Tattoo removal

Decorative tattoos are indelible patterns deliberately made on the skin and have a history dating back at least 5000 years. They can be done by a professional, who introduces pigments into the lower levels of the skin (dermis) with an electric needle, or by amateurs pricking in soot or Indian ink. Tattoos are permanent because the pigment collects in granules, which are too large to be removed by macrophages, the body’s natural scavengers.

Tattoo treatment results

How can tattoos be removed?
Until recently, surgery was the only way to remove tattoos by cutting the affected area out and either stitching the wound or grafting skin from another part of the body. Alternatively, dermabrasion - scraping off layers of skin until all the pigment is removed - is effective, but can leave unsightly scars and an imprint of the original tattoo. These methods can be expensive, painful and can leave a high degree of scarring. Over the last few years, advances in laser technology have brought us treatments designed specifically for removing tattoos.

How does the laser remove the tattoo?
The laser works by selectively targeting the pigment of the tattoo without damaging the surrounding skin. The lasers used for treating tattoos produce a light, which only affects the pigment granules with a burst of energy, which shatters the particles of ink into thousands of particles small enough to be taken up and carried away from the skin by the white blood cells. The treatment does not cut or burn.

Does it scar?
No, the final results are excellent. However, the skin may not be instantly perfect. Very occasionally, because it has been traumatised by the treatment, a faint shadow may result until the melanin in the skin returns to normal.

Does it hurt?
Most patients say it is like having a tattoo put on. It can feel like the snap of a rubber band against the skin. Any discomfort is usually gone in a few minutes.

Do all colours of ink disappear equally well?
No, dark inks like black, blue and red fade the best. Oranges and purples usually respond well. Green and yellow inks are the most difficult to remove, although additional treatments can produce significant fading. White is unaffected by laser treatment.

How many treatments are needed?
It depends on the individual tattoo and varies from person to person. Amateur tattoos take an average of four treatments and professional ones about eight. It is necessary to leave four weeks between treatments to allow time for the white blood cells to mop up the dispersed broken down ink particles. Very rarely are more than ten treatments necessary.

Will the tattoo completely disappear?
In most cases, yes. However, remember there are hundreds of different inks in worldwide use today. Unfortunately tattoo inks are non-standard and can even be mixed with other compounds which can make it impossible to predict accurately the degree of removal of any given tattoo.

What is the cost?

The cost of each treatment varies. The cost is directly associated with the time it takes to treat certain areas. At the Hampshire Laser Clinic, we can offer very competitive and affordable laser treatments because we only use fast, state of the art lasers. Please use our contact form or call us on- 01420 52 00 33 (Bentley Clinic) or 01483 23 36 53 (Woking Clinic) for specific costs or general enquiries.

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