How Does tattoo removal work?

What do you use to remove a tattoo? Main Laser Clinic uses a state-of-the-art tattoo removal laser – Astanza Duality laser system. This actively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is highly effective at removing a wide range of colored ink 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. We also use an actively Q-switched Ruby laser to treat resistant tattoos and rare colors. Read more about Maine Laser Clinic’s advanced technology here.

How 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 (6 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 Maine Laser Clinic, we 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 Gallery to get an idea of the results to expect.

Do tattoo removal creams or injections work?

We’ve seen 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 tattoo removal cost?

Tattoo removal cost more than getting a tattoo. Costs vary by size and technology required to remove a tattoo. Small black tattoos, 1 inch by 1 inch starts at $100 per session. We offer comptetive priciing packages. It’s best to ask the practitioner during your consultation for a more precise quote.

Larger tattoos, 6 inches or more are $150 plus. We always offer reduced rates after a certain amount of treatments is reached. Again, ask your laser provider for a more accurate assessment of your expected costs and sessions required to effectively reduce or remove your tattoo.

As always, we can never guarantee your tattoo will be removed completely, age, ink depth; the type of ink used as well as health all influence outcomes and more. We’re always willing to answer your questions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the process and address any concerns you may have about tattoo removal.

How many sessions will I need to remove my tattoo?

The number of sessions needed to remove a tattoo depends on three factors: the age of the tattoo, the color of the ink, 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 fewer than a 1 year old black tattoo. A 20 year old tattoo may take two to three treatments fewer 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. [/spoiler]

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 Duality 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.

What is the cost of every session?

The cost of each session depends on the size of the tattoo or tattoos being removed, with prices as low as $99 per session. We’ll price each session during the free consultation but can give an estimate over the phone. We categorize your tattoo into “small”, “medium” or “large” for the purpose of pricing, and give discounts for multiple tattoos removed at the same time. A large tattoo is normally given a custom price per session, and we are competitive in our pricing and superior in our service.

Does the procedure hurt?

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.

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 instructions to help them manage their skin after the treatment.

Are there any contraindications for tattoo removal?

Yes!  Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t undergo tattoo removal.  Some ink may contain trace amounts of material that may be harmful to a fetus or developing a child.

People who have an auto-immune disease like HIV or epilepsy should not pursue laser tattoo removal.  As always, please consult your physician before undergoing any laser related procedure.

Laser Hair Removal procedure

The laser energy is absorbed in the hair’s melanin, which creates heat, damaging the hair follicle. While most hair will be singed during treatment, hair may shed in the following 2 weeks as well.

Why do I need several sessions for treatment?

Hair grows in cycles and only a portion may be actively growing at any one time, which is why we may recommend a series of treatments. Typically, 15% clearance is expected for each treatment

What are the side effects of the laser?

The treatment may cause some redness and, if any, will resolve within a few hours.

What do I do after the treatment is over?

You must try to limit sun exposure. Use of a broad spectrum UVA/UVB minimum of SPF 30 is very important after receiving any laser treatment. Remember to reapply throughout the day.

Do you have a cancellation policy?

Due to the length of and demand for treatments, it’s necessary to have a cancellation policy.  We understand that there may be circumstances beyond your control.  We ask that you provide our office with a 24 hours notice, via email, phone, or text message. After 2 missed appointments without 24 hours notice, we will charge $100 or 1/3 of your appointment reservation, whichever is greater.

Do you have a no show policy?

Due to the length of and demand for treatments, it’s necessary to have a cancellation policy. We understand that there may be circumstances beyond your control. We ask that you provide our office with a 24 hours notice, via email, phone, or text message. After 2 missed appointments without 24 hours notice, we will charge a fee of $100, or 1/3 of your appointment reservation, whichever is greater.

If you purchased a daily deal (e.g, Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Local) and no show for an appointment one session of your deal package will be forfeited without exception.

Additionally, for complimentary consultations, if you no show your first appointment, we will not reschedule another free consultation with the option to perform the treatment that same day. (i.e., tattoo removal consult, then treat after your appointment).

This fee cannot be billed to insurance.

Do you have a refund policy?

Once treatment is started, there are NO REFUNDS.  Refunds are issued ONLY before treatment has been performed.  Any remaining balance – minus cost of treatment – from treatment packages (i.e., $400 for 10 small Tattoo Removal sessions) can be used towards any treatment and is transferable. For example, $50 for one small tattoo removal session would be deducted from $400 if a package of 10 were purchased (there are no refunds on Nail Fungus treatment).