Everybody has questions and concerns about having their tattoo removed. We’ve listed some of the most common questions and their answers below. If you don’t see your question here please contact us to speak with one of our team.
What’s covered in the initial consultation?
Our Unblemished Skin & Laser technicians will undertake a complete consultation at a time that is convenient to you. They will:
- Assess your skin type, tattoo type and medical history to ensure the most successful outcome and whether the treatment is right for you (some skin types and medical history/conditions increase treatment risks)
- Give you a realistic estimate of the number of treatments needed and the cost involved
- Fully explain the risks and benefits of laser tattoo fading and the removal process and answer any questions you may have
If you are unsure of anything, please ask our technicians.
Who is a candidate for Laser tattoo removal?
Individuals with fair skin and superficially placed tattoos on the arms, chest, buttocks or legs are the best candidates. Tattoos on dark skinned individuals, or tattoos on the ankles or fingers, areas where there is less body fat, are the most difficult to treat and results are more variable. Consulting with a professional and reputable tattoo removal clinician who is experienced and understands the procedure is important to ensure proper treatment and candidacy.
How does a Laser remove a tattoo?
Q-switched Lasers work by directing energy towards ink in the skin with highly concentrated colour filtered light beams. These laser beams break up ink particles into tiny fragments, the immune system then gradually absorbs and eliminates the fragmented ink particles over a period of weeks and the tattoo becomes progressively lighter.
This process of fragmenting the ink particles requires several sessions depending on the depth of the ink level.
The procedure is bloodless and no incisions are made. The laser selectively targets the pigment of the tattoo normally without damaging the surrounding skin.
What does Q-Switch mean?
The Q-Switch mode allows high power laser light to be delivered to the skin for a fraction of a second. Because the exposure of your skin to the laser beam is for such a short period, it means that any potential heat damage to the skin is minimised and hence any chance of scarring is greatly reduced.
How many treatments will I need?
No one, no matter what their degree or expertise, can say for certain exactly how many sessions it will take to remove your tattoo. This is because everyone’s immune system is different and everyone’s skin is different, all we can do is give an educated estimation.
Things such as colour of tattoo, type of ink, skin type, and location of tattoo affect how many treatments you will need. When you come in for a consultation we can look at your tattoo and assess this with you.
Home-made tattoos, fine line work and sheer shading contain the least amount of ink and usually prove the easiest to remove and require the least amount of treatments. Tattoos containing filled in areas (block ink) or multiple ink layers usually take the most amount of treatments.
If you want to cover up an existing tattoo with a new one, your tattooist can advise on the degree of fading required and this will help determine the number of treatments.
The average number of treatments to remove a tattoo is 6-12 (3-6 for amateur tattoos).
What if I need to cancel?
Your appointments are very important to us at Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic, it is reserved especially for you, we understand that sometimes schedule adjustments are necessary; therefore we respectfully request at least 24hrs notice for cancellations.
A cancellation fee will apply if;
- Less than 24 hrs notice or “no shows” will result in a charge equal to $40.
- Appointments made within the 24 hr period and need to cancel, the client than must cancel within 4 hrs of appointment time or will result in a $40 charge.
Please understand that when you forget or cancel your appointment without giving enough notice, we miss the opportunity to fill that appointment time, and clients on our waiting list miss the opportunity to receive services.
Will the tattoo lighten with one treatment?
Most people will notice a result within 1-3 treatments depending on ink, size and location of tattoo.
Can the area be re-tattooed and how long after my last session?
Yes the area can be re-tattooed following laser removal. The longer the better, we recommend waiting at least 3 months. Whether you have had complete removal, partial removal or just lightening, the area is able to be re-tattooed. The wish to replace an existing tattoo is a common reason for having laser tattoo removal.
Why has nothing changed after my first treatment?
Everyone responds at a different rate mainly due to the individual immune system response. Minimal change will be noted directly after the first treatment – some people may even see their tattoo get darker with their first treatment. Multiple sessions are needed to completely remove the tattoo, for best results it is important to follow our instructions and advice.
