Laser Vs Non Laser Tattoo Removal

laser tattoo removal toronto

Laser Tattoo Removal: What are the Pros and Cons?

There’s no doubt than the demand for effective, safe tattoo removal just continues to rise, along with the popularity of tattooing itself. While a number of different methods are available today, the method that is used most often is laser tattoo removal. This has led to our Tattoo Removal Clinic receiving lots of questions about the benefits and drawbacks of laser tattoo removal vs non-laser tattoo removal here in Toronto and Richmond Hill. We will take a look below.

While the technology has evolved, the laser tattoo removal method has been used for over 30 years.

The first report we have been able to find stretches back to 1979. 28 people were treated, using an Argon laser. The results weren’t very impressive. But the idea was planted, and new lasers were experimented with setting the stage for future success.

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

Laser tattoo removal is the most popular way to remove tattoos.  When you get a tattoo, the tattoo artist injects ink into the dermis of the skin, which is where thousands of particles of the tattoo ink will remain, which is what makes a tattoo visible. When a professional tattoo removal technician performs laser therapy, it causes the ink under the skin to break down into much smaller pieces, which is known in clinical studies as the photomechanical effect.

The small ink particles then move through the body, with some being released through the urine and some being captured in lymph nodes.

During the laser tattoo removal, the laser light is absorbed by the ink particles extremely quickly. Whether this will “remove” the ink so it’s no longer visible depends on a number of things. Here’s the top 4 to keep in mind:

  1. The light from the laser used needs to penetrate the skin deep enough to reach the ink.
  2. The correct laser which delivers the appropriate colour light needs to be used for each ink pigment. 
  3. The laser should be “pulsed” on the ink for a very short time. Longer contact can lead to problems with the skin.
  4. The laser must be able to deliver enough energy to heat the ink and break it down.

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How Many Laser Treatments are Needed to Successfully Remove a Tattoo?

The good news is that some deep thought and research has gone into answering this question with some degree of accuracy.  The model used to estimate the number of tattoo removal sessions is called the Kirby-Desai scale.  Tattoo Removal businesses that don’t use this model very often give clients incorrect estimates in the amount of time needed, which can be extremely frustrating and also add unexpected extra costs. The Kirby-Desai scale, is based on six factors: skin type, location of the tattoo, colour of the ink, the amount of ink, scarring or tissue change, and layering. Each factor is given a numerical assessment and then the total is used to deliver a more accurate time estimate.

In general, the number of tattoo removal treatments ranges from 3 to 15 sessions with average being 10. Only one session can be done every 6 weeks. 

Here’s a look at the 6 factors that Kirby-Desai scale tracks:

Skin Type: Darker skin creates many challenges for successful laser tattoo removal. This can mean adding even more time between sessions. A lower energy setting will also need to be used, which will likely add to the total number of sessions needed.

Location: Different body parts have different supplies of blood and lymph node access. This will affect the number of sessions needed to remove a tattoo, since both are needed to shuttle out the tattoo ink particles as they are broken down.

Ink Colour or Colours. Tattoo artists use a wide range of different ink colours. Each ink pigment is a different size – with black ink averaging being half the size of most other colours. Different pigment sizes mean the number of treatments needed to remove the ink will also vary. According to our experts here at Tattoo Removal Clinic, black is the easiest colour to remove with green, yellow, and orange each being increasingly difficult to break down with laser tattoo removal methods.

Size of the Tattoo. The larger the tattoo, the more ink is used. In the Kirby-Desai scale, this is addressed by placing a tattoo into one of four categories: amateur (letters, words, and small symbols), minimal (one colour, simple tattoos), moderate (one color, more intricate designs), and significant tattoos (multiple colours, complex designs). The less professional a tattoo is the easier it usually is to remove using laser treatments. Professional tattoos see the ink generally go deeper into the dermis of the skin and use more pigment, which equals more time needed in laser tattoo removal sessions.

Laser Tattoo Removal Pros

  1. Reliable Results. Generally, has a very good success rate with clients who are suited for the treatments.
  2. Non-Invasive. Laser tattoo removal has the big plus of not requiring surgery or for the patient to go under anesthesia.
  3. Quick Sessions.  Laser tattoo removal sessions are relatively quick because it can do a small to large tattoo in only a few minutes.
  4. New FLAT RATE PRICING. No need to try to figure out the size of your tattoo. Tattoos 1″ x 1″ to 5″ x 5″ is now $250 per session, and tattoos smaller than 1″ x 1″ is $150 with our PicoSure laser.

Laser Tattoo Removal COns

Quality studios, like our TattooRegret.ca Tattoo Removal Clinic here in Richmond Hill use PicoSure lasers which are the best tattoo removal lasers on the market today. That said, there is still roughly a 5% failure rate. That means 1 in 20 people will get results that are not satisfying even when everything else is done with the utmost professionalism.

