Aussies love tattoos, but increasingly, they are unloving them – the pop-up laser tattoo removal clinics appearing in every suburb of Melbourne are a sign of the times. According to some research, 25 per cent of Aussies have a tattoo, but half of them wish they didn’t.
We have been removing tattoos with lasers for over 15 years, and have several lasers just for this job. The newest tattoo-removal laser we have is the PiQ04, a laser extremely popular and well-used in Asia, but one of only three in Australia. This laser cuts many tattoo removal treatment times down by half.
Only trained and experienced tattoo-removalist doctors perform tattoo removal at ENRICH. That’s right. No half-baked untrained learners working on your skin; not in our clinic anyway.
Removing tattoos – how does it actually work?
The laser uses light of specific wavelengths (frequencies, like a radio station, but light). This light is absorbed by specific colours of ink (the light and the ink must ‘match’ for it to work, like tuning in the radio station so your ears can hear it), breaking up the ink particles. These particles are then reabsorbed back into the body over time, causing the tattoo to disappear without scarring.
A typical treatment
The size of the tattoo, and the colours in it, will determine the time it takes to remove your tattoo completely. Previously, eight to 10 treatments were necessary at six to eight week intervals, but with the PiQ04 laser, we’ve got that down to as little as five treatments (depending on the tattoo), though it could be as many as 10 for large or dense tattoos.
We cannot promise full tattoo clearance – nobody can. Each treatment healing time between sessions will vary depending on the person, with over seven weeks being standard. It could be up to 12 weeks, for example you have slow healing, like in some diabetics.
Black will be worked on first, until it is at least half gone, then other colours will start to be treated. Each colour will be treated separately, since all colours have their own light frequencies, otherwise the skin will burn.
If you have multiple colours (say a rainbow), then treatments could potentially be two-weekly. Talk to your doctor.
Does tattoo removal hurt?
The treatment feels like a rubber band being flicked on the skin – most people manage without anaesthetic, but if it’s too much, we can put on topical anaesthetic cream to dull the sensation. If it’s really uncomfortable, an injection can be used instead of cream.
What happens after treatments?
Just like when you got the tattoo, your skin will scab over, and be red with some swelling. This quickly disappears as your skin heals up again.
What can I expect?
Most tattoos will disappear completely, but some residual ink may remain, and sometimes texture changes are felt on the skin. Scarring is extremely rare at our clinic, since you are only worked on by an experienced doctor, not a nurse or some Joe or Jane Blogs off the street with a laser.
Tattoo inks come in a variety of qualities and types, but we can’t tell just by looking at it what sort it is. This means some inks will respond in different ways to the treatment, being faster or slower to be broken down.
Cosmetic tattoo removal (eyeliner, lips, etc.)
Cosmetic tattoo ink is different to regular tattoo ink, and can change colour after laser treatments – this is not desirable. Please advise your doctor at the time of your tattoo removal so the area can be avoided. We do not recommend removing cosmetic tattoos this way, however sometimes it can work – discuss with your doctor and do a test patch.
The PiQ04 laser
This laser is twice as powerful as other lasers in its class, and has reduced tattoo-removal treatment times considerably. This means less expense, less discomfort, and clear skin sooner.