If the tattoo looks healed can I come in before six weeks?
No, it takes 6 – 12 weeks for the proper immune response to be effective.
Does tattoo removal hurt?
Unfortunately, tattoos are uncomfortable to have placed on the skin and they can be just as uncomfortable when they are removed.
Unlike previous methods of tattoo removal that involved painful dermabrasion (scraping off the top layer of skin), Cryosurgery (freezing the skin then peeling away layers of the tattoo) or Excision (cutting the tattoo out); Laser Tattoo Removal is non-abrasive which makes it significantly less painful and usually doesn’t cause scarring.
We take precautions to minimise the amount of discomfort associated with treatments. We use the medical grade Koolio Air Cooling System: The cooling machine is used to cool the skin before, during and directly after the treatment, allowing for a comfortable treatment. The cold air is intended to minimize pain by providing temporary topical relief.
Anaesthetic cream is also highly effective. It can be applied to the skin prior to treatment and is particularly recommended for larger tattoos (a topical anaesthetic cream such as Emla), available over the counter at any pharmacy.
Pain medications that thin blood and promote bruising are not recommended. There can be a slight stinging sensation during the treatment, but cooling and numbing the skin helps to minimise any pain or discomfort.
Immediately following the treatment the skin will be red and can feel as if it is sunburnt. In some cases a small amount of bleeding can occur. Mild swelling, redness and tenderness can continue for 7-10 days.
Is there a risk of scarring?
The chance of scarring from the laser tattoo removal process is low (< 5%) and good aftercare by you will further reduce the chance of developing scarring. Please be aware that the process involved in inking / performing the original tattoo may itself have resulted in scarring and this scarring may only be revealed / become apparent following laser tattoo removal.
Some people may experience minor textural change on areas treated by tattoo removal lasers. If you have any evidence that your healing capacity makes you especially prone to bad scarring, please bring this to our attention so a test laser treatment can be carried out on your tattoo.
This will minimise the scarring risk. Some health conditions and medications can increase the risk of scarring and may make laser treatment unsuitable. This will be discussed with you during the pre-treatment process. Any pre-existing scars that resulted from the initial tattooing process will not be affected by the laser tattoo removal process.
Will my tattoo disappear completely?
In many cases, greater than 95% fading of the tattoo may be achieved with laser tattoo removal treatment. However, it is very important to know that over 100 tattoo inks are in use worldwide today. Not knowing which tattoo ink, how deep or how much was used, and the professionalism and quality of the tattoo artist make it impossible to predict the extent of laser removal treatment in any individual tattoo.
Can multi-coloured tattoos be removed fully?
Usually, but not always. We always recommend a consultation and assessment prior to going ahead with treatment. At Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic we use a Fotona QX Max laser which is the gold standard for tattoo removal and has 4 wavelengths to remove most colours of ink, black, blue and red tattoos tend to respond well. Aqua, green and yellow tattoos may be more resistant and only partially fade (although white tattoos reflect laser light and therefore do not respond to laser treatment), so you can be assured the best laser is being used for the best desired result.
Do you remove cosmetic tattoos?
The inks used by beauticians in permanent makeup can contain metals that will darken when exposed to laser. Because we cannot be sure which ink type has been used, we do not treat cosmetic tattoos.
Is there a maximum amount you can laser in one sitting?
Yes. Depending on the area of the body being treated, some tattoos are too large to be lasered in one treatment, and are best broken into several treatments. Our technicians can walk you through and advise you on the best course. In these instances, pricing of the work is quoted per tattoo, even when the work is split across multiple sessions.
What about breast cancer tattoos?
Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic will remove radiation therapy target dot tattoos at no cost for women who have had breast cancer.
Breast cancer treatment includes radiation therapy to ensure accurate targeting of the treatment. Tattoos are applied to ensure accurate targeting of the treatment. The radiation tattoos are usually the size of a freckle and several may be applied to each client. The target dot tattoo is as permanent as any other tattoo. Although some survivors keep their tattoos as a token of their successful battle against cancer, others want them removed as they are a reminder of a difficult and painful time.
