How are Lasers used to remove Tattoos?

Lasers are used to transmit light which creates heat within the skin. The beam is specific to the color of the ink and so precise it heats the pigment just enough to fragment the ink into smaller crystallized molecules. Once this occurs, these smaller particles of ink are then removed by the body’s immune system over a period of weeks.

Is Laser Tattoo Removal painful?

Removal of a tattoo is slightly more painful than actually getting a tattoo. Most patients describe what feels like a rubber band snapping on the skin. The discomfort is momentary, and only lasts as long as the actual delivery of the beam. The sensation usually subsides within 2 minutes. The discomfort is short, and the rewards are big. A tattoo that took one hour for you to get may only take 10 minutes per removal treatment at Shrinking Ink.

Is Laser Tattoo Removal safe?

Yes! Laser treatment is a safe and approved method for tattoo removal. Research studies in Glasgow have determined there are no biological risks associated with Laser Tattoo Removal using Q-switched lasers. Tattoo removal lasers are non-ionizing devices.

Is Laser Tattoo Removal appropriate for everyone?

No. Patients with certain medical conditions are not candidates for Laser Tattoo Removal. Specific medications can affect the sensitivity of a patient's skin, and certain illnesses can interfere with the healing process. Lifestyle habits also play a role in determining if Laser Tattoo Removal is an ideal option for a client. During your free consultation we will discuss your concerns confidentially and determine if you are a good candidate for our services.

Can Laser Tattoo Removal really remove the whole tattoo or will I still see parts of it?

Laser Tattoo Removal has become the Gold Standard method for removing tattoo. It would not be as popular as it is if the technology didn't work. Tattoos that are resistant to the removal process do exist. There are hundreds of inks on the market, and even proprietary blends. It is not always possible to know what was used to create the richness of colour in some of these blends. High Quality machines capable of multiple settings and wavelengths is the first essential step towards achieving desirable results. Maintaining proper calibration of this equipment is also important. Timing of treatments, and overall proficiency are also factors. So Yes, the technology designed to remove tattoos has proven to be successful (worldwide) at being capable of fully removing tattoos.



Is Laser Tattoo Removal done the same way for everyone?

No. At every visit, the condition of the skin is reassessed in order to continually adjust the treatment protocol. Laser Tattoo Removal is not performed the same way for each patient. Treatment is specialized for every individual, and adjusted at every visit based on the results achieved in previous weeks. Performing the same protocol for everyone regardless of skin type and individual circumstances is unsafe, and would yield unsatisfactory results.

What should I expect after Laser Tattoo Removal?

The use of any laser requires knowledge of proper clinical endpoints. This essentially means knowing what changes to look for while delivering treatment. It is all part of the educated process. The ink from a tattoo is concentrated in the dermis of the skin. The laser beam passes through the epidermis and targets the ink molecules in the dermal layer below. It Is not the laser that is really removing the Ink. It is your body that is processing the ink, and slowly removing it. The laser is simply a tool to assist your body. Tattoo Removal is different for each person. Our aim is to accomplish this in a bloodless safe manner; and without adverse effects. Adverse effects can happen, but bleeding and blisters should not be the primary goal of treatment for tattoo removal. After treatments, sunburn type discomfort is what you may notice. Other symptoms like swelling, itching and redness can occur. This may be more pronounced depending on Ink type, location, and numerous other factors. However the vast majority of cases don’t experience unusual or adverse reactions.

How many Laser Tattoo Removal treatments will I need?

There are many factors that determine how many treatments a patient will need. The location of the tattoo, how it was applied, what colour inks were used, the patient’s skin type, their medical history, how compliant the patient is following treatment etc. At your initial free consultation we provide an estimate of how many treatments we think would yield acceptable results. Most tattoos are treated in 5 to 15 treatments. Some can even yield acceptable results in less time. At Shrinking Ink we only charge for the treatments you actually receive.


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Can I have Laser Tattoo Removal on any body part?

Yes at Shrinking Ink we offer discrete and confidential services in a private, professional setting. You may have someone accompany you during treatment in cases involving tattoos of a sensitive nature. We provide one-on-one care, in a low-traffic establishment - ensuring the highest level of discrete service.


I have noticed no difference in the test spot. Is this normal ?

Yes. The average number of treatments required to remove a tattoo yields a timeline of at least a year to a year and a half worth of treatments. It would be unreasonable to expect significant fading after only the spot test. Yes, it happens and fairly often; but it should never be a general expectation. It is really important to understand this to avoid unnecessary disillusionment. The changes are often so gradual they are hard to discern on a day by day basis. The best approach is to ignore the area and try to avoid becoming fixated on looking for changes. This can be challenging especially for clients who may be prone to anxiety.  

