Laser Tattoo Removal
Just because you thought it was a good idea when you were 19 doesn’t mean you need to live with it forever……
For years our clients have been looking for a safe way to remove their unwanted tattoos but it hasn’t been until recently that modern technology has delivered. Using the Harmony Q-Switched Nd: YAG laser we are now able to effectively remove tattoos of any colours from any area, whether it was done by a professional or amateur.
The Q-Switched laser shoots an intense beam of light which is directed at the tattoo to shatter and break down the ink into manageable particles that are then eliminated by the body’s lymphatic elimination system. The dye in the unwanted tattoo is all that is targeted by the laser so this is safe for the surrounding skin and there is little risk of scarring of skin damage from the treatment. Over the course of a short series of treatments spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart, the tattoo being targeted gradually fades then disappears, with the darker, more visible ink colours such as black, red and blue disappearing first followed by lighter colours such as green and yellow. With years of experience under our belt we have found that professional tattoos from tattoo studios typically take 5 to 8 treatments for clients to achieve their desired results, while homemade tattoos typically need 3 to 5 treatments for desired results.
During the treatments our highly trained medical aestheticians use the Harmony Nd:YAG laser to shoot short bursts of light at the unwanted tattoo. Though the treatments are relatively painless, we like to apply a topical anesthesia to minimize discomfort. Our clients say the treatments feel like a short, quick snap from an elastic band. The length and price of each appointment needed depends on the size, colour and depth of the tattoo so we recommend having a complimentary consultation with one of our patient consultants before undergoing treatments to manage your expectations.
Recovery from the tattoo removal treatments is very quick. Following the session we dress the treated area with antibacterial ointment to keep the area clean and reduce any risk of infection. Scabs that form should never be picked or removed or a scar could result.
Laser Tattoo Removal Frequently Asked Questions
- What do you use to remove a tattoo?
At Light Touch Med Spa we use the Harmony Laser to remove tattoos. We have found surgery leaves scarring and creams definitely don’t work at all. The Harmony is a safe and gentle laser that has become the gold standard of effective laser tattoo removal. The Harmony uses a ‘q-switched, Nd:YAG’ laser with wavelengths of light that break down and remove dark as well as light colors of tattoo ink.
- How exactly does the laser break up the tattoo ink?
Specific light wavelengths generated by the Harmony tattoo removal laser are absorbed by the ink in the unwanted tattoo. This absorption of light results in your tattoo heating up in a split fraction of a second which causes the ink to be shattered into tiny little pieces. These tiny ink fragments are easily flushed away by your body’s lymphatic system, comparable to how your immune system flushes out germs and bacteria.
- Why do I need multiple sessions?
Just like when you got your tattoo, it probably took a few sessions, it is the same with removing your tattoo. That is because tattoo ink is layered into your skin and each removal laser treatment chips away at shattering and dissolving layers of ink which your body will flush away in the weeks after your treatment. Each time we preform a treatment we cover the area as completely as possible and break up as much ink as possible. Tattoos that are less dense and just shading are quicker to remove than those with thick, dark lines.
- What is the cost of every session?
The cost of each session depends on the size of the unwanted tattoo. With sessions starting as low as $200 per treatment, we offer free consultations to discuss your desires and categorize your tattoo into “small”, “medium” or “large” for the purpose of pricing. Small tattoos are generally 2 inches by 2 inches, medium tattoos approximately 4 inches by 4 inches, and large tattoos are normally given a custom price per session. At Light Touch Med Spa we are very experienced, highly competitive in our pricing and offer further discounts to those with multiple tattoos wished to be removed at the same time.
- How many sessions will I need to remove my tattoo?
Every tattoo has unique features that make it difficult to predict how many sessions you will need to have it completely removed. With many year’s of experience at tattoo removal, once we see a tattoo we are able to predict how many treatments your tattoo will need in most cases. The number will depend on the age of the tattoo, the colours, depths and densities of the inks.
…..Age: Older tattoos can be removed in fewer treatments than newer tattoos therefore a 20 year old tattoo may take two to three treatments less than a 1 year old ‘fresh’ tattoo. A name tattoo written in black (also called “dark green”) ink that is 1 year old may take 5-7 sessions to be removed completely.
…..Colour: Certain colours are definitely easier to remove than others. Highly visible colours such as black and red tattoos are easiest to remove. Orange, yellow, pink, purple, brown, and other shades are a little more difficult to remove. However, the most difficult colours to remove are light green, light blue, and teal/turquoise. During your initial free consultation we will discuss the number of treatments needed to remove certain colours.
…..Density of the Ink: Shading is easy to remove because the ink is not dense. Some tattoos with letters use shading to fill in the outlines of the letters or shading is often seen in clouds. Shading is easily removed in a few sessions however denser darker areas need more treatments to be totally broken down and removed.
Do “tattoo removal creams” help?: Magic tattoo removal creams, lotions and potions have impressive claims with very unimpressive results. We have tested many of these topical solutions for 3 to 6 months and still have not found one yet that yields any results at all. So the answer is a resounding: NO!
- Will the laser procedure scar my skin?
Harmony’s ND Yag Q switch laser is so popular mainly because it is gentle and safe on the skin – not penetrating deep enough to cause scarring. Also the Harmony won’t burn skin off like the old lasers for tattoo removal did. Tattoo removal lasers used in the past were much more damaging to the skin (BEWARE: some clinics still use these old lasers to remove tattoos!) because the wavelengths used would transfer a huge amount of heat to the skin causing layers of skin to be burned away. Modern lasers – like our Harmony’s ND Yag Q switch laser – work differently. With modern lasers, we are able to select individual chromophores in skin, namely the tattoo ink, and target the ink while ignoring healthy skin cells. This selective application of energy is more gentle and safer to the skin being treated.
The only patients that we raise concerns over scarring to are those with a history of keloid scarring. With that said, we have successfully treated many patients that keloid scar with no adverse effects. Our goal is to make your skin look clear, just like it did before your tattoo!
- What side effects might I experience?
Patients most commonly experience some redness, swelling, and minor blistering of the skin after their tattoo removal laser treatment. Blistering is the most common side effect, but left alone to heal, these blisters disappear quickly and leave no long-term damage or mark. Any side effects we have experienced are very temporary and your skin will heal completely and quickly. Detailed after-care instructions are always discussed and explained to help clients manage their skin after the treatment.
Please call the laser tattoo removal experts at LightTouch Med Spa to schedule a free consultation at Mississauga 416-251-7546, Oakville 905-815-0617, or Waterloo 226-972-9215.