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MESSAGES TO

Tattoo Removal

A DxD Session with Dr Kevin Chua


Ended on Sat Jan 19 2019
Ended

Top Answers


Dear Gal,

To remove a tattoo is a long drawn out process. 

The laser remains the best method to remove a tattoo. 

Several years ago doctors looked at the existing technologies and decided that the Q-Switched Nd-YAg lasers should be considered the gold-standard laser for tattoo removal. 

The pigment that absorbs the laser energy is called the chromophore. There are 3 processes that happen when the laser beam hits the skin. 

  • Photothermal effect - the chromophore is heated and effectively burns up.
  • Photoacoustic effect - light behaves like a sound wave which shatters the chromophore into much smaller fragments
  • Lymphatic clearance - the location of the tattoo determines how easy it is to clear the tattoo. It is much harder to remove tattoos over areas where the skin is thin eg- wrist, ankle. Fleshy areas like the upper arm would be easier. 

The pico-second lasers did not yet exist at that time. I personally prefer to use my pico-second laser because the clearance of the tattoo is faster, requiring fewer sessions. Recovery time is also shortened. The chances of scarring is also lower.

23 May 2018

Generally, tattoo removal will cost approximately $2,000 for a simple single coloured tattoo. For more complicated tattoos, it can cost up to $4,500 to remove.

There are many different types of lasers available on the market right now. Typically, each laser session costs from $800 – $1,300.

The cost is affected by the following: 

  • Size of tattoo
  • Position of tattoo
  • Colours present in the tattoo
  • Your skin type and colour
  • Technology used 

tattoo removal cost singapore

I personally prefer the PicoWay treatment for tattoo removal because they are designed laser specifically from the ground up with respect to tattoo removal.

This allows for the fewest sessions possible and the ability to treat a large variety of colours including the traditionally difficult green and blue inks. You can see an overview of the tattoo removal process as follows:

tattoo removal Singapore

14 Aug 2018

Hi Ges Shu,

Tattoo removal typically doesn't cause scarring. However, there is still a chance that your skin will scar because it's fighting against the trauma of tattooing and laser removal. There are also instances where patients scratch the wound while it’s healing and dig out the good skin cells, which leads to scarring.

There are also some treatment methods are slightly less prone to scarring. For example, I often recomend the PicoWay treatment to my patients because it lowers the chance of scarring much more than the Medlite C6 that I also use.

With this, the patient's skin tends to remodel after each treatment which allows me to deal with any skin textural changes as they occur. The Resolve handpiece also gives me greater versatility in reducing any existing scars and dealing with any potential scars.

14 Aug 2018

Hi Banco,

It is very important to adopt proper post laser aftercare for the entire recovery process. After each treatment, the treated area may seem like a superficial burn wound and you need to treat it like an open wound.

You may expect to experience the following side effects like blistering, scabbing or itching after a few days.

However, the above side effects are temporary and will subside within a week. I prescribe a treatment regime and when followed helps to speed the healing process and reduce the chances of scarring.

Here are some basic tips:

  1. Apply the treated area with a thin layer of antibiotic and bandage it with sterile gauze.
  2. Always keep the treated area clean and dry, and when necessary, clean the area gently with mild soap and water.
  3. Itching is very common but do not scratch or pick any scabs that may form. Take antihistamines to alleviate itch.
  4. Do keep the area out of direct sun exposure whenever possible and avoid sun tanning.

Complete healing takes about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on your age, aftercare, immune system and whether you are someone who smokes.

14 Aug 2018

Hi Frieda,

100% clearance is possible but should be treated as an exception. My goal is to reduce most of the tattoos I treat to 90-95% faded. Your body’s immune system will continue to flush away the ink over time.

Many patients are eager to see immediate results, but it is important for you to understand that tattoo removal is a slow process that also relies on your body’s ability to break down the ink from the skin.

Minimally, I would recommend four weeks between each laser treatment as stacking the treatments too closely together can cause damage instead. The speed of complete removal however, really depends on your body’s immune system, the location of your tattoo and the ink colors of your tattoos.

