age where nothing is ever truly permanent you now have the ability to ‘turn back the clock’, however, there are some things to think about.

Just like most other industries, the tattoo removal industry includes different clinics that vary in quality and safety. So before you dive into your tattoo removal journey here are my top tips on ensuring the road isn’t a bumpy one.

  1. Check the reviews and ask to view previous client photos

You wouldn’t buy a car without first checking the reviews and taking it for a test drive. The same principle applies to tattoo removal. When performed by a qualified technician, tattoo removal is very safe, however, each patient is different and this will effect the outcome and timeline of the removal process. Be sure to ask your technician lots of questions about your skin type, the potential side effects that this may cause, and how your healing process is likely to transpire. The answers to these questions will give you a realistic expectation of the tattoo removal journey and minimise any surprises!

It is also a good idea to ask to see some before and after photos of previous clients. This will allow you to get a sense of the quality of tattoo removal that the clinic has been providing and whether their results are promising or not.

  1. Make your expectations transparent

Asking lots of questions isn’t the only thing you should be doing – good communication is a two-way street! It is important that you communicate to your expectations to your technician so that they can let you know if they are realistic or not. Any good tattoo removalist will tell you that no tattoo removal is guaranteed, however they will be able to tell you about your likely outcome depending on your tattoo, skin type, location and ink colour.

  1. Understand the timeline

The location of your tattoo is a very important factor in tattoo removal. The further away the tattoo is from heart (and strong circulation) the longer it may take for a tattoo to fade. The stronger the circulation, the better the results will be.

  1. Ensure that your clinic is using the correct type of laser

Have a lot of colour in your tattoo? You must make sure that your technician has the laser equipment to cater for your specific colours! No single laser has the ability to remove all types and colours of tattoos so ensure that your technician has the correct laser to remove all the different pigments in your specific tattoo.

  1. Realise that tattoo removal is a journey and not a one-time treatment

As much as we wish they would, tattoos don’t have a tendency to disappear like magic. Tattoo removal is a journey and multiple treatments will be required. It is impossible to determine the exact number of treatments that an individual requires, however, your technician will be able to give you a rough estimate.

Qualified technicians will also stress the importance of intervals between sessions (6-8 weeks) to allow your body to heal. Although this does extend the time frame of your tattoo removal, it allows for your skin to heal and minimises the possibility of side effects.

  1. Professional vs Amateur Tattoos

There is quite a big difference between professional and amateur tattoos. Professional tattoos usually penetrate deeper into the skin at an even level which make the overall tattoo more uniform and therefore easier to treat. Some inks used by different tattoo parlours may be denser though which can make removal more difficult. Amateur tattoos are often done with an uneven hand, making some areas deeper and some lighter. There may also be unknown products in the ink which may add to the challenge of removal, however, overall amateur tattoos are easier to remove.

  1. Post treatment symptoms

There are a few symptoms that are common post treatment. As with many medical treatments, they are normal and will usually subside within one to two weeks but it is good to be aware of the symptoms so that you are free from any surprises!

Common symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Raising of the tattoo
  • Pinpoint bleeding
  • Redness
  • Temporary darkening
  1. Side effects

Just like most disclaimers on any type of medication, laser tattoo removal also comes with a disclaimer of potential side effects. Also similar to medication, the potential side effects aren’t common but it is good to be aware of them. One side effect is the possibility of hyper (darkening) or hypo (lightening) pigmentation of the skin (this usually corrects itself from six to twelve months later). Other potential side effects include keloid scarring, infection, burns and textural changes of the skin (Unblemished has a clean reputation regarding these side effects).  If concerned, you should contact your technician and/or your GP.

  1. Darkening of the tattoo

Some inks and colours in tattoos (including white inks) have the possibility of darkening or oxidising immediately after laser treatment as the ink may contain titanium dioxide. This can be corrected with future treatments, however, you should consult with your technician about this possibility before treatment starts.

  1. Your skin colour and how this can effect your treatment

It is so important that your technician addresses your skin tone and what effect this may have. People with darker skin tones can still have a tattoo removed however, hypo-pigmentation may occur from the use of the laser which results in the loss of pigmentation of the skin. Good technicians should always do a patch test to minimise the risk.

    When considering laser tattoo removal, one of the most common questions we are asked is how many treatments will be needed to get back to a clean skin? The general answer is 5-10 treatments, but the number could be more or less based upon several factors which are evaluated during your consultation visit.

    Professional tattoos have a lot more ink than amateur tattoos and are more difficult to remove. Black ink is the most common ink used and is also the easiest to remove.

    Other inks such as green or blue can be a real challenge without the right laser, at Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic we use the Fotona QX-Max as it removes all ink colours.

