Tattoo Removal 2020:
The Ultimate Guide
Tattooing has become increasingly popular in the previous two decades: in 2020, 40% of the UK population are tattooed, and in the USA, this grows to 46% of people. It’s unsurprising, then, that laser tattoo removal is now more popular than ever, with roughly a third of those tattooed saying they regret their ink.
This is the ultimate guide to tattoo removal - expect honest, factual advice to all of tattoo removal’s commonly googled questions. We cover all bases: from cost, to science, technology, pain, side effects, efficacy, aftercare and generally want to expect.
What should I consider before removing a tattoo?
The results you want
Do you want your ink to be completely removed, faded for a cover-up tattoo, or fully removed for totally new ink? These are important questions to ask yourself. Some tattoo removal options can be damaging to the skin, and can result in scarring or pigment issues (known as hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation - the lightening and darkening of the skin). In these cases, it’s unlikely you’ll find a reputable tattoo artist willing to work with you as getting new ink over damaged skin can do much more harm than good. So be clear when you’re beginning your research on the kind of result you want.
Do your research
Choose a reputable clinic who will safely treat your skin. Look out for whether the technology being used is CE marked (in the UK), or FDA approved (in the USA), and make sure your laser technician is trained specifically in laser tattoo removal; rather than just trained in lasering more generally. Ideally, they’ll be trained in NVQ level 3 for beauty therapy, plus they will have followed a regular CPD programme (Continued Professional Development) within a salon or a clinic.
How quickly you want to fade your tattoo
Are you aiming to have your ink faded for a wedding, a holiday, or a particular event? This timeline should play a big part in choosing which tattoo removal method to go with. Some take longer than others - and your removal timeline can vary from just a couple of months, to up to a few years. This is largely because of the time it takes your skin to recover; low energy tattoo removal allows for treatments as regularly as every 1-2 weeks, while higher energy options mean you’ll have to wait several months between treatments.
Just remember, no professional can give you a definitive timeline - how long your tattoo takes to fade is based on lots of different factors: your genetics, your lifestyle, as well as the type of ink used, its density, and how deeply it sits in your skin. All of this means it’s near impossible to accurately predict how quickly the ink will be broken down and processed by the body. It really does differ case by case, so take any anticipated timeline with a pinch of salt.
You’ll need to avoid sun exposure
It’s recommended you totally avoid sun exposure (specifically protecting the area that’s being treated) throughout the removal process. Plan your holidays around sessions and accept this may elongate your overall removal timeline. Generally, you shouldn’t have your tattoo in the sun for 4 weeks before and after any lasering. This avoids any pigmentation issues, and generally makes the treatments more effective.
Your price point
There’s a huge range when it comes to how much laser tattoo removal costs - prices start from £40 per session, and go up to around £400 per session. And some tattoos (like sleeves and even half-sleeves) are too large to be treated in one session, so this price can rise. As with most services, it’s always sensible to begin with checking out reviews - make sure you’re getting what you want for your money. Consider how much you can spend on your whole removal process, and remember to take into account how regularly you’ll be making payments. Will you be going for removal sessions every other week, or will you be heading to the clinic just twice a year? Do also research bundles or packages of sessions - often, buying a pack of 5 or 10 is a much more economical way of paying for your removal, with some clinics offering as much as 25% off your final price when you buy a bundle.
Your skin type
It’s worth checking your skin is suitable for laser tattoo removal. Lasers can destroy the naturally occurring melanin in darker skin types, which can cause pigmentation issues (at its worst, leaving prominent light patches on the skin). Freckles, moles and sun damage can impact the way the laser interacts with your skin too - in rare cases, these skin types will mean you’re not eligible for treatment. Other factors like your skin’s laxity (how firm or loose the skin is), hydration and collagen concentration may influence how quickly you’ll see results, but are unlikely to disqualify you for the process in the first place. Do your research, and make sure you see your GP or dermatologist if you’re worried about your particular skin type (more reputable clinics will ask for a doctor’s note anyway).
Other medical considerations
Conditions like diabetes may impact how you react to laser tattoo removal. It’s unlikely you’d be suitable for laser tattoo removal if you’re pregnant, or taking certain medications like accutane or oral Retin-a. You may also need to avoid treatments if you’re suffering with an active skin infection, or have a diagnosed skin condition (read more about that here). It’s always best to see a medical health professional who’s aware of your health/disorder - most reputable clinics will request a doctor’s note to treat you anyway.