Will Laser Tattoo Removal leave a scar or ruin my skin?

Laser treatment is directed towards the dermal layer of the skin. Clients who had heavy handed tattoo work done, or already had scarring of the tissue may notice these irregularities more once the tattoo ink is removed. Ideally laser tattoo removal should not scar the skin. Changes to the skin following treatments are typically transient, and resolve without permanent effect. The risk of scarring with Laser Tattoo Removal is only 3-5%. It is a safe, and effective procedure and is considered the gold standard versus other methods of tattoo removal. In certain circumstances (ex. heavy smokers, sensitive skin, allergic reactions to the ink, or other considerations) the healing process may be delayed. When this happens the risk of scarring or infection increases but this is not typical. A relationship of trust is essential to this process. A skilled provider is able to adjust for unexpected reactions, and make careful decisions to guide the process towards a desirable outcome. Knowing how to use a laser is only one part of the process. Having an understanding of how to manage complications is another important part of reducing the risk of unwanted permanent skin changes.

How soon after getting a tattoo can I have Laser Tattoo Removal?

Sometimes after getting a tattoo a person realizes they don't want to keep it. The natural skin cycle has an estimated renewal average of 35 to 56 days. When you get a tattoo, the needles are essentially creating multiple puncture wounds in order to deposit the ink into the skin. As soon as the ink is deposited; your body begins the process of trying to remove it (since it is recognized as a foreign particle.) Due to the size of the ink molecules, removal is not possible. As a result the ink ultimately settles into the dermis. It takes 2 - 3 months for the ink to stabilize in the skin. To avoid unwanted effects, we recommend waiting at least eight weeks after you've had a tattoo before starting laser removal treatments.

Can I have Laser Tattoo Removal in the summer?

Deciding when to have laser tattoo removal is another question that comes up often. Yes you can have Laser tattoo removal during the summer months. The difference between doing it in the summer versus colder months is you will need to avoid intentionally tanning the area that is being treated. This means you will have to cover the area or wear sunscreen particularly around your scheduled appointments. Most people who have tattoos are already in the habit of protecting their ink with sunscreen; so it requires the same diligence but for a different reason.

Why shouldn't I sunbathe or tan while having Laser Tattoo Removal?

Laser tattoo removal treatment is based on Optical Physics and the dispersion of light. The simplest explanation is when you sunbathe or develop a sunburn, ultraviolet radiation triggers the body to attempt to protect the skin by either releasing melanin or producing more melanin. This causes the skin to darken even further and is triggered in part by damage to the DNA of the skin. When a fair skinned person becomes deeply tanned or brown, it becomes a concern since treatment is highly colour specific. It also increases the risk of adverse effects because the integrity of the skin is compromised.

What is a Laser Tattoo Removal Spot Test?

At Shrinking Ink we offer a complimentary tattoo removal spot test for new clients. A spot test is when we select a specific area of the unwanted tattoo and use the laser (at pre-determined settings) to test your body's reaction to treatment. This is done prior to having a full treatment. It is usually part of a precautionary process on skin types prone to adverse effects; but it is a useful part of our overall protocol for all of our clients. It is a safety measure that helps rule out potential unexpected reactions. A spot test also helps to highlight any additional care that may be required and establishes rapport with new clients.

How soon after getting Laser Tattoo Removal can I have a Cover-up?

Following laser tattoo removal or elective editing of an existing tattoo, It is important to allow the skin to go through its natural course of healing. Having a cover-up before the skin has properly healed may result in scarring of the dermis. An analogy we sometimes use is the process of curing concrete. A new foundation has to set and mature/harden before being used. If you force the process you end up damaging the foundation and making it difficult to build upon. To avoid unwanted effects, we recommend waiting at least eight weeks after you've had laser removal treatments before getting a new tattoo in the same spot. This timing can also change depending on the area that was tattooed. Areas known to scar, have reactions or are slow to heal, may warrant more prudence. Most clients achieve great results with their cover-ups by giving the skin multiple weeks to recover.

Do you offer gift certificates for Laser Tattoo Removal?

Yes! We offer gift certificates, and packages of three treatments. We also have a great referral program. Our clients receive discounts simply by sharing our business with friends and family who also become clients. You can purchase a gift certificate online at your convenience.

What is the average cost of removing a tattoo?

Procedures using dermabrasion and topical treatments may cost less, but are no longer considered the treatment of choice. The laser equipment now considered industry standard for exceptional results is state of the art technology. These devices generally cost six figures and some can go up to as much as three hundred thousand dollars. This ultimately dictates an industry average per treatment. At Shrinking Ink we are committed to working with our clients to make it an affordable process for them while still meeting the needs of a sustainable business. Our prices start at $100 every six to eight weeks and go up based on the amount of ink to be removed. This makes it ideal for our clients to budget for their treatments.