    Fotona QX MAX – Q-Switched Nd:Yag Laser

     The location of the tattoo also plays a role, with tattoos on the ankles and wrists being harder to remove than ones on the neck or head. If you have a layered tattoo (a tattoo on top of another), that increases the difficulty of removal. The new ink is placed in a layer on top of the old ink and both layers of the ink will need to be removed during treatment.

    Your skin tone plays a role, with removal being easier in very light skinned versus dark skinned people. If you have scarring as a result of the placement of the ink, the scar tissue can impede your body’s ability to clear the ink that is broken up with the laser treatment.

    So how does one come up with a reasonable estimate of the number of laser treatments that will be needed?


    Kirby-Desai scale: A scale was developed and published in 2009. It takes 6 variables of a tattoo, has a score for each variable (see table below) and comes up with a composite score. This score estimates the number of treatments that will be needed to remove your tattoo.

    eg: If you have very light skin, the tattoo is on your wrist, it is multicoloured, has a moderate amount of ink, is not layered and there is no scaring, your Kirby-Desai scale score is 13, meaning it estimates your removal will take 13 laser treatments.

    There are unaccounted for variables such as the amount of energy used during each treatment, type of laser used and the length of time between treatments.

    There is also the individual’s immune response to consider. Some people will clear ink faster with a treatment than another. That is why we call it an estimate.

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to give an exact number of treatments that will result in complete removal of your tattoo. However, the Kirby-Desai scale gives us an objective way to make a reasonable estimate of number of treatments that will be needed for removal of your tattoo, based upon your unique tattoo characteristics.

    If you want to move forward and get rid of your tattoo regret, contact Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic today on 0487 734 738 or book online NOW.

      Latest-Henna-Tattoos-For-Hand-5Think twice before letting your kids get a “fun in the sun, holiday henna tattoo”!
      After being contacted by a close friend very worried over an allergic reaction to her daughters “Bali henna Tattoo”, my response was to contact her GP immediately.  I have heard of this happening a bit too often and need to let parents know of the dangers of Black henna tattoos.
      • What is henna?

      The henna plant is a shrub with small, dark green, scented leaves.  The leaves are dried and ground down into a powder. After adding liquids to loosen the mix, it is piped or painted on to the body in elaborate patterns.  Pure natural henna gives a chocolate brown or deep red stain on hands and feet – on other parts of the body the stain is the colour of tea.

      • What kinds are there?

      Pure henna: This is used by accredited henna artists. It contains only henna, lemon juice and essential oils or tea.

      Black henna: The problem with black henna is not the henna dye itself but the chemical para-phenylene diamine (PPD) which is sometimes added to make the tattoo darker. PPD is black hair dye. It is also a carcinogen, and trans dermal toxin (it penetrates your skin and then travels through your bloodstream and can cause damage).

      • How to tell the difference

      Black henna does not have an odour, whereas pure henna will smell of the essential oils that have been added, such as menthol or lemon or tea tree. The artist using pure henna tends to have orange-stained fingers, proof of his work.  Additionally, he will readily show you what is in his henna mix. When the henna design is being applied, black henna will actually dye the arm hairs black; pure henna will simply mark the skin. Most professional salons in Europe, Australia and the U.S. use pure henna, which rarely causes allergies. Black henna tends to be used by street traders. Both black and pure henna tattoos can take just a few minutes to several hours, depending on the size and design of tattoo. Pure henna should be left on for at least two hours and preferably overnight. When the paste flakes off, the stain should be orange which will darken to red-brown or dark brown. Black henna artists will tell you to leave the design on for no more than an hour.

      Here is an article worth reading: http://www.kidspot.com.au/henna-tattoo-warning-boy-6-faces-lifelong-health-battle/

        Treatment 1 – posted on 1 March 2016
        Treatment 2 – posted on 20 March 2016
        Treatment 3 – posted on 14 May 2016

        Hello my name is Katty and I am a client at Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic.  I would like to share my journal with you all of my thoughts, feelings and the actual process of having my tattoo removed.  Let my journey to become a clean skin begin!

        Commencing my tattoo laser removal has been quite some time in the making. In 2012 I decided I wanted a cross tattoo on my inner forearm. Went to tattoo studio. Got the tattoo. Instantly loathed it. It was nothing to do with the design, nor the tattooist (who is a very good one at that). The design looked very nice on paper I must say, but I just didn’t like the tattoo on my arm, which is kind of the important part. The cross was about 10 x 5 cm, so it was fairly sizey. After feeling sorry for myself for around a week after getting it, I started to think, right, what can I do to fix this? Instead of thinking of something logical like, I don’t know, getting it removed immediately, I thought I had the best solution ever. Just get a full sleeve tattoo to try and hide it. Yep.