Fortunately these small dot tattoos can be safely and completely removed with Q-Switched laser treatment; most being removed with just two five minute treatments, about six weeks apart.
Those interested in participating will need a letter of approval from their doctor before commencing treatment.
Why won’t creams or lotions work?
The ink in a tattoo is injected into the second layer of the skin and as it is larger than your blood, it will stay there permanently. This means that these creams that claim to remove the tattoo are not strong enough to remove the ink. The method of Laser Tattoo Removal is the only effective way to break down tattoo ink.
What will my skin look like after treatment?
Right after your treatment, your skin will have a white discoloration, and the area around the tattoo may become reddish and could have some swelling. This is normal and will disappear slowly over time. Immediately after treatment, antibacterial ointment and a water proof dressing will be applied to the treated area to minimize infection.
You may bathe normally but we do suggest you minimise vigorous activity for a few days to optimise healing after your laser tattoo removal treatment.
Common, but temporary side effects for medical grade Q-Switch Laser Tattoo Removal include:
- Very minor blistering
Are there any side effects?
On occasion, hypopigmentation (a whitening of the skin) may occur. However, normal skin tone should return within 6-12 months following your last treatment session. Blisters may also occur after treatment. The blisters occur infrequently and when treated appropriately will not have any long term effects. Scarring is also infrequent after treatment. Long term side effects are rare.
Regardless of the method used, tattoo removal may lead to scarring, which can be common in some tattoo removal procedures. Scarring is especially likely in places where the treated area rubs against clothes or skin.
Inflammation may be caused by the removal process, this is not so much a risk as an expected consequence of tattoo removal.
Infections, which can develop if removal is not done properly or proper care of the treated area is not taken. Antibiotic creams and applications are usually part of the post treatment healing process.
My skin has developed quite large blisters. Is that normal?
Yes. Some people will experience blisters, while others will not. A blister is the body’s response to injury or trauma, and is intended to protect the underlying skin tissues from any damage during the healing process. Do not pick or pop it!
How much will it cost?
This will be discussed at the initial consultation. Treatment costs will vary depending on the size, colour and complexity of the tattoo. At Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic we don’t believe high-quality laser and skin care treatments have to be expensive to be truly effective. We offer you further savings when you purchase in advance a package of treatments.
Is there anything I can do to reduce the pain?
Numbing creams can be sourced from chemists and/or prescribed by your GP. These help to bring the level of pain down to that experienced in the original application of the tattoo. Talk to your pharmacist to find out what creams they stock and recommend. We also utilise a localised cooling treatment that helps to ease the discomfort level both during and after treatment.
Do I need to be 18 or over to have laser treatment?
Any requests for laser tattoo removal by someone under the age of 18 will be evaluated for suitability based on individual merits. We are able to perform the treatment but require parental approval.
Do I have to laser my entire tattoo, or can I select certain areas?
This totally depends on the new piece that will cover it. Your tattooist will guide you in what needs to be lasered and when different areas of the old work are ready to be covered.
What determines the success of tattoo removal?
Complete removal of a tattoo is based on several factors. The size, location, application, age, and ink colour of the tattoo are all relevant, as well as the health of the client and their body’s ability to heal. Newer tattoos are generally more difficult to remove. Also if scarring occurred during the tattooing process, the scar will still remain after the pigment has disappeared.
What are the benefits of IPL over waxing, shaving or other hair removal treatments?
IPL is much more comfortable than waxing, electrolysis, and even traditional laser. The cost is less than other technology methods. Although it may be slightly more expensive in the short-term, in the long run it will save you thousands of dollars over other hair removal options, like waxing.
What is IPL Permanent Hair Reduction?
