Tattoo Removal

1. WHY DO PEOPLE REMOVE THEIR TATTOOS?

About 20%- 30% of people who had tattoos regret having them, especially when the tattoos were done during their teens or early twenties. Sometimes people removed them for religious reasons or when they apply for jobs where the presence of tattoos will be a disadvantage. Some people just grew tired of their tattoos or their tattoos have become an embarrassment or have become irrelevant (removing tattoos professing love for a previous partner).
 

2. WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR REMOVING TATTOOS?

Before the advent of lasers, tattoos were removed using methods like applying acids, sand papering, surgery and burning. All these leave scars which were often ugly and disfiguring.

The gold standard in tattoo removal is the use of the Picosecond lasers in particular the picosecond Picoway laser. These lasers are able to erase tattoos safely with no or minimal scarring.

With the ultra-short picosecond pulse duration, there is less discomfort during treatment and faster healing. Professional and multi-coloured tattoos are cleared in fewer treatments sessions than with the conventional Q-switched lasers.

3. HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THE PICOWAY LASERS IN REMOVING TATTOOS?

The PicoWay Laser can remove professional, amateur, traumatic, surgical and cosmetic tattoos. The PicoWay laser has 3 different wavelengths – the 532nm, the 785nm and the 1064nm to treat all tattoos of different colours and types. It uses less energy and is safe and has less downtime compared to conventional lasers to remove tattoos.

Fresh and brown coloured ink tattoos may turn black with laser treatment and often a test patch may be needed. Eyebrow and eye liner tattoos are easiest tattoos to remove.

4.  HOW DOES THE PICOWAY LASER REMOVE TATTOOS?

Laser light from the PicoWay laser is targeted at unwanted tattoo pigment in ultrashort picosecond pulses. These pulses shatter the pigment into very tiny particles which are then easily eliminated by the body’s natural processes. The PicoWay laser emits less heat energy than traditional Q-Switched lasers providing a safer, more comfortable treatment with fewer side-effects. The PicoWay Laser provides maximum tattoo removal while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.

5. DOES THE PICOWAY TREATMENT HURT?

The degree of discomfort varies from each person depending on the nature and location of the tattoo on the body.

6. HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL IT TAKE TO REMOVE A TATTOO?

The effectiveness of the treatment depends on many factors such as the age of the tattoo, the location of the tattoo, the amount, size and type of tattoo ink used, the depth of the ink in the skin and the complexity of the tattoos. Some tattoos will require several treatments for optimal results, while some can be cleared in 1-2 treatments On the average, professional tattoos require 4-6 treatments, while amateur tattoos require 1-3 treatments.

7. HOW LONG DOES EACH TREATMENT TAKE?

Treatment time depends on the area to be treated and the colours and complexity of the tattoo and this can be discussed at your consultation.

8. WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING AND AFTER THE PICOWAY LASER TREATMENT?

An anaesthetic cream is applied on the tattoo. When the PicoWay laser light hits the tattoo, there is a sensation of heat and discomfort, similar to the snap of a small rubber band on the skin. Immediately you will see a white discoloration and in some patients redness and pinpoint bleeding. The skin may look red and swollen and this resolves within a day or two. A crust may appear within a few days and this will eventually slough off leaving a lighter coloured tattoo.

9. WHAT MUST I DO AFTER THE PICOWAY LASER TREATMENT?

An antibiotic cream is applied to the treated tattoo and you should avoid sun exposure on the treated area. The area should be kept clean. You can take a shower after the laser treatment but you should not scrub the treated area. If a scab forms, you should not pick or scratch at it.

10. WHAT ARE THE SIDE-EFFECTS OF THE PICOWAY LASER TREATMENT?

Swelling and pinpoint bleeding may occur and crusting and scabbing can develop. Most people return to work immediately after treatment. Occasionally blistering can occur. There may be increased or decreased pigmentation but this is usually transient. Skin textural changes and loss of pigments can occur. Allergic reactions to the released tattoo ink, scars and keloid have been reported though this is very rare. Dr Joyce Lim will try to minimise the side-effects and treat them should they occur.