Some methods of tattoo removal are more painful than others
Just like getting your tattoo, having it removed or faded can result in discomfort and pain. Of course, pain is extremely subjective - people experience pain differently based on how the pain receptors in our brain behave. What some find to be unpleasant, others find to be agonizing.
The amount of pain you’ll experience isn’t just down to how you feel it, though - the technology being used plays a massive part. Generally, traditional laser methods (such as Q-switch) cause damage to the skin because they use higher amounts of energy, which leave lots of heat trapped in the skin. For most people, this will feel quite painful. More recent technology uses much less energy and is much less damaging to the skin, therefore generally causing a little discomfort, rather than lots of pain. The good thing is, the discomfort will only last as long as the treatment - you’ll feel fine afterwards because your skin won’t blister. So, if you're looking to minimise pain, look for more recent technologies which use much less energy.
There’s lots you can do to manage pain throughout the laser tattoo removal process. If you’re worried, take paracetamol or ibuprofen half an hour before your session. Speak with your laser technician about your concerns, and make sure they know to take regular breaks during the session. Many clinics will offer a local anaesthetic numbing cream to ease the sensation, with others using machines like a Zimmer Cryo to apply cold air at the area being treated - this is found to be very effective.
Make sure it’s what you want to do!
It goes without saying that you should think carefully about removing your tattoo. Once it’s gone, it’s gone - you can’t magic your ink back! Removal is a permanent process that can’t be un-done, so consider your options thoroughly.
"Low energy tattoo removal allows for treatments as regularly as every 1-2 weeks"
"Generally, traditional laser methods cause damage to the skin because they use higher amount of energy. More recent technology uses much less energy."
How much does it cost to remove a tattoo?
"It can be much more cost effective to buy a bundle of 5 or 10 sessions. At some clinics, the discounts will be as big as 20% or 25%."
There’s a huge range when it comes to laser tattoo removal pricing - stretching from £40 per session to £400 per session. If you’re on more of a budget, it’s important you have an idea of how many sessions it might take to fade or totally remove your ink (and bear in mind that if your tattoo is a half sleeve or bigger, it may be too large to be treated in one session). Make sure you do the maths only when you have had a professional look at your tattoo because the amount of sessions you need to remove your ink can vary hugely - anywhere from 4-20 separate sessions.
How many sessions you’ll need depends on:
the lasers used
the tattoo itself
how your body responds to the treatment
whether you’re aiming to fade, or totally remove your ink
So wait until you’ve had your tattoo reviewed before jumping to a calculation which lands you with a scary and unaffordable number.
The different tattoo removal options available today are priced based on various factors:
the type of laser being used
the kind of tattoo you have (density of ink, total size)
the level of expertise of the treatment consultant
where the clinic is located
Generally, cheaper options are available in out-of-town spa locations with beauticians using traditional technology, and higher costs are charged at top-end dermatologists’ offices in city centres using the latest kit. Make sure you do your research, and check reviews match up with what you’re paying for: are the laser technicians qualified is the clinic safe, do they achieve good results?
Do also take into account how regularly you’ll be paying for sessions - in some cases, you’ll only be paying for your removal twice a year; in others, you’ll be spending every 2 weeks. Make sure you research packages too - as with many aesthetic treatments, it can be much more cost effective to buy a bundle of 5 or 10 sessions, rather than pay for 1 each time. At some clinics, the discounts will be as big as 20% or 25% off your total removal price, so it’s well worth doing if you can. Look at the process holistically (remembering to factor in any additional costs like gel, creams and travel to your appointments) and weigh up how much you’re willing to spend to remove your unwanted ink.
What are the different types of tattoo removal?
There are several different types of tattoo removal; the most popular, safe and effective being laser tattoo removal. Older techniques of tattoo removal such as salabrasion (scrubbing the skin with salt), dermabrasion (an intense exfoliation), cryosurgery (skin grafting) and TCA (an acid which removes layers of the skin) have thankfully largely been relinquished. Often these practises don’t effectively remove your ink and are extremely damaging to the skin - not to mention very painful!
The most commonly practiced tattoo removal treatment involves the use of laser: it’s non-invasive and generally considered to be the safest way to remove unwanted ink. Laser tattoo removal is a method of ink removal whereby lasers are used to transfer energy (heat) to the tattooed area, which breaks down the ink particles sitting in the dermis (the second layer of skin), allowing your immune system to process it. There are three main types of laser currently on the market - they are all pulsed lasers which deliver energy in short bursts: generally referred to as the Q-switched, Pico and NAAMA.
