• Cutis Clinic

Laser Tattoo Removal | All Questions You Could Have

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Cutis Clinic is one of only two Specialist Tattoo Removal clinics in Queensland. We have treated thousands of clients from Brisbane and the State. You can be sure of receiving the absolute best, and safest service at an affordable price. Dr Davin Lim and his team are National and International trainers in the art and science of laser tattoo removal. So, how many session will I require?

Facts on the predictive values on how many sessions are required for tattoo removals

  • Blacks and reds are easy to remove

  • High density ink is hard to remove than low density pigment

  • Green and blues are the hardest tattoos to remove or modify

  • Multiple wavelengths are needed for different colours

  • Tattoos on the face and neck are easier to remove than tats on the hands and feet

  • Ethnic skin tattoo removal will often result in a decrease of skin colour

  • Tattoo removal should always be conducted medically, in a laser suite or theatre

  • Tattoo removal is a specialist treatment, as complications can occur

  • Specialist understand the risks and benefits of tattoo removal and will provide you with the best possible advice and treatments

What is our point of difference in tattoo removals?

We lecture and teach tattoo removal Nationally and Internationally. Under the guidance of Dr Davin Lim, senior laser dermatologist, we have helped remove or modify thousands of tattoos. We conduct tattoo removal at the medical highest standards, but also take this procedure to another level-namely to a Specialist degree. We understand the art of tattoos and how to remove and modify them. Additionally we work with many tattoo artists to provide cover-ups and partial removals for their clients. Dr Davin Lim quotes the following -“Moo”, “Link”, and “Squid” are well respected tattoo artist in Brisbane who have both tattooed myself and has seen my work in regards to tattoo removals and tattoo modifications. “I think working with a tattoo artist is one of the most satisfying part of tattoo modification. Having two sleeves and being inked for the past 25 years by Brisbane’s leading tattoo artists gives me insight, and mutual respect for the work talented tattoo artists have done for me. One of my favourite lines is ‘who knows skin better than a dermatologist or a tattoo artist’

Why is the location of the tattoo an important predictive value?

Tattoos on the head and neck require fewer treatments than on the hands and feet. This is because your immune system can clear away tattoo ink more quickly with areas of greatest lymphatic supply- that is the face and neck. Tattoos on the feet take an extra few laser sessions to clear. The further away a tattoo is from the head and neck the more treatments are required.

What tattoo colours can be removed by laser?

All types and colours of tattoo ink can be faded by laser tattoo removal, however some are easier to remove than others. Amateur black ink is by far the easiest- sometimes fading completely in 1-4 sessions. Some colours like metallic green take many sessions to fade, up to 15 or more. Red tattoos are the second easiest colour to remove, blues and yellows are harder. Multicoloured green tattoos are by far the hardest to remove. In some cases greens are mixed with black ink, and in other cases oxides. This can sometime turn the green to black, then we need to use a 1064 laser, before targeting the green with a 755 laser. It can be done, but it is challenging.

Why is tattoo size important?

Larger tattoos require more treatments than smaller tattoos. This is because your immune system can clear a certain amount of ink at any given time. Large full sleeve tattoos may take up to 20 sessions to remove. With large tattoos, we encourage partial removal or fading for cover ups. Small tattoos can be removed in one or two sessions. In fact at Cutis Clinic we provide a free laser tattoo removal service to cancer survivors. Radiation ink can usually be removed with one or two sessions because the colour of the tattoo is black, ink density is light, and it is placed superficially. Cutis Clinic’s free service is our way of acknowledging the hard battle your fought- and won.

What is the meaning of tattoo layering and why is this important in removals?

Some tattoos are layered, meaning that multiple layers, sometimes with many colours are placed deep into the skin. Remember that one wavelength of laser can only target one colour. For example, you may have a green tattoo that is covered with black to achieve transitions and shading. When you undergo laser removal with the black removal wavelength, the colour of your tattoo will be removed in layers- green will then need to be removed using another laser wavelength.

What is the average sessions it takes to remove a small black tattoo?

4-8 that is the average figure. Once again it comes down to the site of the tattoo, density of the black ink, your skin colour, the laser used but most importantly your immune system. This is the biggest unknown in context of laser tattoo removal.

What is the meaning of tattoo density and why is this important?