14 Aug 2018

Hi Zelda,

I’m afraid that it is not very effective. I have seen these creams advertised as well and I have interviewed some of my patients who have used them.

The consensus is that the results are marginal, if any, at best. The laser remains the gold standard for tattoo removal. It would be wise to consider this as your only option. I have seen too many scars as a result of other attempts at trying to remove tattoos using common household agents.

My advice is to choose carefully where you get your treatment. The technology used as well as the operator experience are crucial to having it safely removed.

14 Aug 2018

Hi Sising, 

Before the PicoWay arrived, it was green and sky blue. I would say that the hardest colour to remove is now red/brown. Black ink is the easiest and most straightforward colour to remove.

However, I have seen an increasing trend in metallic black ink being used. This makes the removal process much more complicated as the metallic pigment tends to reflect the laser energy away. This results in additional sessions to completely remove the tattoo.

 

In a tattoo removal process, the part that absorbs the laser energy is called the chromophore. When the laser is fired, and depending on the wavelength of the laser used, the chromophore that absorbs the laser energy the most will both burn up and break up.

Black ink absorbs energy at the 1064nm wavelength very strongly. When the laser is fired, some of the pigment will burn up. Since light behaves like a sound wave, the pressure waves generated by the laser fractures the ink into smaller particles allowing the body to clear the debris.

14 Aug 2018

Hi Jie Sheng, 

Your skin needs time to heal. Attempting to remove a tattoo whilst it is still healing only increases your chance of scarring. I advise all my patients to wait at least 4 weeks before going for treatment.

In my experience, tattoos that are less than a year old are much harder to remove when compared with a tattoo that has been there 10 years. Your body tries to get rid of the ink as soon as you get it.

Older tattoos means that your body has had more time to remove when compared to a fresh tattoo. This usually translates to fewer sessions required for older tattoos when compared to newer tattoos.

24 Aug 2018

Hi Stacy,

Many patients are eager to see immediate results, but it is important for you to understand that the tattoo removal s a long drawn out process and it takes time. Patience is key!

Some factors that will affect how quickly your tattoo clears include:

  • Your body’s immune system (ability to breakdown the ink and repair itself)
  • Body placement of your tattoo
  • Type of ink colors
  • Amount of ink used
  • Is there it over an existing scar or a pre-existing tattoo
  • Whether or not you smoke

Technology also plays an important role in the rate of complete removal. A tattoo removal laser has the ability to transmit powerful laser pulses, which breaks down the ink particles. However, not all laser machines in the market are able to deliver the same results largely due to the power of the lasers used as well as the experience of the operators..

I personally use the PicoWay laser. The picosecond technology is able to deliver small bursts of laser energy that penetrates deep into the skin in picoseconds (one trillionth of a second). This ensures that there is minimal damage to the area outside of the treatment zone.

This also means that more pigment is burned up with each laser application and the pigments are broken up into much smaller fragments when compare to the Q-switched lasers. You will typically only see changes after you have at least a few sessions done. My PicoWay does significantly reduce the required number of sessions.

24 Aug 2018

Hi Samuel,

Your skin needs time to heal. Attempting to remove a tattoo whilst it is still healing only increases your chance of scarring.

Minimally, I would advise four to six weeks between each laser treatment as stacking the treatments too closely together can cause damage instead. You might need to wait a little longer if you are a smoker as well.

 

24 Aug 2018

Hi Amit, 

Most black ink tattoos take about 3 to 12 months depending on the type of laser technology used. Colorful tattoos such as yours are harder to treat.

On an average, each laser treatment is spaced out between four to six weeks as stacking the treatments too closely together can cause damage and possibly leave you with scars.

The colour and amount ink being treated also determines the number of sessions required. Green and sky-blue inks are especially difficult to remove using the traditional lasers. Such lasers include the gold standard Medlite C6.

Look to newer technologies such as the PicoWay. It has the 785nm wavelength attachment, which was purposely designed to remove these colours.

