Laser Tattoo Removal – what should you know before you buy?

The 10 most important questions you should ask when you are looking for laser tattoo removal.

‘How much is laser tattoo removal’

There are many questions that you should ask when you are looking for tattoo removal.  In all honesty, cost is probably the last thing you should ask about. While we appreciate that cost can be very important when making any investment, if ‘How much is laser tattoo removal’ is the first question you ask, you could well end up disappointed in the long run. If it is very cheap, it is probably cheap for a reason. If it sounds like a lot of money, but you are happy with all other aspects, you should consider whether going cheap could cost you more in money, stress, time, scarring, and pain in the long run. Many clinics will offer some kind of payment plan, so it is worth asking.

So what are the important things?

1. Professional clinic – is there a medically trained therapist available?

Cosmetic lasering is completely unregulated – literally anyone can buy a laser for tattoo removal, laser hair removal or skin complaints and treat people. If they are ethical, they will try to get some insurance. Untrained therapists may treat inappropriately, may not refer on to other professionals where needed, and may not recognise problems in time to avoid adverse effects. Nobody can guarantee never encountering a problem, but fully qualified medical therapists (by which we mean Nurses and Doctors, or qualified Laser Technicians in some instances) are more likely to spot problems, understand what they are looking at, and know when to refer to others if necessary. Also they have a registration to protect, so msy proceed with more caution.

2. Quality of equipment – what technology are they using? Is it medical grade or is it unbranded? 

– Look for brands such as Lumenis or Alma which are high quality, medical grade lasers.

– can the laser treatment depth be adjusted, or will they just turn up the power if it needs more ‘oomph’.

– is it regularly serviced by the manufacturer

– does it look clean and well looked after

3. Cleanliness – is equipment properly sterilised, or single-use items used properly.

Different treatments require different disposable items, different products and consumables. Ask your therapist about cleanliness and sterilisation/reuse of equipment policies.

4. Ask for before and after photos from their clinic.

Are you able to see pictures of real clients?

5. Make sure they are properly insured. 

Do they have proper insurance, including Public Liability to make sure you are protected.

6. Do they insist on:

            Medical history – this is essential to ensure that your treatment is safe, with no likelihood of causing you damage. If your medical history or medications changes it is important to let your clinic know.

            Patch test – this is often just to satisfy the insurers, but it gives you the opportunity to sample the treatment before you commit to it, to see what sort of reaction and results you are going to get, and whether you can tolerate it – laser tattoo removal can be uncomfortable!

Regular up to date photographs – this is important, as it is difficult to remember where your tattoo started! Also it will keep a record of any scarring that occurs and the subtle changes that occur with properly done tattoo removal.

If not, proceed with caution – proper paperwork and client records are essential – for quality of treatment over time, and your protection and evidence if you encounter any problems further down the line.

7. Do they give proper after-care instructions?

Are you left wondering what to do with your tattoo after lasering? Or are you given instructions verbally and in writing (or by email) to ensure you know how to look after your skin?

8. Do they advise properly on sun exposure?

This is very important for all types of skin lasering – both before and after treatments. Make sure you understand exactly what you need to do in regards to sun exposure, sun screen usage, fake tan and tanning booths etc.

9. Are they honest about likely results?

Do you feel like you know what you may be facing with regards to treatment course length? If someone promises you ANYTHING be cautious – tattoo removal is not an exact science, and even within one tattoo different areas can fade at different rates. If someone promises you it will all be gone in a few treatments, you should proceed with caution. Tattoo removal can take many treatments over a prolonged period to get desired results, and even then not all of it will definitely be removed – some areas may have scar tissue which can be difficult to get ink out of, and sometimes a ‘ghost’ of the tattoo may be left behind.

10. Does it feel comfortable.

Do you get a good vibe at the clinic you are at? Does it feel like a place you should be, and do you feel comfortable? This is a really important one in our book – there are probably several tattoo removal clinics that could offer the service that you want, but if you don’t feel like you are visiting a friend, I would be cautious. If you go somewhere that you feel you belong, you will have a better rapport and be better able to ask questions, particularly if you feel the treatment isn’t going as you would like, so you are likely to be more satisfied in the long run.

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