Unwanted tattoos can be removed gradually over a series of sessions using a laser.
The energy from the laser breaks down the tattoo ink into tiny fragments, which are eventually absorbed into the bloodstream and safely passed out of the body.
This process is rarely carried out on the NHS.
Before you go ahead…
If you’re thinking of having a tattoo removed, you should be prepared for the potential discomfort and the limitations.
Cost: At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh, Essex we charge £150 a session to remove a small tattoo and up to £800 for a larger one using Plasma Soft Surgery under a local anaesthetic cream.
- It can be a frustratingly slow process: 10 or more sessions may be needed to remove the tattoo.
- Many tattoos are not entirely removed – it’s quite common to have some fragments left in the skin.
- Some colours don’t fade as well as others.
Tattoo removal is not recommended for people with dark skin, a suntan or fake tan. It’s not suitable if you’re in the early stages of pregnancy, although there are no known risks for women who are breastfeeding.
Safety: At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we are a registered medical clinic. We are registered with The Care Quality Commission.
What it involves
If you have hair on the area of skin to be treated, you’d need to shave before the appointment.
The practitioner would then press a hand-held device to your skin and trigger a laser. Some people say this feels like an elastic band snapping at your skin.
The session would take about 10-30 minutes, depending on the size of the tattoo.
The tattoo should become progressively lighter with each treatment, but it’s a long, slow process. Normally treatments are carried out every 6-12 weeks
Aloe vera gel would be applied afterwards, and you may leave with a bandage or patch.
The skin may be red with a raised rash for a short while afterwards. Holding an ice pack to the skin may help (try a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel).
Your skin would also be more sensitive to the sun, so you’d need to avoid sun exposure and tanning beds for at least a week afterwards, and use sunscreen.
As treatment sessions progress, the skin may bleed slightly before scabbing over for about a week.
It may help to regularly apply aloe vera gel, and apply Vaseline if there is any blistering or scabbing.
You should also avoid:
- soap or perfumed products on the area for the first 48 hours
- strenuous activities for a couple of days
- swimming and saunas until the scab has dropped off (as these may slow the healing process)
Possible risks are:
- some colours not completely fading – yellow, green and purple ink requires more energy (more sessions) to fade than black, blue and red
- a small chance your skin may become temporarily darker or palerthan the surrounding skin
- a slight chance you’re left with a permanent scar (3 in 100 patients develop a scar)
Our clinical director, Sue Ibrahim has worked in cosmetic dermatology for almost 20 years and her experience in minor skin surgery and laser treatments is second to none. Sue is a firm believer in a combined, holistic approach. In order to get the most out of any treatment we aim to get your skin in tiptop condition first. Your treatment is then the icing on the cake and your recovery time is quicker.
What happens next?
You will require a thorough cosmetic consultation to book your consultation.
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How do I request a consultation?
You can either give Elan Medical Skin Clinic a call on 01268 770660 between 9.30am and