        For some reason, tattoo removal didn’t even come to mind. I thought I was doomed and that the only way to fix it was to try and blend it in with another larger tattoo. I’m not going to bore you with my entire story of woe. Let me just say, I put very little thought into the cover-up design. Before I knew it, I had a full sleeve with bits and pieces of different things that just didn’t really go well together.  Too many themes, and the tattoo ended up being very heavy for the most part (and I only ever wanted lighter looking tattoos). This led to several years of trying to convince myself that the tattoo was nice.

        There are elements to the sleeve that I really like. But it is the inner forearm in particular that I can’t learn to like. I will be removing the ink from both inner and outer forearm, but for the purposes of this blog, I am just going to take you on my inner arm’s journey to cleanliness.  The ink here is very heavy with heaps of black and it has become a real psychological issue. Being so conscious of it all the time, I would hold my arm in positions to try and keep it out of peoples’ view, and I mostly only now buy long sleeve tops for going out.  In the end, I stopped trying to like it, was honest with myself and decided it was coming off. That was when I contacted Sue at Unblemished.

        I was pretty nervous coming in for the first time, but Sue made me feel very comfortable. Sue assessed my skin and we talked time frames.  6 weeks minimum will pass between each treatment on this area. Unblemished has a Medical grade Laser for tattoo removal and believe me it really does matter – it is a very highly powered laser that makes treatment sessions very quick. We did a spot check to see how my skin reacted. Hurt a bit, but all was well.  I then booked in for my first treatment 1 week later.

        Treatment 1

        1 hour prior to my first treatment, I applied the numbing cream. I made the mistake of following the instructions and applying it sparingly. Whoever decided it should be applied sparingly is insane. TIP!!!!!  Apply that cream like it is going out of fashion. I repeat. Apply that cream like it is going out of fashion.

        I donned the very fashionable goggles, gripped the stress balls, held my breath and let Sue fire away. The pain was immense (especially being the inner arm where it is quite sensitive), but it was over quite quickly. No more than 1.5 mins only for such a large area. I’m glad now that I know exactly what to expect each time. Did I mention to smother the numbing cream on? Smother the numbing cream on.

        Because the inner forearm is so sensitive, there was quite a bit of swelling for about 2-3 days after the treatment. It was still quite sensitive for around 2 weeks after the treatment (as opposed to the outer forearm, which did not swell at all and did not remain sensitive post treatment).

        Before and After at 3 weeks post treatment 1

        Sue is targeting the black ink first. You can see a noticeable difference after only 3 weeks of fading. Hopefully it continues! 🙂

        3 weeks post treatment inner forearm

        Treatment 2

        Seeing some really great results from my first treatment has been really heartening. It is nice to know that the pain and expense is looking like it is indeed going to be worth it!

        Going in for my second treatment, I knew exactly what to expect pain wise, so that helped.  The good thing is that it is over much more quickly than getting a tatt. I have been asked if the experience of having a tattoo removed is worse than getting the tatt in the first place. It comes down to weighing up pain vs time. I would have to say that the pain itself is worse (on some parts) while under the laser. However, the fact that it is over much more quickly than getting a tatt gives it brownie points.  I am just as much at the end of my tether after 3 hrs in a tattoo studio than what I am after a couple of minutes under the laser! On the other hand, it isn’t as bad on my outer arm than on my inner arm.

        Having said all that. Good news! I came to realise during my second treatment that the less ink present = the less pain experienced (touch wood). In the lighter shaded areas of my wrist, I did not feel much. The crazy pain seems to occur in areas of dense ink. Check out the below photo of my arm immediately after treatment 2 (doesn’t it look sore!!). Look at the flower at the very top. Notice the raised frosting effect. I believe this is because it is the first time this area has been touched by the laser, and therefore has a stack of black ink (remember Sue is targeting the black ink at the moment). This seems to be what causes the most amount of pain. Lots of ink and virgin skin! Compare this flower to the other flowers and the light shaded areas at the bottom of my wrist which have already been zapped, and therefore have less ink. No bubble effect there! Yet immediately after the first treatment, the entire targeted area was raised. The bubbly look only lasts a short while and then settles down.

        Immediately after treatment 2

        2016-03-02 17.43.52

        And here is a running comparison for my inner forearm so far

        2016-03-20 13.12.17

        Getting there! I’m due for another treatment tomorrow on my outer arm which is also coming along nicely 🙂

        Until next time!!

        Treatment 3

        My arm didn’t seem to swell as much after the third treatment which I found interesting. Apparently the reaction can be a little different each time.  Here is a comparison between treatment 2 and treatment 3. As you can see the black around the wrist is so light you can barely see it. You’ll notice that there is still lots of colour – that is because we haven’t yet started to target the colour here yet.

        imageHowever, we have blasted some colour on my outer arm already. I have some green on my outer arm, which is the most difficult colour to remove. The red has faded significantly after only 2 treatments. Red seems to react quite a bit differently to the other colours in the sense that the skin goes a bit dry, but a few days of bepanthen sorts it out.