Q switched lasers
Technically, most lasers used in laser tattoo removal are q-switched in some way. Various manufacturers produce q-switched lasers - it’s the oldest method of laser tattoo removal and is still used widely. These lasers work by repeatedly transferring energy to the ink molecules, pulsing at just over 1 nano second. The particles heat up extremely rapidly, expanding as they do, and eventually break apart. This causes heat to get trapped within the skin, which can result in pain and blistering (and sometimes even scarring).
Pico lasers are lasers which generally pulse at under 1 nano second, a little faster than many q-switched lasers. Most of these lasers pulse at a few hundred picoseconds; one manufacturer, for instance, pulses at 750 picoseconds. The faster the light energy is applied to the ink molecules, the more effectively it can be absorbed. Pico lasers create localised shockwaves in the skin which shatter tattoo ink (also called a photoacoustic effect), breaking the ink apart into small enough pieces to be processed by the immune system. This can result in heat being trapped inside the skin, albeit slightly less heat than with more conventional q switch lasers. This can be painful and damaging.
NAAMA is a brand new type of laser tattoo removal, which uses up to 1000x less energy to break down ink particles, pulsing at a far faster speed than any other lasers on the market. This method means that more energy can be absorbed in a much shorter time, breaking ink molecules apart quickly before heat can escape and damage the surrounding skin. Essentially, NAAMA uses the right amount of energy, rather than an excess of energy. This is the most efficient and damage-free way to remove ink from the body and is the most advanced technology available today.
"NAAMA is a brand new type of laser tattoo removal, which uses up to 1000x less energy to break down ink particles."
What is the most effective tattoo removal?
"Generally, the lasers believed to be most effective are those that use less energy and pulse the most rapidly."
The most effective form of tattoo removal is widely accepted as laser tattoo removal, with ancient and traditional methods being largely abandoned due to the amount of damage they cause to the skin. These include salabrasion (scrubbing the skin with salt), dermabrasion (an intense exfoliation), cryosurgery (skin grafting) and TCA (an acid which removes layers of the skin).
Laser tattoo removal was first developed back in the 1960s, and has since been much improved: what is now available on the market is extremely effective at removing unwanted ink from lots of different skin types.
Generally, the lasers believed to be most effective are those that use less energy, and pulse the most rapidly. This allows the ink particles that make up the tattoo to absorb energy (heat) very quickly, meaning that heat does not (to the same extent as higher energy methods) come into contact with the skin, damaging the skin’s cells. The less damage caused, the faster the removal process can happen, because the tattoo can be treated more regularly (as often as every 2 weeks).
It’s important to note that some lasers are more effective for cover ups than others. If you want to fade your ink rather than totally remove it, it’s crucial the skin is smooth, healthy and damage-free, so that your tattoo artist can work their magic afterwards. Some methods are more likely to cause scarring and pigmentation changes (the lightening and darkening of the skin) than others.
Tattoo removal preparation
To prepare for laser tattoo removal, it’s really important your immune system is optimized and strong and healthy. There is a lot you can’t control about the tattoo removal process (for example, your genetics and the ink and techniques used by your tattoo artist) but there are certain factors you can control. Your lifestyle plays a huge part in how your immune system behaves - essentially, the fewer toxins in your body, the more effective your immune system (and therefore, your tattoo removal).
Your immune system - the system in the body that provides resistance to infection and toxins - is made up of lots of different organs and processes. It’s your lymphs, otherwise known as the lymphatic system, that plays the biggest role when it comes to laser tattoo removal. The lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste and toxins from the body, so sends white blood cells to attack ink particles, which have been broken down by the laser, and carries them away to be processed. Here’s what you can do to help make sure your immune system is in the best shape possible.
1. Drink plenty of water
The benefits of drinking water can’t be stressed enough; water carries oxygen to the blood cells, allowing all of the systems in the body to function properly. In the case of the immune system, staying hydrated is crucial - 95% of the fluid in the lymph system is water, so it’s vital you’re drinking enough of it.
2. Get moving
Contracting the muscles and joints essentially propels fluid through the lymph system, making it work better and faster. Research suggests that immediately after exercising, there’s fewer immune cells in our blood - what is believed to be happening is that those cells are in different parts of the body, actively searching for potential bacteria or toxins that may harm you.
3. Stay out of the sun
Laser treatments make the skin more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, and can cause changes to your skin’s pigment. Protecting your skin from the sun is really, really important. Even after your removal journey is over, make sure you’re protected with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF of 30 or higher). A top tip is to look for a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide - these creams deflect the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and provide much better protection for your skin.
