Frequently Asked Questions
What makes your Tattoo Removal service unique or better than the others out there?
The bottom line is getting the best results possible. We put extra time and attention into every client and each treatment, knowing that they deserve only the best. We do a thorough consultation with each client to ensure the most beneficial tattoo removal strategy is used as well as to ensure you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions which may lead to unwanted risks. Different skin types can handle different intensities of the laser. Being affiliated with a tattoo shop as well, we have a good idea as to how to approach your tattoo removal, whether it be preparing it for a cover up or removing it entirely. We can recognize characteristics of your tattoo (type of ink used, depth of ink) that can help us better predict what sort of results you might expect. Clients that come to us are seeking expertise, quality, and experience that comes from specializing in one laser service, tattoo fading and removal.
- We have done over 4000 laser tattoo removal treatments over the past four years and have received the appropriate training. Experience and proven track record is a must in this business.
- We do not charge for consultations
- We are fully insured. Make sure you ask any tattoo removal operator if they carry the appropriate professional liability insurance.
- We use one of the best and safest lasers on the market that is designed for tattoo removal purposes not other aesthetic purposes
- We have multiple wavelenghts to treat a range of colors (1064nm, 532nm and 650nm). Many lasers out there have only one or two different wavelengths.
- We get results – see our real client pics
How are tattoos removed?
Q-switched lasers are used at Vancouver Tattoo Removal and are effective and safe for all skin types. Laser energy is directed at the tattooed area for a fraction of a second, passing harmlessly through the outer layer of the skin and targeting the tattoo ink directly. The laser fragments the ink, allowing your body to absorb it and break it down naturally. Earlier methods involved the use of dermabrasion, salibrasion, surgery and C02 lasers, but these methods left behind scarring or lighter skin in place of the tattoo. Also commonly seen on the internet are tattoo removal creams—which do not work (some of our clients have tried these other methods before coming to us and some have been scarred by these creams and chemical injection techniques).
How much will it cost??
Pricing starts at $80 per laser treatment and our maximum per session is $180 (for a very large tattoo). If you have multiple tattoos we price by total size. So, you might have 2 small tattoos and it might only cost you $80 per session to treat both at the same time. Extremely large tattoos such as big back pieces and full sleeves will have to be broken into separate sessions. During your free of charge consultation we will give you a quote for how much your tattoo removal will cost per session. Payment by cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Debit cards. No checks.
How many treatments will it take to remove my tattoo?
Each person is unique as their tattoo, but most professional tattoos take 6 to 14 treatments (more or less) for complete removal. Many are removed in less than ten treatments. Home-made, or very lightly applied tattoos take three to six treatments (more or less) as these tattoos are generally not as deep and contain lesser quality ink that breaks down easier. Older tattoos come out faster than recently done tattoos. Blow outs can often been corrected in only one session. Fading a tattoo for a tattoo cover-up may only require one session but most often requires a few. Laser sessions are spaced out 6 to 10 weeks apart. The longer you wait between sessions, the better results you will have. Time is a very important factor in this process as your body needs time to get rid of the broken down ink. The number of treatments depends on the amount of ink used, type of ink, depth of ink placed in skin, location, age, colors, and each person’s individual health considerations. Some parts of the tattoo can come out extremely fast (I.e., light shading) while deeper line work and certain colors will take longer to come out.
How do I make an appointment? What are your hours?
There are a couple of options. You can call the front desk at the shop (Gastown Tattoo Parlour) at 604-642-6556. The counter person usually works from 11am-6pm each day. Or, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can start off with just a consultation or have your first session immediately following your consultation.
Please note: if you don’t show up for your appointment we will require you to pay a $25 deposit the next time. Please call the shop to cancel an appointment or email us at email@example.com if you are not able to make it and give at least 48 hours notice. Cancellations cannot be made through Schedulicity.
What is involved in a consultation?
This is the first step. A consultation is required before any laser treatment. It involves taking a health history, evaluating the tattoo, explaining the procedure, reviewing risks and benefits, options, answering questions, and establishing the price per treatment. Clients must be at least 18 years of age and have photo identification. Consultations are free of charge. We can also give you a quote as to the price we would charge per session if you send us a photo of your tattoo.
I just got a new tattoo that I regret. How long do I have to wait?
Unfortunately we cannot apply lasers to brand new tattoos that have not fully healed as this would pose a risk to your skin and not effectively remove the ink. Tattoos normally take about 4-6 weeks to heal. We ask that your tattoo is at least 2 months old before we laser it. Generally speaking, the older the tattoo is the easier it is to remove. So a newer tattoo is going to require more sessions than one that is least a year or two old.