The picosecond technology is able to deliver small bursts of laser energy that penetrates deep into the skin in picoseconds (one trillionth of a second). This ensures that there is minimal damage to the area outside of the treatment zone.

This also means that more pigment is burned up with each laser application and the pigments are broken up into much smaller fragments when compared to the Q-switched lasers. You will typically only see changes after you have at least a few sessions done. My PicoWay does significantly reduce the required number of sessions.

24 Aug 2018

Hi Rajini, 

Your skin color will be absorbing the laser energy as well as the tattoo ink. The darker you are, the more melanin you have. This also absorbs the laser energy in addition to the tattoo ink.

It is possible to remove your tattoo, except that you may very likely require more sessions when compared to someone with a lighter skin tone since I need to be more conservative with the energy settings used.

Regardless of whether you have dark or fair skin, you face the same risks and side effects. Individuals with darker skin tones may face an increased risk for hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. They should avoid sun exposure and follow appropriate after-care instructions.

Hyperpigmentation is usually temporary and will fade naturally with time. There are also tablets, which you can take to lighten the hyperpigmentation faster.

24 Aug 2018

Hi Mei Siew, 

The best method for tattoo removal remains the laser. Choosing the right person to do the job is just as important as the laser technology used. The PicoWay treatment remains my favorite laser for this purpose because of the range of colors it can treat in addition to the speed at which it clears most tattoos.

24 Aug 2018

Hi Raelee, 

I’m afraid that it would not be possible unless your tattoo has very little ink to begin with. Most tattoos usually require 3 to 12 sessions depending on the laser used and the person using it.

 Some factors that will affect how quickly your tattoo clears include:

  • Your body’s immune system (ability to breakdown the ink and repair itself)
  • Body placement of your tattoo
  • Type of ink colors
  • Amount of ink used
  • Is it over an existing scar or a pre-existing tattoo?
  • Whether or not you smoke

 

Technology definitely plays an important role in the rate of complete removal. A tattoo removal laser has the ability to transmit powerful laser pulses, which breaks down the ink particles. However, not all laser machines in the market are able to deliver the same results largely due to the power of the lasers used as well as the experience of the operators.

I personally prefer to use the PicoWay laser as the quickest way to remove tattoos. The picosecond technology is able to deliver small bursts of laser energy that penetrates deep into the skin in picoseconds (one trillionth of a second).

This ensures that there is minimal damage to the area outside of the treatment zone. This also means that more pigment is burned up with each laser application and the pigments are broken up into much smaller fragments when compare to the Q-switched lasers.

You will typically only see changes after you have at least a few sessions done. My PicoWay does significantly reduce the required number of sessions.

24 Aug 2018

Hi Tish,

Information is easily available online. It is also in the palm of your hands.  I would do a search on your favorite search engine either on your smart phone or computer and read a few reviews before making a decision on the ideal person to help remove your tattoos.

You also need to consider the laser technology used as well as the person operating the laser. This is going to be a long process and you will need to be comfortable with the person who is doing the treatment.

The current gold standard laser remains the Medlite C6. This laser was chosen more than a decade ago when the doctors assessed the current laser technologies in use at that time and determined that this laser gave the most consistent results.

The newer pico-second lasers were, of course, not under consideration at the time since they only came onto the market in recent years. I use the PicoWay for a majority of my tattoo removal treatments.

This laser has the advantage in being able to remove most tattoos in fewer sessions compared to the Medlite C6 laser (which some of my patients request I use due to cost considerations).

24 Aug 2018

Hi Ye Xu, 

It is unfortunately quite painful.  Pain is of course, very subjective so it depends very much on the pain threshold of every person as well as the location of the tattoo.

The parts of our skin, which have more nerve endings, will have a stronger sensation. Areas such as the face, neck and fingers are more sensitive. These are areas where you might feel more pain as compared to the shoulder or forearm.  

I take steps to ensure that the procedure is as comfortable as possible for all my patients. This involve the generous use of numbing cream and the use of a chilled air blower. I do have patients requesting treatment without numbing cream. These are few and far between.

Overall, the treatment has been tolerable for almost all of my patients.

24 Aug 2018