4. Avoid smoking and alcohol
Alcohol is known to dehydrate the body, so ideally you'll drink it only in moderation. When it comes to smoking, it's best to give up entirely; Dr Steve Hubert explains: 'the free radicals from smoking inhibit healing and are detrimental to the immune system overall'. Both smoking and alcohol are essentially toxins, and the more toxins you can reduce within the body, the better your immune system will function.
5. Eat well
Similarly, avoiding processed, unhealthy food with high sugar contents will lessen the load on your immune system. Instead, think leafy greens, nuts, fatty fish, citrus fruits, whole grains and dark chocolate. The idea is to focus on high nutrient, high fibre foods to nourish the body, keeping the immune system working efficiently.
6. Try not to stress
We know; it’s easier said than done. Stress has been proven to make the whole lymph system less efficient because of the congestion it causes. That’s why often when you’re run-down, overworked, and stressed-out, you’re more likely to pick up a bug and get sick. The body isn’t used to being under stress for long periods of time - rather, it’s used to being under stress in short, sharp bursts - so we’re simply not built to withstand it. Try meditation, yoga and generally moving your body. Laughter is pretty good medicine too; research shows it actively strengthens the immune system.
How does tattoo removal work?
Laser tattoo removal essentially accelerates a process which naturally occurs within the body. When you get a tattoo, ink is injected into the dermis (the second layer of the skin) and the immune system attacks the particles. White blood cells are sent to the tattooed area to break down the molecules, because the immune system registers these particles as foreign particles which don’t belong in the body. However, ink particles are far larger than white blood cells, meaning they’re extremely difficult for the cells to process. The ink particles stay in place, and over time, thick layers of scar tissue form around the ink molecules, effectively binding them in place. This is essentially why tattoos are permanent.
Lasers allow us to help the white blood cells break down the ink. A laser is a type of light-source which is especially good at carrying energy, and this energy can be used to break apart the particles of ink into a more manageable size for the immune system to process. When a laser hits your skin, it passes through the top layer and reaches the dermis, transferring energy to the ink molecules. When this is done repeatedly, using a pulsing laser, the molecules will eventually become small enough for the white blood cells to carry them away.
The amount of time a pulse lasts for (also called the pulse duration) and the amount of energy (often measured in joules or milijoules) that is being applied to tattoo ink are the main differentiators among different types of laser tattoo removal devices used today.
Slower pulsed lasers which transfer a lot of energy tend to cause more pain and damage to the skin, as heat becomes trapped within the skin. When this laser light is absorbed by the molecule, it heats up extremely rapidly (often up to several thousand degrees Celsius) and expands. These very hot, expanded ink molecules now in contact with the skin can cause severe burns and blisters - and sometimes even long-term damage like scarring. Whereas faster pulsing lasers which transfer less energy to the surrounding skin tend to have less damaging results.
You can read more about this here.
"Laser energy can be used to break apart the particles of ink. When this is done repeatedly, the molecules become small enough for white blood cells to carry them away"
How long does tattoo removal take? (How many sessions?)
"How long it takes to remove ink varies hugely from person to person" comments Dr Fiona Worsnop, consultant dermatologist. It’s largely down to which laser tattoo method you opt for, but there’s a whole host of other factors at play too. These include properties of the ink (colour, density, age, ingredients), properties of the skin (level of sun exposure, skin laxity, hydration, collagen concentration) and your overall health - essentially how your immune system functions, which is really dependent on both your genetics and your lifestyle. It would take an enormous combination of data points to be able to accurately determine how many sessions removal may take.
On average, most people need 8-16 sessions of laser tattoo removal to totally remove the ink, and around 4-8 to fade their tattoo for a cover-up. The average number of sessions sits around 12 (but of course, can be far higher). How regularly you can have these sessions depends on the method you’re using, and how quickly your skin tends to recover from your treatments.
With Q-switch lasers, these sessions generally take place every 6-10 weeks, since it can take longer for your skin to recover (this is particularly true if you have blisters or burns of some kind). When it comes to pico lasers, which pulse faster than q switch lasers and therefore don’t expose the skin to as much energy, skin can be treated every 6-8 weeks.
When it comes to NAAMA, sessions can take place every week, with two treatments every session - i.e. the consultant goes over your ink twice per session. This is feasible because it’s an ultra low energy method, so your skin isn’t exposed to as much heat, and recovers very quickly.
