The cosmetically best way to remove tattoos is using lasers. Unlike earlier methods, such as surgery or dermabrasion, the Q-switched lasers break up the tattoo pigment with a very low risk of scarring. At Dermatology Consulting, our consultant dermatologist uses a very high power Q-switch Nd:YAG laser. This technology has been developed especially for tattoo removal and is among the most frequently used lasers to eliminate unwanted tattoos. It is particularly good at fading black, blue, and red colours, although green and yellow can be more difficult to remove.
How do lasers remove tattoos?
The very short pulse of laser light is shone onto the tattoo and breaks the ink particles into tiny fragments. These fragments are then cleared away by the body’s own natural scavenger/clearing cells (called macrophages), a process which can take several weeks.
What does it feel like?
Local anaesthetic cream can be applied to the area beforehand if desired. The laser is shone onto the tattoo in very fast bursts. This is usually described as feeling like a quick flash of heat each time the laser fires. An antibiotic or healing ointment t can be applied to the skin afterwards.
How often is the treatment repeated?
The treatment is repeated every few weeks (6-8 weeks) as the pigment is gradually broken down and then removed by the body’s own clearing system.
Several treatments are needed and how fast a tattoo clears depends on several factors including the colour, age and depth of the tattoo. Some tattoos fade within a couple of sessions, although most need 6 to 12 sessions.