Can you remove just a part of my tattoo?
Yes, we can. We can often fix blown out lines, or remove parts of shading or other line work that you are not happy with. We can block out the other parts of your tattoo so that they laser does not hit there.
Is the process painful?
Yes. The laser emits light in very short flashes called pulses. The impact of the pulse is described as a snap of a rubber band or a hot pinprick. Different people have different pain thresholds. We use ice packs to cool the skin and help reduce the pain. In our opinion ice packs are as effective as the air blowing devices that some places may use.
We also sell Zensa topical anesthetic for $40 per tube that you can apply an hour before your appointment. Many patients say that this takes away up to 50% of the pain. So come down to the shop to pick one up before your appointment.
Keep in mind, the laser procedure is very short in time (a small tattoo might only take 20 seconds). Usually by the time you leave our facility the pain is already gone and it just feels like a sunburn. Most of our clients say that it was not as bad as what they expected it to be.
Is it Safe? Will I have a scar?
Laser tattoo removal is a safe procedure with minimal risks. The chance of scarring is less than 2%, if you follow the after-care instructions. The risk of scarring can increase for dark skin tone, poor circulation, immune system deficiencies, taking Accutaine, some health conditions, taking certain medications, or having a history of keloids or elevated scarring. Any scarring pre-existing before the procedure will remain after the tattoo ink has been removed. During our pre-screening process we will ask you some health-related questions. If we feel that you are in a high risk category, we may decline doing the procedure on you. If you have had an extreme amount of sun exposure on the area to be treated we also we decline doing this procedure on you (may cause hypo or hyper pigmentation). But yes, it is generally safe to get laser treatments during the summer months.
Do all colors of ink disappear equally as well?
No, but black ink removes the best. Red, orange and warmer colors respond well. Yellow is variable but can be removed. We can also be effective on a lot of green inks. Some blue and purple inks are more challenging colours to remove but our laser can sometimes remove them although complete removal cannot be guaranteed. We can’t remove white ink tattoos and we don’t offer removal of permanent makeup pigments (they may contain an oxide which turns black when in contact with a laser).
Will the tattoo completely disappear?
In many cases, yes. It is very common to achieve at least 90-95% fading. However, it is very important to know that over 100 types of tattoo inks are used today and some of them react differently to the laser treatment. Without the standardized of inks used it makes it difficult to predict the degree of removal of any tattoo. We can never guarantee 100% removal — no laser provider out there can guarantee 100% removal on every tattoo.
Can you laser eyebrow tattoos?
Although we don’t generally remove cosmetic tattoos (because the ink is often different), there are times we can laser eyebrow tattoos that did not turn out the way you wanted. We can do a test spot to see if the pigment will respond positively to our laser. At our shop, Gastown Tattoo, we recently added microblading services as well (fine hair stroke realistic, semi-realistic eyebrow tattoos). So our specialist can come up with a complete plan to fix and replace your existing eyebrow tattoos. Check out www.gastowntattoo.com/microblading for more info on that service
What type of after care is necessary?
An instant whitening of the skin is seen after treatment, but this generally fades quickly. The area is likely to feel tender for a few hours and can be red/swollen/bruised for up to 72 hours. Blistering can occur. It is quite common for the treated area to feel itchy after the treatment. Following the steps below will help ensure that your skin heals up nicely following the treatment.
1. The treated site should be kept clean and dry while it is healing, and out of the sun. Clean the area gently with soap and water and gently pat the area dry. If a blister forms, it is important not to pop it or pick at it. You can apply neosporin, polysporin, aquaphore or aloe vera to it. A shower can be taken the next day (use lukewarm rather than hot water), and the site should not be scrubbed. Initially the tattoo is unlikely to look any different but will fade over the next several weeks as the body disperses it.
2. You may apply cool compresses (ice packs) as necessary for 24 hours after the laser treatment to help reduce discomfort and inflammation.
3. Do no pick at the blister or allow the skin to become scraped, as this may result in infection and scarring. Shaving should be avoided in the treated area until it is completely healed.
4. Do not wear make-up or any other cream on the area for 48 hours.
5. Wear a sunblock (SPF 25 or higher) over the area following the treatment.
6. It is recommended that you regularly massage, with aloe vera, the treated area to help speed up the body’s ability to disperse the ink. It is also important to drink 5 to 10 glasses of water for the first week to assist lymphatic drainage.
7. If the area looks infected contact us or visit a doctor immediately. Call us if you have any concerns. We are here to help!