Here are other common Laser Tattoo Removal cons that should be considered when making an informed decision of what tattoo removal method to use:

  1. Pain. We hear quite frequently from patients that they feel like the laser tattoo removal sessions are more painful than getting the tattoo in the first place. The good news is that the treatment is very quick.  While it may have taken hours to do your tattoo, laser tattoo removal only takes a few minutes for each session, on average 5-15 minutes per treatment. 
  2. A Chance of Infection. It’s important after each session the area of the body treated needs to be kept hygienic. If not an infection is a real possibility since the skin will be blistered and inflamed. Infection is rare if you follow the aftercare instructions.
  3. Skin Tone Issues. Laser tattoo removal can cause the skin to become lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation) which leaves an appearance that is uneven and which most people will find unappealing. Patients with darker skin most often face these kinds of concerns.  With the new advances in laser tattoo removal, these issues are rare.
  4. Large Number of Treatments. When we consider the average of ten treatments that are required to remove a tattoo, that we discussed above, and the six weeks between sessions.
  5. Cost. The amount of money invested in having a tattoo laser removed can be quite high. The reason for this is clear. The lasers are extremely expensive, $250,000 for the PicoSure laser, and this needs to be covered in each session performed, and the total number of treatment sessions needs to be paid for.  Fortunately we have LOWERED the price of laser tattoo removal to only $250 per session.
  6. Tattoo Pigment is Processed by the Body. Some doctors have suggested that tattoo ink that contains metals could be a health risk after being broken down by the laser and then processed by the body. We are not aware of this being proven to be a danger but it is still something to think about. Other studies suggest that the use of the laser on the human body may create carcinogenic amines.
  7. Scars. Scarring is quite rare, especially when going to a professional clinic like our own. But it is still possible. If scarring does develop it is most often quite raised and visible.

NON-Laser Tattoo Removal: What are the Pros and Cons?

SAFER, ALL-NATURAL ALTERNATIVES TO LASER TATTOO REMOVAL

With the popularity of laser tattoo removal, most people are unaware of newer alternative methods that are safer, less painful, less treatments required, and more effective that laser tattoo removal.

Although there are many traditional non-laser tattoo removal methods out there, including salabrsian, dermabrasion, surgical excision, chemicals, infrared coagulation, we are not talking about these old outdated unsafe methods of non-tattoo removal.

The new non-laser tattoo removal methods on the market today, Tattoo Vanish® removal, promises excellent results.

WHAT IS TATTOO VANISH®?

When you get a tattoo, the tattoo artist injects ink into the dermis of the skin, which is where thousands of particles of the tattoo ink will remain, which is what makes a tattoo visible. When a professional tattoo removal technician performs laser therapy, it causes the ink under the skin to break down into much smaller pieces, which is known in clinical studies as the photomechanical effect.

The small ink particles then move through the body, with some being released through the urine and some being captured in lymph nodes – which can sometimes cause the lymph nodes to change colour to the colour of the broken-down tattoo ink.

During the laser tattoo removal, the laser light is absorbed by the ink particles extremely quickly. Whether this will “remove” the ink so it’s no longer visible depends on a number of things. Here’s the top 4 to keep in mind:

  1. The light from the laser used needs to penetrate the skin deep enough to reach the ink.
  2. The correct laser which delivers the appropriate colour light needs to be used for each ink pigment. If not, it will not be effective. It could even make the tattoo look WORSE. A deep disappointment for someone expecting the tattoo be removed.
  3. The laser should be “pulsed” on the ink for a very short time. Longer contact can lead to problems with the skin.
  4. The laser must be able to deliver enough energy to heat the ink and break it down.

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PROS

ITS CHEAPER AND OFTEN TAKES LESS TREATMENTS THAN LASER TATTOO REMOVAL

On average, it takes 10 treatments to remove a tattoo using laser. If the average cost of laser is $250, it would cost approximately $2500 to remove a tattoo.  Tattoo Vanish can remove the same tattoo with less treatments than laser.  That means you are saving up to 50% off your tattoo removal cost.

ALL COLOURS CAN BE REMOVED

Unlike some laser tattoo removal, Tattoo Vanish can remove all ink colours effectively.

ALL SKIN COLOUR CAN BE REMOVED

Unlike some laser tattoo removal, Tattoo Vanish can be used on all skin colour effectively.

Cons

Tattoo Vanish is best done on tattoos no bigger than 4”x 4” at a time. For tattoos larger than 4″x4″, we recommend our PicoSure laser tattoo removal method. The healing process requires a scab to form as most of the ink will be removed from the scab after applying the ink eraser.  It is important to keep the treated area dry during the first week of healing process.  If a larger area is required, we can do a different area in 2 weeks and do the same area again in 6 weeks.

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SO YOU HAVE TATTOO REGRET?

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