laser tattoo removal clinic Singapore

Laser Tattoo Removal

Pico laser tattoo removal is clinically proven to clear unwanted tattoos.

By shattering unwanted tattoos with minimal collateral damage, Pico laser treatment is associated with faster clearance, less side effects and less pain.

Table of Contents

How Pico Laser Tattoo Removal Works?

Pico laser tattoo removal is the current gold standard at removing unwanted tattoos. Pico laser technology uses high powered ultrashort pulses of energy to break down tattoo pigments without much heat and damage to the surrounding skin. As the tattoo is heated, it undergoes violent thermal expansion, generating shock waves audible as a popping sound with each laser pulse. By breaking down the tattoo pigments into smaller particles, your body then naturally removes your tattoo pigments over time.

Laser tattoo removal depends on the wavelength of the laser.

  • Colours that are easiest to remove: black, blue, dark brown, green
  • Colours that are difficult to remove: red, orange, yellow, light blue
laser tattoo removal clinic Singapore
The tattoo pigments are broken down by laser which are later cleared by the body.

Consultation and Assessment

30-45 minutes (including prepation)

Interval of 6-8 weeks

Downtime of 1 week

OUR APPROACH

Laser tattoo removal

Laser tattoo removal works by emitting specific wavelengths of light that are selectively absorbed by the tattoo pigments. This process, known as selective photothermolysis, causes the tattoo ink to fragment into smaller particles, which are then naturally eliminated by the body’s immune system over time. Different laser wavelengths are employed based on the color of the tattoo ink, with common types including Q-switched lasers and picosecond lasers, each suited to target different pigments effectively.

What are the different types of tattoos?

“Professional tattoos” refer to tattoos created by experienced and skilled tattoo artists using proper equipment, hygiene practices, and adherence to safety protocols. These tattoos are generally composed of organometallic dyes, have high ink density and placed deeper within your skin.

Amateur tattoos are tattoos that are typically performed by individuals without professional training or experience in tattooing. These tattoos are often done in non-sterile environments, using homemade or improvised tattooing equipment, and without proper safety precautions. Moreover, they are generally composed of cabron-rich mixtures such as india ink, have sparse ink density and have irregular ink depth in the superficial layers of your skin. Typically, lesser laser sessions are required.

Medical tattoos, also known as medical alert tattoos or medical identification tattoos, are tattoos that serve a specific medical purpose. Unlike decorative tattoos, which are chosen for aesthetic reasons, medical tattoos convey important information about the wearer’s health condition or medical history. They are generally composed of carbon, have sparse and superficial ink density.

Cosmetic tattooing, also known as permanent makeup or micropigmentation, involves the application of pigment to the skin to create long-lasting enhancements that resemble makeup. They are generally composed of a mixture of compounds (e.g. ferric oxide, titanium dioxide) with sparse ink density and found in the superficial layers of the skin.

A traumatic tattoo, also known as an accidental tattoo or traumatic pigmentary alteration, occurs when foreign material becomes embedded in the skin as a result of trauma or injury. This can happen when particles from objects such as asphalt, dirt, metal, or gunpowder are forcefully driven into the skin during accidents, explosions, or incidents involving high-velocity projectiles. They have variable ink density and depth with your skin. Traumatic tattoos must be approached with caution, as they may contain explosive particles, leading to skin scarring during laser treatment.

Factors affecting tattoo removal

Every individual who desires tattoo removal has unique characteristics that has to be taken into account as it affects treatment outcomes. These include:

  • Age: Older tattoos tend to have a better response to laser treatment.
  • Type: Professional tattoos are more challenging to remove because they are normally composed of organometallic compounds are have a deeper ink depth and density.
  • Colour: While black tattoos are easier to remove (as black colour absorbs at all wavelength), yellow, orange, skin coloured and white colours are the toughest to eliminate.
  • Location: Tattoos found on areas of your hand or feet are more difficult to remove compared to those found on the body.

Who is unsuitable for the treatment?

