Laser tattoo removal: ditch the ink and safely remove that unwanted tattoo
Laser tattoo removal gets rid of unwanted tattoos permanently and safely. There are various reasons why people want to remove (or fade) tattoos, including to have existing tattoos modified, or to remove a tattoo they no longer like or that wasn’t designed correctly in the first place. Regardless of the reason for wanting a tattoo removed (or just faded for re-inking), About Face Brisbane provides the most advanced solution by using the latest and safest laser tattoo removal techniques.
Laser tattoo removal: the important things to know
Laser tattoo removal: how does it work?
About Face Brisbane’s state of the art Medlite C6 Nd:YAG Q-Switched Laser shatters tattoo pigment into tiny particles. These tiny particles are then targeted and removed by the body’s immune system.
This video shows the laser tattoo removal treatment in action (as seen on the History Channel):
For a more detailed explanation on how this process works, including how different wavelengths of laser energy affect different tattoo colours, refer to the ‘What is the science behind the laser tattoo removal?’ section at the bottom of this page.
What types of tattoos can be removed by About Face Brisbane?
About Face Brisbane can remove or fade all types of tattoos, including:
- Professional and amateur tattoos of any colour and size.
- Cosmetic tattoos on the lips, eyebrows or eyelids.
- Tattoos caused by trauma to the skin (for example, skin pigmentation caused by debris or dirt embedment in the skin following a motorcycle accident).
Why choose About Face Brisbane for your tattoo removal treatment?
- Experience you can trust: About Face Brisbane’s head doctor, Dr Colin Campey, is one of the most experienced laser operators in Brisbane and has been successfully removing unwanted tattoos for over 18 years.
- Uncompromised quality: Dr Campey uses the latest state of the art Medlite C6 NdYAG Q-Switched Laser which has proven to be the best method of fading or removing tattoos of all colours. By using the Q-Switch Laser the chances of scarring are dramatically reduced when compared other tattoo removal methods.
- Effective pain relief: We use a range of pain relief techniques including methoxyflurane (‘the green stick’) which is a prescription-only medication. We are able to offer this effective pain relief as all of our laser removal treatments are performed by a fully qualified doctor.
- Free advice: We provide a free, no obligation consultation before you commence treatment so that we can personalise treatment to suit your needs. You may want to remove a tattoo completely, or you may want to fade an existing tattoo so you can have a new or redesigned tattoo created over the top. Whatever the size or colour of the tattoo Dr Campey can recommend the best treatment type for you.
- Pay when you want to pay: We offer zipPay which means you can remove your tattoo whenever you want to, and pay later, on your terms.
Book in today for your free consultation for with Dr Campey to receive your no-obligation treatment plan and quote.
How many laser tattoo removal treatments will be needed?
There are many factors involved in determining the number of treatments required for tattoo removal as explained in detail below. On average, at least ten sessions will be needed to remove a professional tattoo completely. At least four sessions will be required to fade a professional tattoo or remove an amateur tattoo.
The factors that affect the number of sessions required include:
- Skin type – lighter skin types require fewer sessions. Tattoo ink and melanin in the skin are both targets for the energy from the laser beam. Darker skin has more melanin, which means that the laser will be more attracted to normal skin in individuals with darker skin types. This can lead to a loss of skin pigment. To counteract this, darker skin types must be treated with lower laser settings to avoid complications. Therefore, a higher number of sessions are required for individuals with darker skin types.
- Tattoo location – tattoos located on areas of the body which receive a high supply of blood and have good lymphatic drainage will require fewer laser sessions to remove them. This is because the shattered particles of tattoo ink are removed by the body’s immune and lymphatic system following a laser treatment session. Different areas of the body receive different levels of blood supply, and have different amount of lymphatic drainage. The extremities of the body have the poorest blood supply and lymphatic drainage, and the head, neck and trunk of the body have the greatest. For example, this means a tattoo on the wrist will take more sessions to remove than a tattoo on the neck.
- Colour – green, yellow and multi-coloured tattoos require more sessions to remove than black tattoos.
- Quantity of ink present – the quantity of ink present in the tattoo will affect the number of sessions required to remove or fade it. Heavily inked or solid tattoos will require a higher number of sessions to achieve the desired result (removal or fading) than tattoos with a minimal amount of ink such as outlines.
- Scarring – tattoos that caused complications such as changes to the skin tissue (i.e. scarring) require more sessions to remove them.
- Layered tattoos – tattoos layered over other tattoos are usually more difficult to remove due to the extra ink from the subsequent tattoo.
If the energy level of laser is set too high, the number of session required to achieve the desired result will be reduced, but the chance of complications such as hypopigmentation (a loss of skin pigment) will be increased. Conversely, if a low laser energy setting is used, the chance of complications is also reduced, but the number of sessions required will increase. This is why it’s essential to only have tattoos removed by an experienced practitioner such as Dr Campey who understands all the medical and aesthetic factors that need to be taken into account when determining the correct laser setting to use to avoid unwanted side effects such as scarring.
