Clinic Locations

Tattoo Removal



The art of Tattoo creation dates back to the prehistoric times. Nowadays it is estimated that there are more than 20 million people with tattoos and this number is growing due to the increasing popularity of decorative tattooing in the younger generation.

It is generally not until the individuals get a little older that they start to regret having a tattoo, a feeling which may be intensified if the tattoo is in a position that is easily noticeable. This is particularly true of more symbolic tattoos, which might no longer represent the individual or be supportive of something that they no longer wish to be associated with.

TattooFortunately, Laser treatment has come to the fore as a safe and effective remedy.

The leading surgeons and dermatologists in the world describe laser tattoo removal as the ‘gold standard in tattoo removing’; It is a technique which has been around for over 20 years and has been particularly common since the mid 1990’s. Laser treatment represents a safe and highly effective process for the removal of tattoo’s, whether a single colour of indeed decorative multi coloured tattoos.

There are, generally speaking, two types of tattoos: Ones of Indian ink in a single colour, and the multi-coloured professional tattoos.

The single coloured Indian ink variety are the ones that respond best to laser treatment, but the multi-coloured tattoos can also be effectively treated.

The effect of laser is different on different colour ink; which means that some colours within a tattoo are more easily removed than other colours.  Black, blue and red are relatively easy to eradicate but green, yellow and purple can be very tricky in their removal.

Laser treatment also has a role in the removal of the semi-permanent make-up Cosmetic tattoo; such as lip liner, eye brows and Beauty spots.

The ink particles that make up a tattoo are, on the whole, too large for the bodies own immune system to get rid of them. The laser energy is focused in a single wavelength beam chosen so that it is preferentially absorbed by one pigment colour. This laser beam is then delivered to target area to break down the particles into smaller fragments so the bodies own immune system can remove them naturally by the action of macrophages. As a result, successful laser treatment results in a gradual fading of the tattoo and, hopefully, a complete disappearance.

The key requirement for a laser generator to be used for laser tattoo removal is that it is Q switched so the energy is delivered in the form of very short pulses. The ND:YAg laser system can be made to produce two different wavelengths (effective on two pigment colours at once) enabling it to treat a larger range of tattoo colours. Fotona’s Q MAX system leads the way in tattoo removal.

Even with the most up to date laser technology available, not all tattoos will be completely removed and can result in 'ghosting' where a little of the pigment remains. The reason why the ink does not respond to the laser is as yet not fully understood, but the most common theory is that the ink is lying a little deeper in the skin and the laser light energy can not reach the ink to break it up.

The number of treatments that will be required will depend on several factors including; the size of the tattoo, the colours and the concentration of the colours involved. A single colour Indian ink and red area tattoos generally require 6-12 treatments but other colours may need considerably more treatments to remove the tattoo. Indeed sometimes the green pigment tattoo’s may not disappear at all.

The treatment process:

  • The laser head is gently applied to the skin and pulses of light applied
  • The pulsed nature of the laser light reduces exposure.
  • The laser light is actually  in contact with the skin for billionths of a second
  • Usually a greying or whitening of the tissues is apparent on the skin lasting 2-3 minutes
    (due to the release of microscopic steam bubbles within the skin)
  • Occasionally pinpoint bleeding may occur
  • Swelling ,erythema and skin redness, may last for a few hours
  • Possible pigment alterations
  • Discomfort is minimal, and less if treated with ice pack or Aloe Vera

It is recommended to avoid UV light post treatment

The treatment costs vary depending on the size of the area that is to be treated but generally range from £50 to £300 per session. This can mean that the cost of removal of a tattoo may stretch into thousands of pounds. Dark skin will be more difficult to treat in general and will probably need even more treatments.


Tattoo removal is now a common laser treatment and is performed at numerous laser treatment clinics across the UK. To find a clinic near you, go to our clinic directory or the Clinic location map.