There are certain instances where it may be unsafe to carry out the laser procedure. These include:

  • Seizures triggered by light
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Immunocompromised states
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Breastfeeding/Pregnancy
  • Active skin infection/inflammation
  • Suspicious moles or skin cancer in the treated area
  • Keloid scarring
  • Cosmetic ink e.g. white, pink

What do i need to avoid before the treatment?

Before undergoing laser tattoo removal, there are several precautions and preparations to follow to ensure the procedure is as safe and effective as possible. Here are some key things to avoid before your laser tattoo removal session:

  1. Sun Exposure:

    • Avoid direct sun exposure and tanning beds for at least 2-4 weeks prior to the treatment. Sunburned or tanned skin can increase the risk of side effects and complications.
    • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher if you need to be outdoors.
  2. Self-Tanners and Spray Tans:

    • Refrain from using self-tanning lotions or getting spray tans in the weeks leading up to your treatment. These products can affect the laser’s ability to target the tattoo ink effectively.
  3. Certain Medications:

    • Avoid taking photosensitive medications, such as certain antibiotics (e.g., tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones), and other medications that can increase skin sensitivity to light.
    • Inform your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you are taking, as some may need to be discontinued before the procedure.
  4. Skin Irritants:

    • Avoid using harsh skincare products or treatments on the area to be treated, such as retinoids, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and other exfoliants, for at least one week before the procedure.
    • Do not apply any topical products that could irritate the skin or cause an adverse reaction.
  5. Alcohol and Smoking:

    • Refrain from consuming alcohol and smoking for at least 24-48 hours before the treatment. These can affect the body’s healing process and potentially increase the risk of complications.
  6. Waxing, Plucking, or Epilating:

    • Avoid hair removal methods such as waxing, plucking, or epilating on the treatment area for at least one week prior to your session. Shaving is generally allowed and may be recommended the day before the procedure.
  7. Cosmetic Procedures:

    • Avoid other cosmetic procedures on the treatment area, such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or other laser treatments, for at least two weeks before laser tattoo removal.
  8. Hydration and Moisturization:

    • Keep your skin well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using a gentle moisturizer in the days leading up to your appointment.

How many Laser sessions are needed to remove my tattoo?

laser removal over time

The best laser tattoo removal approach takes into consideration the colour, depth, location and whether the tattoo done by a professional or amateur tattoo artists. For example, an amateur tattoo usually requires less sessions as only one ink type is used and the ink is placed in a more superficial location in the skin.

The Kirby-Desai Scale gives the approximate number of laser sessions you may need. It is a validated practical tool that allows an individual to estimate the number of laser sessions needed and the costs involved. This scale takes into account your skin type, location of tattoo, layering, number of colours and history of skin scarring. 

Laser treatments are spaced at least 6-8 weeks apart to enable healing of the skin and to allow clearance of the tattoo pigment by the body’s immune system.

what do i need to do after my procedure?

Following your laser procedure, it is recommended that you:

  • Use a moisturizer as the skin will be red for up to 72hrs.
  • Avoid sun and unnecessary heat e.g. saunas
  • Use sunscreens regularly 
  • Use an antibiotic ointment and do not pick at your scabs (they usually fall off in 7 days)
  • Inform clinic if there is blistering or have symptoms of infection (e.g. increasing pain, swelling and heat).

Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Tattoo Removal

Dr Ng. suggests that you wait for at least 6 months after your tattoo procedure. This is to avoid any undesirable interaction of the laser with the tattoo pigments if performed too early.

After a consultation and assessment of your skin, your doctor should give you information on the best laser tattoo removal treatment options, expected recovery and side effects.

A topical anaesthetic cream is applied to numb your skin, maximizing your comfort. The laser pulse feels like a rubber band snapping against your skin. You will experience some discomfort, redness and swelling after the laser, which will fade in a few days. Skin care and sun avoidance after the procedure is crucial to prevent complications like infection, scarring and pigmentation.

A topical anaesthetic cream is applied to your skin prior to the procedure to optimize your comfort. A rubber snapping sensation is felt. From studies, pico-second laser is less painful than Q-switched laser tattoo removal.