The best way to find out how many sessions you’ll need to fade or remove a tattoo is to have a free of charge (and free of obligation) consultation with Dr Colin Campey to get the facts relevant to your tattoo.
What is involved with laser tattoo removal?
We recommend you book in for a free consultation with Dr Colin Campey who will examine your tattoo and provide you with a recommended treatment plan tailored to your skin type, tattoo type and the result you want to achieve (fading or total removal).
On the day of the treatment, we will thoroughly cleanse and dry your skin and apply a topical anaesthetic cream (if desired) or use ice during the treatment. Once the topical numbing cream has taken affect (the numbing cream can take 15 to 30 mins to work, so some clients have bought cream and applied it themselves at home before they come for the treatment) the treatment will be performed by Dr Colin Campey using our Medlite C6 Nd:YAG Q-Switched Laser.
The treatment will take approximately 5 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the tattoo.
Once the laser treatment has been completed, the treated tattoo might appear slightly white (‘frosted’) and raised for a short period of time (from 30 minutes to a few hours). The skin surrounding the treatment area might appear red, and there may be a small amount of pinpoint (tiny spots of blood) bleeding.
As Dr Campey performs the treatment safely and without risks there is very little trauma to the site and the body’s immune system heals the treated area quite fast. If any irritation to the skin occurs, simply apply bepanthen to ease the discomfort. It is not advised to expose the treated area to the sun. Doing so will increase your chances of sun damage and will reduce the pigment-removal affects of the treatment.
You will be able to drive yourself home if you need to, with one exception – if you choose to use ‘the green stick’, you won’t be able to drive for the rest of the day.
You’ll need to wait at least six to eight weeks before your next laser tattoo removal treatment. This allows your body sufficient time to remove the particles of tattoo pigment that were broken down during the laser treatment session. If the same area is re-treated too soon, the chance of scaring will be increased.
How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
Prices vary depending on the size of the tattoo. One laser tattoo removal session will cost between $100 and $500 depending on the size of the tattoo.
The initial consultation with Dr Campey is free.
Other useful information about laser tattoo removal
What areas of the body can be treated?
About Face Brisbane can remove tattoos on all areas of the body for any skin type.
What skin types can be treated?
All skin types can be treated with laser tattoo removal.
However, with darker skin types, tattoos require more sessions to remove it to avoid hypopigmentation, which means a loss of pigment from the skin. This is because darker skin types contain more melanin. The laser energy is attracted to both the pigment in the tattoo and melanin in the skin, meaning that when it comes to darker skin types, the laser energy will have more impact on the non-tattooed skin than it does with people with lighter skin types. To minimise this risk for people with darker skin types, a lower energy level is required, which means more sessions will be needed.
Can the treated area be re-tattooed over?
Yes, after your course of laser tattoo removal sessions is complete and the tattoo has been removed, you can have another tattoo inked over the treated area (or you can re-ink a tattoo if you were just fading it). You will need to wait until the area is completely healed before re-tattooing.
Is laser tattoo removal painful?
Laser tattoo removal can be uncomfortable but the treatment will be over and done with very quickly. If you could handle the feeling of getting a tattoo in the first place, you can easily handle the feeling of getting it removed. This is because we can use a few different methods to make the treatment more comfortable for you. We use a topical numbing cream combined with skin cooling techniques. We also offer methoxyflurane (the ‘green stick’) to take the edge off. Being able to use methoxyflurane is one of the advantages of having laser tattoo removal treatment performed by a doctor, as this is a prescription-only medication. If using the ‘green stick’ you will require someone else to drive you home.
What is the science behind laser tattoo removal?
We use various medical-grade lasers in our clinic, all of which are designed to treat different problems. Doctors agree that Q-Switched lasers are the best choice for tattoo removal as they have a photo-mechanical effect on the tattoo pigment. The pigments in the tattoo ink (which are tiny and insoluble) attract the laser energy, which selectively shatters tattoo ink pigment into even smaller pieces which can then be eliminated through the body’s natural mechanisms. Q-switched lasers work extremely well on tattoos because they have a very short, very high-power pulse which is needed to shatter tattoo pigment.
For laser tattoo removal, Dr Campey uses a Medlite Q-Switched Laser. This laser can emit a high-powered beam through an extremely short (less than 20 nanoseconds) pulse. The Medlite Q-Switched Laser emits laser energy at two different frequencies (wavelengths) – 1064 nanometres (nm) (this is the Nd:YAG mode) and 532nm. Longer wavelengths penetrate deeper than shorter wavelengths.
The laser light generated by the laser operates via selective photothermolysis. This means that certain colours in the tattoo attract certain wavelengths of the laser beam. This allows targeting and specific heating of a targeted colour and reduces the impact on surrounding areas of skin.
Red or orange tattoo pigment responds best to the 532nm wavelength. The 1064nm wavelength is most effective when dealing with blue, black or green tattoo pigment.