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Laser tattoo removal no longer a painful process

Gaye Tregaskis of Mooloolaba's Coastal Skin Clinic.
Gaye Tregaskis of Mooloolaba's Coastal Skin Clinic.

WHEN you think tattoo removal, the first image that comes to mind is usually some poor sap grimacing as a red-hot laser burns away his ink - and most of his skin.

Gaye Tregaskis of Coastal Skin Clinic said laser certainly was the most popular method for tattoo removals, but the machines have come a long way since the days of torturous devices that look more at home in a Bond movie.

"With the Q-Switch laser, to do a small tattoo it takes about 30 seconds. That's how quick it is. It creates about 1000 pulses a minute," Gaye said.

So treating the tattoo is much faster than getting it.

But, before you race to the tattoo parlour, remember, it's always cheaper to get the ink than it is to shed it.

"It will cost them probably three to four times the amount (they paid for the tattoo) to get a tattoo removed," Gaye said.

While laser treatment is now fast and trauma-free, Gaye said anyone considering this treatment should check they were not going under a cheap machine.

"The machine I use is an imported Q-Switch machine from the (United) States," she said.

"You can get cheap machines from China but they don't target all colours."

"They only target one colour and you've then got to source out a Q-Switch that targets all colours.

"This machine has got four wave lengths so it targets all colours.

"A Q-Switch laser does what it has to do, it shatters the ink and gets out so it doesn't damage the surrounding skin."

The million-dollar question is, of course, does laser tattoo removal hurt?

"They do say it hurts, but I have a machine that blows minus-30 degree air so we can numb the area before, during and after."

Gaye said while many clients were choosing to shed their ink, she also worked closely with Sunshine Coast tattoo artists.

"The tattoo parlours have been sending quite a few clients. I work with those guys," she said.

"They send clients in to get just enough fading on an old tattoo so they can tattoo a new design.

"Those kinds of clients are looking at about three treatments - just to fade it enough to go over the skin with a new tattoo."

Gaye said while a large area of skin could be done at once, some areas of the body are more sensitive than others.

"If it's an arm band, you can't do it in one session because it will have a tourniquet effect on the arm.

"So you would break it down and do half. A couple of days later you could then do the other half."

Gaye said while a large area of skin could be done at once, some areas of the body are more sensitive than others.

"If it's an arm band, you can't do it in one session because it will have a tourniquet effect on the arm," Gaye, who is a trained nurse, said.

"So you would break it down and do half. A couple of days later you could then do the other half.

"It's expensive. Prices start about $100 a session. The good thing about it is you don't have to fork it out every week.

So what are the hardest parts of the body to treat?

"The closer the skin is to the heart, the easier it is to treat, because the circulation is so good. It goes through your heart and you excrete it (the shattered ink) through your waste. But if you go to your extremities, your toes, your feet, your fingers, they take longer because it's got to work its way through your body to get eliminated.

So what are the most common reasons for clients wanting their tattoos removed?

"Partners' names is a big one. I've got a lot of names that I'm doing."

So how many treatments do you need to get rid of a tattoo?

"The older the tattoo, the easier it is to remove. And amateur tattoos are really easy to get rid of.

"I treated one client for an amateur tattoo recently and it was gone in two treatments.

"It comes down to the density of the ink. The professional tattoos take longer because of the density of the ink."

Does laser removal work if a client has a particularly dodgy homemade tattoo, which has ink at different depths under the skin?

"Yes, you can change the settings on the laser to penetrate deeper, changing the spot size to a smaller spot and increase the energy."

And is laser tattoo removal a fulfilling job?

"Oh, yes. I love it. And it's especially seeing clients happy with the result.

"It's great seeing clients getting rid of their old past mistakes."

Laser tattoo removal

COST: About $120 to $700 per session (depending on the tattoo size). Most tattoos require between six and 15 sessions

PROS: Almost painless (thanks to the cooling machine) and incredibly quick. Over in seconds

CONS: Feels like a bad sunburn afterwards. Hard to estimate how many sessions each tattoo will require

PAIN FACTOR: During process: short, sharp shock. Feels like a static electric shock. Afterwards: can feel like a bad sunburn

CONCLUSION: A good way to lose your ink. Effective and very little discomfort - providing your practitioner is using a quality laser tattoo removal machine


WEB: http://www.coastalskinclinic.com.au/

CALL: 0409 647 051

EMAIL: care@coastalskinclinic.com.au

Topics:  laser mooloolaba removal tattoo



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