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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Tattoo Removal

Questions on how Laser Tattoo Removal Works

  • What do you use to remove a tattoo?

Light Touch Laser Clinic uses the one and only way to remove a tattoo without scarring – a tattoo removal laser. Magic creams don’t work, surgery leaves horrible scarring, and a variety of other methods have been tried and discarded with the advent of safe, effective, and gentle lasers. The lasers we use in our clinics is the gold standard for tattoo removal, and used exclusively for this one procedure. It is a q-switched, Nd:YAG lasers with wavelengths of light that can remove dark as well as light colors of ink.

  • How exactly does the laser break up the tattoo ink?

Precise wavelengths of light generated by the tattoo removal laser are designed to be absorbed by the ink in your tattoo. Like absorption of any other kind of energy, this absorption will lead to a transfer of energy, leading to the ink in your tattoo heating up. This heating happens in a fraction of a second and causes the ink to shatter into tiny pieces. Before, the ink particles were too large for your body to remove. Now, though, they are fragments that are able to be flushed away by your body’s immune system.

  • How does the body remove the shattered ink?

As with any other time the body senses out of the ordinary influences or substances, an immune response will occur. With tattoo removal this takes the form of some swelling and redness in the treated area. In your blood are phagocytes that will carry away the shattered ink particles away and fade your tattoo. Over a number of sessions your body will remove more and more ink until your tattoo is completely gone.

  • Why do I need multiple sessions?

As you may remember getting your tattoo – the tattoo artist likely put several layers of thick, rich ink in your skin. Over time, this ink drifts deeper into your skin and forms even more layers. Each time we perform a laser treatment on a patient’s skin we cover the area as completely as possible and break up as much ink as we can. Each layer will shatter ink and your body will flush away this ink in the weeks after your treatment. We’ll keep removing layers of ink until your tattoo is no longer visible. Some tattoos that have shading (less-dense ink) are quicker to remove than tattoos with very thick, dark lines or designs.

Questions on The Cost of Laser Tattoo Removal

  • What is the cost of every session?

The cost of each session depends on the size of the tattoo or tattoos being removed, with sessions as low as $200 per session. We’ll price each session during the free consultation but can give an estimate over the phone. We’ll categorize your tattoo into “small”, “medium” or “large” for the purpose of pricing, and give discounts for multiple tattoos removed at the same time. Small tattoos are generally 2 inches by 2 inches, or four square inches. This means that a 1 inch by 4 inch tattoo would be small as well. A medium tattoo is a tattoo up to 4 inches by 4 inches, or 2 inches by 8 inches, etc. A large tattoo is normally given a custom price per session, and we are competitive in our pricing and superior in our service.

  • How many sessions will I need to remove my tattoo?

This is definitely a frequently asked question! Every tattoo has unique features that make it difficult to predict how many sessions you will need. However, we’ve seen thousands of tattoos and can predict within a range of treatment how many treatments your tattoo will need in most cases. The number will depend on the age of the tattoo, the color of the ink, the density of the ink, the depth of the ink in your skin, and several other factors.

…..Age Older tattoos can be removed with less treatments than newer tattoos. A black ink tattoo that is 10 years old may take one or two treatments less than a 1 year old black tattoo. A 20 year old tattoo may take two to three treatments less than a 1 year old 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.

…..Color Certain colors are more easily removed than others. Black and red tattoos are the easiest to remove. Orange, yellow, pink, purple, brown, and other shades are slightly more difficult to remove. The most difficult colors to remove are light green, light blue, and teal/turquoise. During the free consultation we’ll discuss the number of treatments you’ll need to remove certain colors, but expect that you’ll need a few more if you have a difficult color, but the most difficult colors may not be able to be faded down completely.

…..Density of the InkShading in a tattoo is easily removed. Some tattoos with letters use shading to fill in the outlines of the letters. Some tattoos with certain designs use shading for clouds or other visual effect. Shading will be removed in only a few sessions in most cases.

Do “tattoo removal creams” help? Discussion of tattoo removal creams get laser tattoo removal professionals very excited. There aren’t many products that make such impressive claims and produce such unimpressive results. Almost every day we have patients who come to us at Light Touch Laser Clinic after trying these products for 3 or 6 months with absolutely no results.

Side Effects and Risks

  • Will the laser procedure scar my skin?

No, for almost all patients scarring will NOT occur. The only patients that have concerns over scarring are patients with a history of keloid scarring, and we screen for this very rare condition. Even with patients that keloid in most cases they will not scar from our tattoo removal procedure. Our goal is to make your skin look great – like it did before you had your tattoo!

Modern q-switched Nd:YAG lasers such as Harmony’s ND Yag Q switch are gentle with the skin – they do not penetrate deep enough to cause a scarring response and they don’t burn off skin like old lasers did – they use selective wavelengths of light to target the ink in your tattoo. Decades ago tattoo removal lasers were much more damaging to the skin (and some clinics that use old equipment still use these lasers so beware!) because the wavelengths used would transfer a huge amount of heat to the skin causing layers of skin to be burned away. Modern lasers – including all of those used at Light Touch Laser Clinic – work differently. Adhering to the principle of selective photothermolysis, individual chromophores in your skin (tattoo ink, in this case) are targeted and others are ignored. This selective application of energy is much, much more gentle on the skin.

  • Will the laser procedure scar my skin?

Almost every patient we treat compares the pain from the procedure with that of getting the tattoo applied. A key difference is that laser tattoo removal is much quicker – most treatments take between 5 and 30 minutes, with the average being around 10-15 minutes. Patients compare the discomfort with that of a rubber band snapping against their skin. Black ink tattoos are slightly less uncomfortable to remove than colored tattoos due to the wavelength of light we use to break up the ink.

  • What side effects might I experience?

Most patients experience some redness, swelling, and minor blistering of the skin after a laser treatment. Blistering is the most pronounced, but the blisters heal quickly and leave no long-term damage to the skin. These side effects are temporary and your skin will heal back completely. We provide our patients detailed after-care instructions to help them manage their skin after the treatment.

Please call the laser tattoo removal experts at Light Touch Laser Clinic to schedule a free consultation at Toronto 416-251-7546 or Mississauga 905-486-0106.