Laser tattoo removal is a complicated process. It’s also a field full of misconceptions and false information. Most people want to know about cost and pain. That’s it. There are a lot more tattoo removal questions you should be asking though. In this post we offer up 7 tattoo removal questions you should be sure to ask about during a consultation. In order of priority, they are:
Tattoo removal question 1: What laser technology do you have, how old is it, and when was it last serviced?
This should be the first tattoo removal question you ask. The appropriate, state-of-the-art technology is critical. Without that, the rest doesn’t much matter. Of course, every provider will claim they have the best lasers – so be sure to do some research on your own about the technology offered at the clinic(s) you’re considering to perform your laser tattoo removal.
You’ll want a laser that can target the colors specific to your tattoo and that can do so in as few treatments as possible while minimizing any associated risks (e.g. blistering and scarring). The laser should also be appropriate (safe) with your individual skin type. Not all lasers that can be used for tattoo removal are the most effective. For example, intense-pulsed lasers (IPL) are effective for some skin treatments, but almost always result in incomplete tattoo removal and scarring.
A Q-switched, Nd:YAG laser with a 1064 and 532 wavelengths are best for black and red pigments, respectively. 755 nanometer wavelengths are also commonly used. A Q-switched 694 nanometer wavelength is best for blue, green, and purple ink pigment.
A word of warning about where you do your research. A lot of promotional information is disseminated by the laser manufacturers themselves. It’s best to seek out independent, non-biased information.
The age of the laser is an important factor. Tattoo removal has come along way over the years. receiving treatment from a 20 year old laser means you’re probably not going to get the most effective or safest treatment. A tattoo removal laser manufactured within the last 5-10 years is preferable.
One factor many don’t consider is the service record of the laser. Tattoo removal technology is very advanced and the machines are complicated and sensitive machines. Just like a fine watch or automobile, they should be serviced regularly (at least yearly) to ensure optimal performance. Be sure to ask your potential provider when the equipment was last serviced. If they hesitate or don’t know, perhaps it’s best to look elsewhere.
Tattoo removal question 2: What is your tattoo removal experience?
We’ve discussed tattoo removal experience already here so won’t go into too much more detail. Your laser technician should be an expert. Ideally they’ll have at least a couple years of experience performing treatments. Clinics that specialize in tattoo removal rather than offer it as a side service in addition to a range of other treatments will likely have much more experience.
Tattoo removal question 3: How many tattoo removal treatments will I need to achieve my goals?
There are many factors that impact how many tattoo removal treatments will be necessary for full removal of a tattoo. Of course, the number of treatments directly impacts the amount you’ll pay. Some offices will quote low in hopes that you’re encouraged by the news and start treatments right then and there. At Bare, we prefer to give an accurate assessment and error on the high side. Under-promise and over-deliver is our objective.
If the estimate you receive seems especially low, it might be. It’s rare that even the best tattoo removal technology can fully remove a tattoo in less than 4 treatments.
Tattoo removal question 4: What are the odds of achieving my tattoo removal goals?
There are many factors involved in successful tattoo removal. The odds of success vary widely depending on these factors so, depending on your goals for fading, your odds may be very good, or they may be stacked against you. Be sure to get an honest assessment of your odds before moving forward with laser tattoo removal.
Tattoo removal question 5: What are the tattoo removal risks I should know about?
Overall, the risks associated with tattoo removal are very low. Most commonly, clients have a bit of itching and tenderness in the area for the first 72 hours or so after treatment. There are some more significant risks, however. These include: blistering, scarring, infection, allergic reaction, and others. Certain skin types and other health considerations can increase or decrease those risk factors – so be sure to get a clear assessment of your risks prior to receiving tattoo removal treatments.
Tattoo removal question 6: How painful will this be?
Of course, you’ll want to know how much pain is involved. This is the most common tattoo removal question as well as the biggest misconception.
Tattoo removal question 7: How much will this cost?
Notice this is the final tattoo removal question and these are listed in order of priority. Cost is certainly a major consideration. However, tattoo removal is a medical procedure and your approach should be the same as it would be for any other medical procedure. Would your first question to a heart surgeon be: How expensive is this? Of course not. “Lowest price” rarely equates to “best” and often costs you more in the long run. You get what you pay for and once you have answers to the above tattoo removal questions, you’ll be much better equipped to evaluate the clinic and decide if you’re confident in the clinic you’re at and whether or not tattoo removal is worth it to you.