Tattoo density refers to the amount of ink placed in the skin. Dense ink include outlines of tattoos and tribal designs. Low density tattoo inks include Japanese shading and light colours. The higher the density, the more treatments are needed. Shaded tattoos are much easier to fade compared to dense tattoos. Script tattoos are usually of moderate density, whilst portrait tattoos are lower density tattoos.

Why is a medical history important in tattoo removals?

A medical history is vital in tattoo removal as a history of keloid scarring can affect the way we remove tattoos. Additionally other medical conditions such as sarcoidosis can present as tattoo allergies. If you have a history of recurrent infections we take extra precautions to give you antibiotics. In the unlike event that you do scar following a laser procedure, Specialist will be able to reverse scarring. Other cosmetic laser clinics will not have the expertise to deal with complications including allergies, infection, scarring and antigen changing reactions.

Why is skin type important in tattoo removal?

Darker patients, Asian and ethinic skin patients in particular will require 2-4 more tattoo removal sessions compared to Caucasian patients. This is because the pigment in your skin will compete with the laser to remove the ink in the tattoo. The darker your complexion, the more session you will require.

What is the difference between a professional tattoo and an amateur tattoo?

This is one of the most important predictive values in tattoo removal. Amateur tattoos are usually black and the ink is low density, placed very superficially, professional tattoos are placed with high density ink, deep in the lower layers of the skin. Amateur tattoos can be removed in 2-4 sessions, whilst professional tattoos take 10-15 sessions to remove. Lead or carbon pencil tattoo are very easy to remove- 1-3 sessions on average.

Why is extra caution need for cosmetic tattoos?

Cosmetic tattoos of the eyebrows and lips consist of metals such as titanium and iron oxide. Oxidation of tattoos can occur with laser- this means flesh coloured tattoos can turn black or brown following laser. At Cutis Clinic we perform a test patch prior to treating the cosmetic tattoo. If you do have tattoo darkening we keep treating this a black tattoo and over time this will fade. Oxidation of tattoos is a well know, and patients need to understand why this happens

What is the meaning of a cover up tattoo or laser tattoo modification?

This means we work with a tattooist to partially remove or lighten a pre-existing tattoo, either to remove parts of it, or lighten certain areas. This can provide a new canvas for your artist to re-ink the area, and give you another new tattoo. This is a very common procedure as we work with many tattoo studios and artists in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. In the ideal world lasers are best for cover ups, especially sleeves or half sleeves. This is because the sheer amount of tattoo ink cannot be easily removed by your immune system. This ‘ink overload’ can slow down the tattoo removal process.

How can I boost my immune system to help remove tattoos faster?

That is a tough one- it’s all about balance. The most important and predictive value is smoking. In a recent article published in the Arch. Of Dermatology, smokers take 26-43% more treatments to achieve the same clearance of ink following laser tattoo removal. Leading a healthy stress free life with moderate alcohol can help, but seriously, who says ‘ don’t stress’ in this day and age? Immune boosters, vitamins and a good intake of water can, in theory help your immune system. The truth is each and everyone of us will have a different immune response. This is genetically determined but epigenetic play a role in removal of ink after tattoo removal with a laser. Epigenetics means genes, modified by environmental factors= tattoo removal speed.

Why are predictive values important in laser tattoo removal?

Predictive values are essential for both the specialist laser operator and the patient as this provides realistic expectations and time frames for laser tattoo removal. Despite the advances in tattoo lasers, ink technology is far ahead of lasers- even with the new pico wavelength lasers such as the Picoway, Picosure and Enlighten. Predictive values still outweigh the brand of laser and the pulse duration of machines. Until we catch up with ink variations, I feel that only blacks and reds can reliably be removed with predictability. Without doubt, for greens the majority will respond to pico lasers better than nanosecond ones. Ideally the job of a laser dermatologist is to fade the tattoo as much as we can and work in with a tattoo artist for cover-ups. Large multi coloured tattoos take many sessions to fade, and even more to remove.

What should I consider before getting my tattoo removed?

Motivation. If you are motivated, you will get there. Book in for a complementary consultation with the tattoo removal team at Cutis Clinic. I have access to 4 laser tattoo devices, however the PiQo4 and the Pastelle provides much more power and consistency than the Revilite and Picosure I have in my rooms at Cutis Clinic.

Dr. Davin Lim

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