        • Chelsea - Hi!

          I have my first session this Saturday! I just saw your blog and your tattoo has faded nicely so far! Right now I am stressing badly about the pain. My tattoo is large like yours 12 X 1. I live in Calgary though and am going to a different laser facility. Its a script tattoo vertical down my side! Do you feel the pain is worth the tattoo getting removed? The pain is the only thing stopping me at this moment!!

          Thanks for creating this!ReplyCancel

          • admin - Chelsea, How is your progress going on your tattoo?ReplyCancel

          • Katty - Hi Chelsea – I had my tattoo faded enough so that I could get a cover up with something that I’m much more happy with. Prior to having the laser, I was so psychologically affected by my tattoo to the point where I was ALWAYS conscious of it, and I always felt a sense of shame and embarrassment whenever I wore a t-shirt or singlet. That was debilitating and in my opinion, worse than any pain experienced in removal. The pain for me only lasts the duration of the treatment, the shame of an ugly tattoo lasts a lifetime! Now I don’t have that feeling anymore when I where tops that show my lower arm. It has absolutely been worth every bit of it! I’m now receiving treatment on my upper arm. Same deal, I’m lightning it off to have a cover up with something nicer.
            I hope it all goes well for you! Have you had any done yet?


        Ink be gone! Pics of Victoria Beckham on the red carpet show the once saturated color of the back tattoo dedicated to her husband, David Beckham, has now faded, indicating she’s just the latest celeb (following Khloe Kardashian and Iggy Azalea — bye, A$AP Rocky!) to get rid of her ink.

        The fashion designer’s body art is Hebrew for “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Victoria and David got matching black versions of this phrase on their sixth wedding anniversary in 2005. David’s version is on his arm.

        Jeremy B. Green, M.D., and board-certified Miami cosmetic dermatologist tells Us Weekly that more often than not, tattoos are removed because “it just [doesn’t represent the person] anymore. Whether song lyrics, or a symbol resonated with them many years ago, it does not represent the current-day them. People evolve, but the tattoo ink does not.”

        The most common type of tattoo removed? “Ex spouses or significant others’ names definitely get the boot, oftentimes with the current love interest in the room witnessing the laser work its magic!” Dr. Green explains to Us.

        And the most common location people regret? Unsurprisingly, the lower back, otherwise known as the “tramp stamp.” Most recently, Kardashian, 34, has undergone sessions to remove her lower-back ink, documenting the process along the way.

        ust because the blonde reality star’s video makes it look easy doesn’t mean it’s painless. “Most patients tell me it is about as painful as getting a tattoo. That said, we have ways of making it comfortable with topical numbing cream prior to treatment,” he says.

        On top of the physical pain, laser removal will set you back in the cost department, too. “It’s definitely more expensive to remove a tattoo than to have one placed. A single treatment could range from $200 to much more depending on the size and number of colors in the tattoo,” Dr. Green tells Us, noting that it usually takes more than one session, and how many sessions depends on how big the tattoo is and how many colors it contains.

        One alternative to having it removed is having the ink redesigned. Angelina Jolie famously altered herBilly Bob Thorton art with her children’s birth coordinates rather than going through the removing process.

        And if you’re considering getting a tattoo removed, just remember that some places will be more painful than others. “Probably the most painful areas are the face and near or on the genitalia (yes people are tatted there!)” Dr. Green says, jokingly.



          Unblemished Payment Plans with text

          Instalment payment plans: We want to make your tattoo removal/fading as easy, flexible and accessible as possible which is why we have partnered with Ezidebit to offer payment options. When we discuss your required number of treatments, you can now spread the payments for each treatment by paying in weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments.

          How does this work? Each payment plan is tailored to the individual’s requirements, but the first treatment is paid up front. The cost of the remaining treatments can then be spread over weekly, fortnightly or monthly Direct Debit/Credit Card payments to coincide with the expected length of the course of treatments. At your consultation our technician will discuss your specific requirements and come up with a Payment plan suited to your needs. It’s really easy to set up and comes at no extra cost!

          Payment plan example Client requirement: Medium sized tattoo (slightly bigger than a Credit Card) that requires three laser treatments six weeks apart.

          Cost per treatment: $150.00   Total cost: $450.00   Instalments: Fortnightly

          DD amount$150$50$50$50$50$50$50
          Amount paid$150$50$100$150$50$100$150
          Treatment #123

          If you would like to enquire more about the instalment payment plan then don’t hesitate to call us on (03) 5339 9661 or email us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.