Do you accept walk-ins for Laser Tattoo Removal?

Shrinking Ink does not accept walk-ins for laser tattoo removal, but we do provide free consultations and spot testing. We can often accommodate drop-ins if we have a few hours heads up. The first step is to use our online form to email us about an initial consultation. We will do our best to accommodate you. To book a regular scheduled appointment, click the appointment link scroll down and select the consultation option.

What is a consultation for Laser Tattoo Removal?

During your consultation we will discuss your overall health, treatment goals, expectations, and other pertinent information. If you would like to proceed we then conduct a spot test and have you return for follow-up. At the follow-up visit we review the condition of your skin, and its response to the spot test. If laser tattoo removal is determined to be a safe option for you; we can then begin the actual treatment process. At Shrinking Ink we insist on safety first , and follow reasonable protocols to encourage predictable results.

What determines the overall cost of Laser Tattoo Removal?

Each person’s skin type, tattoo, immune system, and lifestyle habits differ. These all play a role in how many treatments are required to achieve desirable results. Shrinking Ink uses industry standards when pricing our treatments. An average size tattoo is said to be approximately 4” x 4”. Most Tattoo artists charge per hour when putting tattoos on their clients. This ranges from $50 to $300 per hour and varies from region to region. Laser tattoo removal is priced on size, colours, skin type, and other personal factors. It may also be dependent on the technology used to achieve the results, and the level of training of the person delivering the treatment.

Why do some tattoos take longer to remove?

The amount of treatments required greatly depend on the location of the tattoo and the person’s response to the treatment. The locations that tend to fade the easiest (in decreasing order) are:

  • 1) head/neck/face,
  • 2) upper trunk & shoulders
  • 3) lower trunk & upper legs,
  • 4) lower arms & legs, &
  • 5) wrists/hands/ankles/feet.

This is due to the amount of blood flow in those areas. Treatment times can also be extended if the person’s skin shows irritation or textural changes. Extending time between treatments decreases the chances of undesirable outcomes in these types of clients. It is very important to have realistic expectations. Although results are often visible after one treatment, it is important to also know that in some cases significant results may not be visible until after three treatments. It varies greatly from person to person. Most important the body needs time to do what it is designed to do. Patience and trust is required. At Shrinking Ink we make a conscientious attempt to achieve timely tattoo removal results without additional risk to the client.

Do some Tattoos darken after cosmetic Laser Removal Treatment?

Yes, cosmetic tattoos that contain Titanium Dioxide can darken noticeably immediately after treatment. In general darkening or lightening of the skin is a potential side effect. These changes can be addressed by additional treatments, or by allowing the body to do it naturally. Hyper/Hypo pigmentation usually resolves as the body regenerates the tissues. It may take 6 to 12 months, and is more likely to occur on darker skin.

What if Laser Tattoo Removal doesn’t work?

It is impossible to guarantee that any tattoo can be completely removed. In some cases a client may have a faint shadow of the tattoo that is barely visible under certain lighting. In most cases it is possible to remove a tattoo without any evidence that the tattoo was previously there. At Shrinking Ink we guarantee we will do our very best to reduce as much ink as possible in the skin. Our protocols have been perfected to avoid the need to go outside of standard procedures in an attempt to achieve the unachievable. In the event one of our clients is unhappy with their results we will do our best to help with pricing for difficult tattoos.


What if I can’t afford to pay for Laser Tattoo Removal?

Contact us to discuss your situation and we will be happy to work with you to discuss your options. Laser appointments are always scheduled many weeks apart, this allows clients to effectively budget for their appointments. We are also committed to helping our clients by offering easy payment options. If what we offer is important to you, contact us today. We will work with you to make it happen. As a forward thinking technology based company we are happy to offer flexible payment options including credit card, debit, Interac, btc, and payment plans.

I’m coming from another area and want to make a day of it. Are there interesting things to do in the area?

Absolutely! We’d be happy to give you suggestions of fun things to do, and places to go before coming in for your appointment. Our town is recognized as the recreation capital of Canada. There's a lot to experience here. Make a day of it and schedule an appointment after a day of biking, hiking, kite-boarding, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, geo-caching or any of the numerous other things to do.


What if I have a question you haven’t answered here?

We’d love to know. Due to the nature of our work and to maintain confidentiality; we do not accept walk-ins or phone calls during appointments. It is unsafe to both us and the clients. Please fill out the contact form on this site and we’ll be sure to give you a callback as soon as we are finished seeing clients. We look forward to talking to you and answering your questions!