There will be some redness, swelling and discomfort immediately after your laser tattoo removal procedure. However, this only lasts a few days. In some patients, a blister may form which can take up to 2 weeks to heal depending on the size of it. Uncommon side effects include hyperpigmentation, paradoxical darkening, hypopigmentation, infection, skin textural changes and scarring.

Yes. Laser tattoo removal is selective and causes minimal collateral damage to the skin. For darker skin individuals, laser treatments can be safely and effectively carried out. Dr Moses Ng usually advises a gradual step wise approach when it comes to laser tattoo removal in individuals with darker skin type.

Pico-second lasers are effective at removing multi-coloured tattoos. The removal of tattoos would depend on the wavelength of the laser. For example, the 1064nm picosecond laser is effective for black ink. The 532nm picosecond laser is useful for red, yellow, purple and orange colours. However, not all inks respond to laser.

Paradoxical darkening refers to the darkening of your tattoo after your laser procedure. This can occur with tattoos of various colours. This effect is due to a chemical reaction to compounds such as iron oxide that are contained within the tattoo. If this occurs, it can be treated with a 1064nm picoseond laser.

Depending on the type, colour and depth of your tattoo, visible results can be seen on average at 6-8 weeks after your laser procedure.

Dr Moses Ng dermatologist

Laser tattoo removal

Laser tattoo removal represents a highly effective and safe method for the removal of unwanted tattoos. With advancements in laser technology, the ability to treat a wide range of tattoo colors and types has significantly improved, offering patients a tailored approach to meet their individual needs. Proper patient selection, education, and post-treatment care are essential components to achieve optimal results and patient satisfaction.

Schedule a consultation for Laser Tattoo removal in singapore

Laser tattoo removal is a cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedure widely recognized for its efficacy and safety in eliminating unwanted tattoos. Utilizing advanced laser technology, this procedure offers a reliable solution for individuals seeking to remove or fade tattoos for various personal, professional, or aesthetic reasons. If you want to explore options on how to remove your tattoos effectively, contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr.Ng.

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Get in touch with us with any questions, pricing, or bookings.

Or give us a call at +65 6769 6007 | WhatsApp us +65 9855 3022

References:
  1. Kilmer SL, Lee MS, Anderson RR. Treatment of multi-colored tattoos with the Q-switched Nd:YAG laser (532 nm): a dose response study with comparison to the Q-switched ruby laser. Lasers Surg Med Suppl. 1993. 5:54.
  2. Ross EV, Naseef G, Lin C, Kelly M, Michaud N, Flotte TJ, Raythen J, Anderson RR. Comparison of responses of tattoos to picosecond and nanosecond Q-switched neodymium: YAG lasers. Archives of dermatology. 1998 Feb 1;134(2):167-71.
  3. Jones A, Roddey P, Orengo I, Rosen T. The Q-switched ND:YAG laser effectively treats tattoos in darkly pigmented skin. Dermatol Surg. 1996 Dec. 22(12):999-1001.
  4. Reiter, O., Atzmony, L., Akerman, L. et al. Picosecond lasers for tattoo removal: a systematic review. Lasers Med Sci 31, 1397–1405 (2016). 
  5. Wu, D.C., Goldman, M.P., Wat, H. and Chan, H.H. (2021), A Systematic Review of Picosecond Laser in Dermatology: Evidence and Recommendations. Lasers Surg Med, 53: 9-49. https://doi-org.abc.cardiff.ac.uk/10.1002/lsm.23244
  6. Kono T, Chan HHL, Groff WF, Imagawa K, Hanai U, Akamatsu T. Prospective Comparison Study of 532/1064 nm Picosecond Laser vs 532/1064 nm Nanosecond Laser in the Treatment of Professional Tattoos in Asians. Laser Ther. 2020 Jul 17;29(1):47-52. doi: 10.5978/islsm.20-OR-07. PMID: 32903983; PMCID: PMC7447827.