More and more people are getting inked—so the stats say. And we’re actually wondering if it might be because somewhere in the back of people’s minds they know that although they are doing something that is intended to be permanent, with today’s tattoo removal technologies, they won’t have to cover up their bad decision to tattoo the name of their ex with a bandaid (ahem, Ariana Grande).

But, there’s also a common misconception that people who decide to remove their tattoos are only doing it because they no longer like/want their tattoo. And that’s cool if that’s your reason, but some of you might actually be looking to get rid of your tattoo to make space for some new ink, which is totally something we can do for you at MD Beauty Clinic.

Or you might be someone whose tattoo’s gone a little rogue for some reason, like it’s doubled in size within the year (true story, we’ve seen it happen). Oh, and for those of you who have had some bad microblading (eyebrow tattoos) done, take heart because we can help you with that too.

That said, wherever your tattoo and whatever your reason, here is what you need to know about tattoo removal.

Tattoo Regret Goes Way Back

Apparently the human regret of getting a tattoo dates all the way back to 543AD when Greek Physician Aetius tried to remove a tattoo using a technique called Sal abrasion—literally using course table salt to painfully scrub off your tattoo. Ouch.

What followed was a series of BAD ideas and techniques, from chemical tissue destruction (you guessed it, using acid to get rid of your tattoo) and dermabrasion (scraping off your tattoo with a wire brush) to surgical excision (basically cutting it off) and cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen!).

All of these treatments pretty much resulted in pain, blood, and some sort of scarring, so not the best way to remove a tattoo. But thankfully we’ve come a LONG way since 543AD.

Tattoo Removal Machines Are Not Made Equal

Laser technology is the go to method for tattoo removal these days, but not all laser tattoo removal machines are made equal. PicoWay is what we use at MD Beauty Clinic and the reason it’s so great is because it can remove pretty much any tattoo colours and works for any skin tone.

Laser tattoo removal machines need to be pretty intense in order to successfully remove your tattoo, but what we love about PicoWay is that although it’s intense, it actually emits less heat energy than traditional laser tattoo removal machines, making it a lot safer and ultimately more effective.

PicoWay is a really sophisticated and expensive technology that has revolutionized the way that tattoos are removed, but those who use it need to know exactly what they’re doing, which is why you won’t find it at just any clinic that removes tattoos.

Here’s the thing, and we can’t stress this enough: the reason you need to go somewhere where they know exactly what they’re doing is because tattoo removal is a long journey and you don’t want to risk a greyish stain where your tattoo used to be (believe us, it’s happened) at the end of it. You want your tattoo to be completely gone. Beyond that, scarring can be a concern with bad technology and technique.

PicoWay is an excellent technology because it encompasses all the elements you need for a successful tattoo removal. The removal of your tattoo is dependent on its size, depth, colour, age, ink particle size (seriously!), and skin tone. PicoWay basically targets your tattoo by delivering these extremely short pulses to the ink (called picoseconds) that break down the ink particles to allow your body to naturally eliminate them.

If it sounds complicated, it’s because the science behind it is for those of us that aren’t scientists, but in the hands of our amazing medical aestheticians the treatment is actually pretty straightforward.

What to Expect During Your Treatment

Ok, so you’ve decided to go for it. What should you expect?

One of our nurses will administer local anaesthetic, which is another bonus of having your treatment with us. When you get local anaesthetic administered you do not feel any pain from the treatment. Doing it without can be QUITE painful. Each treatment itself takes no longer than 5-15 minutes. Your aesthetician will give you eye shields in order to protect your eyes. They will then calibrate the PicoWay machine to your skin tone, starting low and then moving higher if necessary.

Again, this is one of those instances where you want your aesthetician to be 100% sure of what they are doing because there is a very high risk of hyperpigmentation as a side effect when it comes to tattoo removal.

At the end of your session you’ll notice a few things. The skin where your tattoo was treated will be red and will most likely have bumpy raised spots. These will most likely be tender and itchy, but it’s not an open wound. You will, however, need to take good care of the area for the first few days following your treatment.

After care is super important especially for the immediate 24 hours following your treatment where you should keep the affected area bandaged up, keep it far away from any sun, and make sure it’s dry. So make sure to avoid getting it wet in the shower, and avoid any intense exercise to prevent sweating in the area.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

All of our clients will tell you that tattoo removal is a LONG journey, so really make sure this is something you want to do.

Yes, you can expect that your tattoo will be completely removed, but full disclosure, you need to be prepared for the fact that it might take a while, meaning several treatments that are usually spaced 8 weeks apart. Again, it really depends on so many aspects of your particular tattoo, but we can tell you now that it’s not going to disappear after one treatment or possibly even six. You need to be a bit patient. But the good news is that if you stick with it, it DOES work.

Some of you might be thinking, well if it takes so long, I might want to find a place where treatments are slightly cheaper. Sure, we totally get that logic, but keep in mind that if the clinic you go to isn’t using PicoWay technology, it will most likely take even more treatments to remove your tattoo. So you may actually save more money by going to the slightly more expensive place with the more sophisticated technology that can remove your tattoo in fewer sessions.