The importance of aftercare

Adherence to these aftercare instructions is essential to getting the best tattoo removal results possible. Laser tattoo removal requires a team effort between us and you. The better you care for your tattoo pre- and post-laser treatment, the better your results will be.

Your body’s natural healing and ink clearance processes will also work more efficiently if you maintain your general health before, during and after laser treatment. The healthier you are, the better the process will work. As much as you can, try to avoid or limit any toxins such as nicotine, alcohol or drugs throughout the process, as these substances will place additional burdens on the body’s immune system. Try to stay active and drink plenty of fluids to stimulate the lymphatic and vascular systems and assist in removing the ink from your bloodstream


What should I expect after laser treatment?


During laser treatment of your tattoo, you will notice a whitening (frosting) of the ink. Frosting indicates that the laser has shattered the ink, caused by the release of heat energy from the ink particles breaking down. This frosting is temporary, usually only lasts a few minutes, and will most likely have disappeared before you leave the clinic. The frosting is more evident in the first couple of treatments and not as apparent as your tattoo lightens.

Once the frosting has disappeared, your skin may develop some redness and feel hot. This sensation is often likened to sunburn and lasts several hours to a few days.

Swelling is also common after laser treatments, as your body reacts to the treatment by pumping blood to the area. Larger tattoos will typically experience more swelling than small tattoos.  Lower limbs and extremities don’t generally have good circulation and are more likely to swell than other body parts. It is common for swelling to follow the path of gravity and may travel down a limb in the days after treatment. Swelling is completely normal and will resolve itself with time.

Bruising is also common after laser treatment on some tattoos, particularly on areas with thinner skin, such as the inner bicep. Bruising is entirely normal and may last up to a week or two. There is nothing to be concerned about.


How should I treat the tattoo after the laser treatment?


After the treatment, an ointment and a sterile dressing will be applied to your tattoo.  After this, you should;


    • ICE!!! the area as soon as possible after treatment and repeat this several times in the ensuing 12-24 hours. The more heat you can remove from the area following treatment, the better your tattoo will feel, look and respond in the following days. You can apply covered ice packs directly over the dressing, alternating on and off at 15-minute intervals. If your tattoo is on your arm or leg, try to elevate it whilst you are icing it. The more you do this in the first 24 hours, the less swelling and discomfort you experience.


    • Remove the dressing after a maximum of a few hours. There is no need to re-apply a dressing to your tattoo after removing the original dressing. If your tattoo is on a part of your body that rubs on your clothes or shoes and is likely to get aggravated, you may apply another dressing. If you choose, apply Aloe Vera Gel under the dressing and change the dressing regularly.


    • After removing the dressing, gently clean the area with tepid water and pat it dry. Do not use soaps, body lotions, or the like on your tattoo while it is healing. Apply aloe vera gel regularly (twice daily) for at least 48 hours immediately after treatment. This will soothe the area while letting it breathe and help prevent any itchiness. Keep your aloe vera gel in the fridge to provide extra soothing.


    • Rest and elevation of your tattoo in the first 24 hours following treatment will assist in the healing process and help minimise any localised discomfort and swelling. If you experience any localised discomfort, you may take over-the-counter pain relief medications like paracetamol (as directed on the packaging). Try to avoid the use of aspirin or ibuprofen, as these can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.


    • You may experience some very light scabbing on your tattoo in the days following your treatment. These may remain for up to 2 weeks in areas of low circulation. Do not pick at the scabs. Allow them to fall off naturally.


    • You may experience some light oozing from your tattoo in the days after treatment, which is common, especially in the case of large tattoos. This oozing is the result of the swelling trying to escape.  Dab dry any oozing and cover it with a bandage to prevent infection.


    • Once the skin has fully healed and any crusting or scabbing has disappeared, we recommend regularly applying a moisturiser such as Vitamin E or Bepanthen to improve skin hydration, reduce potential itchiness and assist in the ongoing healing and soothing process.


    • An itching sensation is common during the healing process of your tattoo and is a normal part of the healing process as your body starts to get rid of the ink particles. It can also indicate dehydration. If this occurs, try not to scratch the area, apply a moisturising cream such as Vitamin E cream or Bepanthen, and drink plenty of fluids. In extreme cases, you may use a 1% Hydrocortisone ointment (such as Sigmacort) and/or oral antihistamines (such as Telfast).


    • You may apply make-up to the tattoo once any broken skin has healed.



What do I do if I get blisters after my laser treatment?


You may experience some blistering after your laser treatment. Do not be alarmed by this. This bodily reaction is a normal part of the healing process and often occurs on dark or large tattoos or areas of low circulation, such as fingers and ankles. Blisters are readily treatable and will heal perfectly with the correct aftercare.


If blisters do occur:


    • Do not puncture them. Continue to apply ice to them for up to 48 hours after treatment. This will reduce and help prevent any associated discomfort and, in some cases, enable them to subside (re-absorb) completely.


    • If the blisters pop (on their own or accidentally), apply an antibacterial ointment several times a day and cover them with a dressing or bandage. Continue this care for at least 48 hours after the blisters have burst.


If there is any crusting, scabbing or oozing from the blisters:


    • Do not pick at them or allow the skin to become scraped, as this may result in infection and scarring. Only shave the area once it has completely healed.


    • Apply an antibacterial ointment several times daily and cover it with a dressing or bandage.


    • Repeat this each day until any crusting, scabbing or oozing is gone.


It is extremely rare but possible that your tattoo may become infected following blisters. If the tattoo looks infected (i.e., you develop a temperature over 38°C or increasing pain, and/or there is honey-coloured oozing or increasing redness running away from the area), contact us immediately or visit your local doctor or medical centre.



What should I avoid after laser tattoo treatment?


    • Avoid excessive heat in the skin (baths, saunas, spas, heated yoga, etc.) for at least 48 hours after treatment. Heat exposure also relates to your work environment, where you may be exposed to hot conditions such as a commercial kitchen, bakery or similar. Try to keep your healing tattoo as protected from heat as possible to minimise the chance of blisters. It can take up to 2 days for all of the heat to dissipate from your body after laser treatment, particularly on large tattoos.


    • Avoid soaking your tattoo in baths, saunas, spas, pools, and the ocean while there is any scabbing on your tattooYou may swim or surf for short periods if you avoid sun exposure. Gently pat the tattoo dry afterwards, and adhere to any other relevant instructions within this guide.


    • You may shower on the day of your treatment, but try to avoid letting very hot or high-pressure water hit the tattoo. In the first 48 hours after treatment, re-ice your tattoo after showering and re-apply the Aloe Vera gel.


    • Avoid direct or prolonged sun exposure at all times during the healing and ongoing treatment process, particularly in the first 4 weeks after treatment. Recovering from laser treatment is akin to recovering from sunburn, so to get sunburned on existing sunburn wouldn’t be a good idea. Not only does sun exposure heighten the chance of blistering, but it also heightens the chance of developing abnormal pigmentation, such as hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. This also applies to tanning beds, spray tans, injectible tans, and any other form of artificial tanning. If you cannot avoid direct and prolonged sun exposure after treatment, wear protective clothing over your tattoo or apply an SPF50+ sunscreen at all times. The more pale your tattoo skin is at each treatment, the more effective and safe each treatment will be.


    • Avoid excessive exercise in the first 48 hours after treatment to allow the heat to escape from your body and minimise the chance of blistering and swelling. Gentle exercise is fine if you ice your tattoo again after exercise. The larger your tattoo, the more important this is.


    • Avoid injury and abrasion from clothing, shoes, etc., to your tattoo before and after treatment. The more you care for your skin throughout the removal process, the better your results will be.