Depending on which method you go for, full removal could take as little as 4 months (2-3 months for a fade) or as long as 1-2 years (10-12 months for a fade). It’s a gradual process in which you do have to invest some time, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
"On average, most people need 8-16 sessions of laser tattoo removal to totally remove the ink, and around 4-8 to fade for a cover-up."
Can you completely remove a tattoo?
You absolutely can completely remove a tattoo. Laser tattoo removal has improved tremendously over the last two decades. When it was first practised back in the 60s, it made use of an Argon laser with various levels of success - the results were inconsistent and unpredictable between different patients and different tattoos. Q-switch lasers came along shortly after, and were the first lasers to be used commercially, and widely, in the 1990’s. Pico lasers became available shortly after that, in the early 2010’s, with NAAMA being launched in 2020 as the most advanced on the market.
Laser is now a very effective way to remove unwanted ink without leaving the skin damaged and without leaving an outline of ink on your skin. Sometimes, this can be a fluid process; the clinic will try a certain type of laser on one area of the tattoo, but may need to change to another laser for a different area of the tattoo. Reputable clinics will carefully monitor progress to make sure they’re treating the tattoo as effectively and efficiently as possible, using dermatoscope imaging to get a detailed view of the dermis (the second layer of skin where the tattoo is held).
Efficacy really varies depending on the technology used, and how the individual’s body reacts to it. There are a few factors which really impact how effectively the ink is processed - how your immune system works is a big one. If your system is working efficiently throughout your removal process, they should be able to process your smaller broken-down ink particles very effectively.
Of course, each tattoo is different, and their properties vary hugely. Tattoo ink is generally a fairly unregulated area, meaning some inks are made up of more toxic and hazardous ingredients than others (such as melted plastic and lead). This impacts how effective even the best, most cutting edge lasers can be.
Other properties include the colour of ink; blacks, reds, blues and pinks are generally more easily removed using modern technology, whilst yellows, whites and occasionally greens can be trickier. The age of the tattoo also has an impact. Although older tattoos often fade slightly, this doesn’t mean the ink will be easier to remove - "what can happen over time", Dr Fiona Worsnop, a consultant dermatologist explains, 'is that the ink can become slightly trapped within the cells trying to remove them. It can also drop deeper into the dermis, making it a little trickier to remove."
Finally, your skin type, including tone, texture and composition, plays a role in the tattoo removal process. Darker skin tones more frequently suffer from pigmentation issues, which can result in the lightening of the skin on and around the treated area. Whilst this is certainly not always the case, it does mean that skin tone plays a role in the effectiveness of laser tattoo removal, and the risks associated with it. Similarly, skin texture and composition plays a role in the process. Skin that’s had a lot of sun exposure and is heavily freckled or covered with moles may react less effectively with the treatments. When it comes to texture and composition, it’s always best to speak to your doctor or dermatologist if you have any pre-existing conditions or are heavily freckled, just to be safe.
"Laser is now a very effective way to remove unwanted ink without leaving the skin damaged and without leaving an outline of ink on your skin"
Is tattoo removal painful?
Generally, tattoo removal can be painful, but people experience pain differently because of how the pain receptors in our brain and skin behave. What some find to be uncomfortable, others find to be excruciating.
The amount of pain you’ll experience isn’t just down to how you feel it, though - the technology being used plays a massive part, too explains dermatologist Dr Fiona Worsnop. Generally, traditional laser methods which use higher amounts of energy result in more heat being trapped in the skin, which is what feels painful. More recent technology uses much less energy and is much less damaging to the skin, therefore causing much less pain (with most people finding it only mildly uncomfortable).
If you’re worried about being in pain during your removal journey, there are a few things to keep in mind. With lower energy technology, the discomfort will only last as long as the treatment - you’ll feel fine afterwards because your skin won’t be left blistered and burned. You can make plans, see a friend, do what you’d normally do, after your appointment (but remember to be careful in the sun!)
There’s also lots you can do to manage pain throughout the laser tattoo removal process. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen half an hour before your session - this will kick in at the right time, relieving pain during your treatment. You can also request a local anaesthetic numbing cream to ease the sensation, or a Zimmer Cryo. The Zimmer Cryo is a piece of kit which shoots very cold air (-30 degrees Celsius) at the area being treated and is found to be very effective at both relieving pain, and speeding up the recovery of the skin. Make sure you speak with your laser technician about your concerns, and make sure they know to take regular breaks during the session.
