Frequently Asked Questions
Laser tattoo removal is a medical procedure that deserves research and careful consideration. We hope this list of Frequently Asked Questions will help you learn more about our procedure and make you feel confident in visiting our facility.
What do you use to remove a tattoo?
Premium Tattoo Removal uses Fotona QX-MAX the highest single-pulse energy Q-switched laser on the aesthetic market. This actively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser can remove even the most complex, multi colored tattoos with a wide range of colors, all over the body with only minimal side effects. This laser is FDA approved for the removal of dermal pigmentation (i.e. tattoo ink) and is the latest in a string of medical lasers designed to remove unwanted tattoos. Visit our Laser Technology page to find out more about our best made laser system.
How exactly does the laser break up the tattoo ink?
Two key processes break up the ink – the pigment in your tattoo will absorb the energy from the laser and shatter apart; also, the incredibly fast pulse (5 billionths of a second!) of energy from the laser has a shockwave-like effect that assists the ink shattering. As a result, the ink acts like sugar cube breaking apart into small granules.
How does the body remove the shattered ink?
Once the ink is broken down by the tattoo removal laser, the body will respond by moving fluid to the area to help flush away the ink. This immune response will be obvious to the patient in the form of some swelling and redness in the area. Over the next days, weeks, and months the small, shattered ink particles will be flushed away naturally. The tattoo removal effects aren’t seen overnight and 99% of tattoos require multiple treatments.
Why do I need multiple sessions?
All tattoos have layers of ink, stacked on top of each other within the skin. The thick concentration of pigment particles that cannot be completely broken down in one session. At Premium Tattoo Removal, we’ll go over your entire tattoo with the laser, breaking up as much ink as possible in every session. Each session will produce some level of fading, although for very new tattoos the fading may not be as visible because the ink is still so thick and dense. If your tattoo has shading, the shaded areas will vanish in fewer treatments because shaded tattoos have a lower ink density. Visit our Before & After Pictures to get an idea of the results to expect.
Do tattoo removal “creams” or “injections” work?
There are little to no evidence that “magic creams” help to fade tattoos. At best, they may act like a mild skin bleach to lighten the surrounding skin. Looking at the ingredients and components of such products makes one wonder how they would purportedly remove tattoo ink. The medical community agrees with us – these creams are a gimmick, and a waste of time and money. Injection methods of tattoo removal are even worse because they basically inject highly-damaging acid into the skin. We have seen many people with severe scarring and chemical burns from injection methods.
How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
Tattoo removal at Premium Tattoo Removal is more affordable than most people think! The cost of each session depends on the size of the tattoo or tattoos being removed, with prices as low as $59 per session. We’ll price each session during the free consultation but can give an estimate on our pricing page. A large tattoo is normally given a custom price per session, and we are competitive in our pricing and superior in our service.
How many sessions will I need to remove my tattoo?
The number of sessions needed to remove a tattoo depends on four factors: the age of the tattoo, the color of the ink, the location of the tattoo and the density of the ink.
- Age: Older tattoos can be removed with fewer treatments than newer tattoos. A black ink tattoo that is 10 years old may take one or two treatments less than a 1 year old black tattoo. A 20 year old tattoo may take two to three treatments less than a 1 year old tattoo.
- Color: Certain colors are more easily removed than others. Black and red tattoos are the easiest to remove. Orange, yellow, pink, purple, brown, and other shades are slightly more difficult to remove. The most difficult colors to remove are light green, light blue, and teal/turquoise. During the free consultation we’ll discuss the number of treatments you’ll need to remove certain colors, but expect that you’ll need a few more if you have a difficult color.
- Location: Because tattoo removal depends on the body to flush away the shattered ink particles, areas of the body with less circulation often take more time to show results. The toes, fingers, ears, and nose are areas that may show slower results.
- Ink Density: Shading in a tattoo is easily removed. Some tattoos with letters use shading to fill in the outlines of the letters. Some tattoos with certain designs use shading for clouds or other visual effect. Shading will be removed in only a few sessions in most cases.
Will the laser procedure scar my skin?
No. This is a question that many new patients ask about, and we understand their concerns. Modern tattoo removal lasers such as the QX-MAX used at our clinic will not scar the skin for two reasons. First, the laser doesn’t go deep enough in the skin to cause a scarring response. Second, the pulse from the laser is so fast that only the tattoo pigmentation is affected and surrounding cells and tissue are left undamaged. Scarring was an issue 10 or 15 years ago when the equipment used for tattoo removal was rather primitive. There is no need to be concerned about scarring unless you have a history of Keloid Scarring, which our provider will discuss with you.
Does tattoo removal hurt?
Pain is a personal thing that is different for each individual. Almost every patient we treat compares the pain from the procedure with that of getting the tattoo applied. A key difference is that laser tattoo removal is much quicker – most treatments take between 30 seconds and 10 minutes for completion. Patients compare the discomfort with that of a rubber band snapping against their skin. Black ink tattoos are slightly less uncomfortable to remove than colored tattoos due to the wavelength of light we use to break up the ink. For your comfort, we use the Zimmer Cryo 6 cold air machine the gold standard for epidermal cooling.
What side effects might I experience?
Most patients experience some redness, swelling, and minor blistering of the skin after a laser treatment. These side effects are temporary and your skin will heal back completely. We provide our patients detailed Aftercare Tips to help them manage their skin after the treatment.
Do you provide the R20 Method?
The R20 method is based on multiple passes of the laser over the treatment area with a 20 minute interval in between passes. There is not sufficient evidence to show that the R20 method can provide better results. The original study of the R20 method only used a small amount of patients with amateur tattoos being treated with a relatively weak laser. If you have had this method in the past and wish to have it at our Houston clinic we would be more than happy to do so; our practitioners all have extensive experience in tattoo removal including use of the R20 method. In all other cases, with the use of our powerful Fotona QX-MAX system, we find it unnecessary.
Why do I need Tattoo Fading before re-tattooing?
Tattoo Fading weakens the appearance and potency of an existing tattoo and prepares it for re-tattooing or tattoo cover-up. Weakening or fading a tattoo means that a new tattoo would be easier and will provide better results. The logic is that the weaker the old tattoo is, the better the new. Tattoo fading can be completed within two or three sessions and it would make much more sense to have it performed giving you a peace of mind about your new tattoo.
Anesthetic gels and skin treatments
The use of anesthetic gels in Laser tattoo removal and other non invasive skin treatments, needs to be treated with caution. There is a remote possibility of an adverse reaction or overdose to the Lidocaine / prilocaine in the gel.
What is Zilactin-L (lidocaine topical)?
Lidocaine is a local anesthetic (numbing medication). It works by blocking nerve signals in your body. Lidocaine topical (for use on the skin) is used to reduce pain or discomfort caused by skin irritations such as sunburn, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and minor cuts, scratches, or burns. Lidocaine topical is also used to treat rectal discomfort caused by hemorrhoids.
What is the most important information I should know about Zilactin-L (lidocaine topical)?
An overdose of numbing medicine can cause fatal side effects if too much of the medicine is absorbed through your skin. Overdose symptoms may include uneven heartbeats, seizure (convulsions), slowed breathing, coma, or respiratory failure (breathing stops).
What Are Keloids?
When skin is injured, fibrous tissue, called scar tissue, forms over the wound to repair and protect the injury. In some cases, scar tissue grows excessively, forming smooth, hard growths called keloids. Keloids can be much larger than the original wound. They’re most commonly found on the chest, shoulders, earlobes, and cheeks. However, keloids can affect any part of the body.