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Laser Tattoo Removal

Get rid of unwanted tattoos safely and effectively


Procedure Summary

Surgery Type:


Procedure Duration:

Dependant on size

Expected Results:

Removes tattoo without the need for skin removal

Recovery Duration:

Several weeks

First used:


Results Duration:




Average UK Cost:

Varies depending on size

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If you’re one of the many people that think it’s time to part company with your tattoo, a laser tattoo removal procedure could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Laser tattoo removal uses pulses of laser energy to selectively destroy the tattoo’s pigment without damaging the surrounding tissue. The wavelength of the laser beam, the duration of the pulse and the specific type of laser used can be varied to correspond to the predominant colours in your tattoo, leaving the skin more uniform and natural-looking (though not quite in its pre-tattoo state).

Albert Einstein initially came up with the concept that helped develop lasers in 1917. Lasers began to be used in the 1960’s as a cutting device in medical procedures. But it was in fact a dermatologist named Dr Leon Goldman who, in 1962, first used the ruby laser in medicine to burn out a tattoo from the skin. Laser Tattoo removal technology has continued to develop over the decades and is now widely used as the preferred method for painless tattoo removal.

What can laser tattoo removal do for you?

The reasons given for undergoing laser tattoo removal vary; it may be a poor quality tattoo, it may be in an inappropriate place or it may no longer be something you wish to have as a permanent part of your body. To be a suitable candidate for laser removal your tattoo will have been created with basic colouring (definitely without any fluorescent colours) and your skin in the tattooed area will be free from scars and keloids (i.e. scar tissue). In addition, you should not have connective tissue disorders, such as lupus, and not have taken Accutanein the last 18 months .

As one patient commented after his laser tattoo removal treatment, “When I was 15 years old my friend’s older brother gave me a ‘tattoo’. I just wanted to see if he could do it so I ended up with some meaningless marks in a deep blue ink on my forearm. It never occurred to me how I would feel 20 years later when I’m trying to be taken seriously with these stupid schoolboy squiggles on my arm! Thankfully, laser treatment came to my rescue and erased them forever.”

Your particular suitability for laser tattoo removal treatment will be discussed during your initial consultation with the practitioner. Laser Tattoo RemovalThey will examine your tattoo closely as well as your general skin tone and quality. The size, style, colour and location of the tattoo, as well as the colour and texture of your skin, will determine the type of laser treatment recommended. Your doctor will also want to know when, where, and by whom your tattoo was applied, as these factors too can affect the method of treatment. Some types of tattoo are easier to treat than others. Older tattoos and amateur tattoos are easier to remove than recent or professionally applied tattoos, and some colours are easier to treat than others.

Undergoing laser tattoo removal

Firstly, any oils on the skin on and around the tattooed area will be removed. Then, the laser will be targeted at specific areas of your tattoo, emitting intense pulses of laser light into your skin. There will be quite a lot of noise coming from the machine that delivers the laser pulses and you will experience a stinging sensation during the treatment, though a numbing cream or a local anaesthetic can be used to minimise any pain. Several treatments will be required to achieve the desired outcome.

For a few weeks after the treatment, the area may have a slight sunburned appearance. There may also be some bruising and with deeper tattoos, bleeding is a possibility. Recovery times depend on the extent of the treatment. During the recovery period you should take care to avoid exposing the treated area to the sun. One recipient of laser tattoo removal treatment described his recovery period like this: “I have spent years covering up an unattractive tattoo on my upper arm, so concealing a patch of red skin for a few weeks was a small price to pay for divesting myself of that damn thing.”

Most people are satisfied with the pigment removal achieved through laser treatment. It is important to remember, however, that your skin will never look exactly as it did before you had the tattoo, even though the tattooed pigment has been removed. Occasionally, the area treated by the laser may become hardened, rough or blistered, and there may be some discolouration in the pigment of the surrounding skin. As with all cosmetic procedures of this nature, it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner after the procedure. This will make the outcome as successful as possible and reduce the risk of complications

Who should carry out laser tattoo removal?

Many practitioners are trained and authorised to provide laser treatment, however, there is an art to tattoo removal that can only come with experience. So seek out a doctor/surgeon/nurse that has the correct equipment and plenty of experience performing the procedure in an establishment registered with the Healthcare Commission (in the UK)

The cost of laser tattoo removal varies depending on the size of the tattoo and the type of tattoo ink used (as this will correspond to the number of treatment sessions required). Prices for the treatment can range from £50 to £300 per session. The cost of laser tattoo removal for large or complex tattoos, requiring many sessions of painstaking work, can, therefore, run into thousands of pounds. If laser tattoo removal is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with an experienced practitioner.

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