Intense Pulsed Light is a technology where light is converted into heat energy. Treatments are like a very powerful camera flash lamp being held against your skin. The selected light waves target chromophores (colour pigments) such as melanin in brown spots and freckles; and such as haemoglobin in broken or diffused blood vessels. The light waves can also target specific protein molecules in acne bacteria and in collagen. IPL treats all conditions without disruption to the skin’s surface.
IPL hair removal provides permanent relief. Most client receiving treatment can expect 80-90% permanent hair reduction. Any hair that does grow back will usually be lighter, finer and thinner. After completing treatment, members may need to return 1 or 2 times a year for occasional touch-ups. Touch-ups are offered at a discounted rate for those that completed IPL treatment.
How many treatments are necessary?
Only hair in the anagen (growth) phase can be treated. The number of hairs in this phase varies from 20-85%. The length of the growth cycle also varies. After the first treatment, most clients get significant reduction in hair density. Treatment sessions are recommended every 4-6 weeks. The number of sessions needed varies.
How long does each session take?
A single area session can last anywhere from 10 to 50 minutes, depending on the area and your hair type.
Does IPL treatment hurt? Is it safe?
Most people describe our treatment as painless. However, each person has different sensitivity levels. You get to try the treatment with your test patch, before coming in for your first full session. If we feel that this treatment will not be safe or effective for your skin and hair type, we will recommend another hair removal method for your personalized treatment plan. Our well-trained technicians operate FDA cleared machines that provide safe and effective treatment. The greatest risk during treatment occurs by not following the guidelines for safe treatment or failing to disclose mdical information.
What’s the difference between traditional Laser hair removal and IPL hair removal?
Both provide similar results within a similar timeframe. Traditional laser is a focused beam of light, while IPL is a broader spectrum of wavelengths. Generally, if there’s any type of skin reaction during treatment it is more likely to be permanent with traditional laser. You may need one or two additional treatments with IPL over traditional laser. But, each person and each area will react differently. You may find that traditional laser didn’t work for you, but IPL laser could be highly effective. Most people feel that IPL is much more comfortable.
Can you treat blond, grey, red or white hair?
IPL laser hair removal works best on light skin with dark hair. It focuses heat on the melanin in the hair and carries it into the follicle. Hairs with minimal or no melanin will not be able to get long-term results. We offer waxing for areas that may not be best suited for IPL hair removal.
What do I need to know about green toning?
After a low level green toning procedure your skin will be slightly red for a couple of hours however this will disappear very quickly. For stronger treatments you may experience some scabbing or flaking although we prefer to use less aggressive laser settings. You will not experience any discomfort after the treatment.
For the Green Toning treatments Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic uses the Fotona QX MAX laser. The Q-Switch laser works on the melasma in a similar way to tattoo removal – using a nanosecond pulse to shatter the underlying pigment in the skin. This creates a photoaccoustic response in the skin, shattering the pigment into particles small enough to be removed by the body’s inflammatory response.
Does the Green Toning Treatment hurt?
Anesthetic is not needed for low energy green toning however you will be able to feel the treatment. At Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic we always use a cooling device (Koolio) which blows refrigerated air onto the area and makes the treatment very tolerable. The sensation is a lot like pins and needles. Green toning is much more comfortable than IPL therapies and there will be no discomfort post treatment.
How many treatments do I need with Green Toning?
Depending on how strong your skin discolouration is, the amount of treatment sessions required will vary. Normally 3 to 4 treatments will be scheduled, with one session per month. After this we will assess your melasma’s response to the treatment and schedule more sessions if required, or cut back to maintenance sessions. It is particularly difficult to predict how melasma will respond to treatment and it can be different in every case.
Are there any adverse outcomes that can happen with Green Toning?
It is very rare to have any adverse outcome when treating with Green Toning but can include a loss of skin colour in the treated area (hypopigmentation), a brown mark that may take a few months to fade (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), redness that may take a little longer than usual to dissipate and a bacterial infection (laser treatments can sometimes trigger herpes simplex outbreaks.). Scarring is also very rare although it can infrequently occur in darker skin.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.