Tattoo removal aftercare
There are a few different ways you can look after yourself, and your treated area, after each of your laser tattoo removal sessions, and generally throughout the whole removal process. Remember: laser removal is a holistic process, it’s about helping your immune system (your lymphs) process toxins and foreign substances like tattoo ink. So aftercare - and for that matter before and during care - is much more meaningful than simply taking care of your skin, and can have a great impact on overall removal efficacy.
How to look after the tattooed area
Wash the treated area twice a day with water and a gentle cleanser, avoiding perfumed products which could cause some sensitivity. Use a clean cotton pad to apply a hydrating aftercare cream and massage this into the skin (massage will actually help stimulate your lymphs).
If you’re using your hands rather than cotton pads, make sure you’ve thoroughly washed them first. It’s really crucial you keep this area clean - make sure you avoid public baths, swimming pools and hot tubs. It’s also important to avoid excess heat, so steer clear of saunas, steam rooms and, of course, sun beds.
Protecting the treated area
Waterproof dressings and hydrogels help maintain a healing environment while still letting air in - the best way to allow the skin to heal. The best dressings are made with a unique membrane covered in microscopic air holes too small for water molecules to pass through, but large enough for oxygen to pass through. This helps your skin recover quickly.
Look for hospital grade options - they’re transparent, and can be left in place for up to 7 days, although generally the recommendation is that you leave it in place for around 3-4 days. They’re also designed for easy removal; you simply lift an edge away from the skin, grip the dressing and stretch away from the hydrogel patch, parallel to the skin. This releases the adhesive, allowing it to come off without irritation and discomfort.
What to wear over the tattooed area
Clothing wise, it’s generally best to wear loose clothing, especially the first couple of days after your removal session. If you’re getting a thigh tattoo removed, for example, it’s best to avoid skinny jeans or a tight pair of trousers, which can cause unnecessary friction and heat around the treated area. It’s also better to try and stick to natural materials like cotton, linen, silk and wool and avoid man-made fabrics like nylon, polyester, rayon and velvet. This avoids any possible irritation and keeps your treated skin comfortable.
Stay out of the sun
Laser treatments make the skin more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, and can cause changes to your skin’s pigment if exposed . Protecting your skin from the sun is really, really important. Even after your removal journey is over, make sure you’re protected with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF of 30 or higher). Always look for sunscreen containing zinc oxide - these creams are much more protective, because they deflect the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Look after your immune system (we can’t stress this enough!)
As well as focussing on looking after the treated skin, remember to give your immune system a helping hand throughout your tattoo removal process. The principle here is to reduce the burden on the immune system, making sure you’re as toxin-free as you can be. Drink plenty of water, exercise, avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine, eat well, and try not to stress (this congests the immune system).
What are the side effects of tattoo removal?
The severity of side effects really varies depending on the laser used: higher energy technology tends to leave lots of heat trapped in the skin, and can result in bulla (fluid filled blisters), whilst lower energy technology leaves less heat trapped in the skin, leaving much less damage.
With modern technology, the side effects of laser tattoo removal are not severe, and Dr Worsnop comments, 'very uncommon'. You may experience some redness, and slight raising of the skin, as well as tenderness around the area that’s been treated - this is normal, and to be expected. If you’re looking after the tattooed area, these symptoms are likely to go away within the first couple of days.
In specific cases the side effects can be more serious. People with a history of hypertrophic or keloid scarring are (unsurprisingly) more likely to develop scarring after laser tattoo removal too. Allergic reactions to the treatments are also possible, although very rare. Occasionally, when yellow cadmium sulfide is used to ‘brighten’ the red or yellow portion of a tattoo, a photoallergic reaction may occur. The reaction can be more common with red ink, which may contain cinnabar (mercuric sulphide). This reaction can cause different kinds of rashes which vary in severity between person to person.
With NAAMA side effects are very rare, aside from some tenderness around the treated area, which tends to go away after just a matter of hours.
NAAMA Studios Tattoo Removal
NAAMA approaches tattoo removal differently to incumbent technology, using ultra low energy lasers to remove ink in a more efficient and, crucially, damage-free, way. The lower amounts of energy are absorbed very quickly by the ink particles, using a laser beam which pulses at roughly 1000x the rate of existing technology available. This pairing (the low energy, and the quick pulse) means ink is broken down very quickly, with no excess of energy escaping to surrounding areas and causing pain and damage - a process helped by the fact that NAAMA uses a precise spot size, meaning un-tattooed skin isn’t impacted unnecessarily. This damage-free approach allows for regular removal sessions every other week, with most people being treated twice per session, and removing unwanted ink safely and relatively pain-free in just a matter of months.