Who is authorised to utilise a laser in Western Australia?

Laser Tattoo Removal

In Western Australia, the ownership of a laser is restricted to medical practitioners. However, following amendments to the laser regulations by The Western Australian Radiological Council in 2021, registered nurses and dermal therapists with appropriate qualifications and supplementary training are now permitted to operate a Class 4 laser, which is potent enough to eradicate a tattoo. These lasers are the sole recognised safe and effective means for tattoo removal.

We strongly advise anyone contemplating tattoo removal to inquire about their provider's credentials and the type of laser used. Non-laser techniques for tattoo elimination are not only ineffectual but also hazardous, and regrettably, the industry for non-laser tattoo removal remains unregulated.

How does the process of laser tattoo removal function?

Recent advancements in laser tattoo removal Melbourne have established it as the only productive method for tattoo removal. The laser discharges a burst of light at various wavelengths, which the tattoo ink absorbs.

The laser pulse is so rapid (for instance, PicoSure operates in trillionths of a second) that the light energy is transformed into physical energy, leading to the fragmentation of the ink particles. Over the subsequent 8-12 weeks, the body's lymphatic system expels these particles.

Why is laser the optimal choice for tattoo removal?

Laser stands out as the sole effective treatment for tattoo removal since it can eradicate tattoo ink without causing damage or scarring to the skin. In recent years, various alternative therapies such as dermabrasion, injections, and chemical treatments have emerged, with practitioners making grandiose claims about their ability to remove tattoos. These methods are largely ineffective and often result in skin inflammation and scarring to varying degrees while leaving the ink intact. We strongly recommend against considering these treatments.

Acid or chemical removal

This approach involves applying a corrosive substance to chemically burn the skin to eliminate the tattoo ink. However, this method cannot selectively target the tattoo ink; it damages healthy skin along with the ink, leading to severe scarring that may still retain ink within the skin. Such scarring is typically permanent, and its appearance is usually far more noticeable and unsightly than the original tattoo. Chemical burns and scars resembling cigarette burns are among the most frequent complications we observe following these procedures. Regrettably, while we can improve their appearance, we cannot eradicate these scars entirely.


The injection of saline or other substances into the skin is promoted as an effective means of removing tattoo ink. Nevertheless, these injections have minimal impact on the tattoo ink, and their best-case scenario is ineffectiveness, while the worst-case scenario involves irreversible scarring.

Dermabrasion and surgery

Dermabrasion can only eliminate tattoo ink if sufficient layers of skin are removed to reach the ink within. This would necessitate the removal of skin down to the deeper layers (dermis), resulting in permanent scarring. Since dermabrasion cannot selectively target tattoo ink, we do not recommend it. Similarly, any surgical procedure to remove tattoos requires the removal of enough skin, which will either leave scars or necessitate a skin graft.

Are all tattoo removal lasers identical?

Consumers must understand that there is a significant disparity in the efficacy of lasers available on the market. Only the most potent and sophisticated Class 3B and Class 4 lasers, manufactured in North America and Europe, are permitted to be sold to registered medical practitioners in Western Australia.

The exorbitant cost of these machines (several hundreds of thousands of dollars) is attributed to the extensive research and development, clinical trials, and patented technology invested in them.

Non-medical practitioners can acquire inexpensive, low-level lasers predominantly from China and Korea. These lasers are not sufficiently powerful to treat tattoos effectively and safely, and they usually lack any clinical trials or safety evaluations.

Regrettably, the marketing strategies employed by these companies and practitioners often promise remarkable results but fail to deliver. We strongly advise patients to inquire about the qualifications and training of their practitioners, as well as the brand of their lasers.

Can all tattoo colours be treated?

Since its introduction, the PicoSure laser has set the gold standard in tattoo removal due to its ability to safely and effectively treat all colours.

While other lasers struggle to remove greens and blues, the Picosure achieves complete clearance of all colours. This is accomplished through its patented Picosecond 755nm wavelength technology for treating blacks, blues, and greens and its 532nm wavelength for treating all other colours.

Ink and its levels in the skin

Different coloured inks tend to settle at various depths within the skin. Black ink settles the deepest, blues and greens settle mid-skin, and reds/oranges settle at the skin's surface. To effectively target different ink colours, a laser must have varying wavelengths to properly address each colour and its depth within the skin.

Laser physics and tattoo removal

The two critical factors in discussing tattoo removal lasers are the colours of ink treated by the different laser wavelengths and the depth in the skin that the different wavelengths penetrate. As mentioned earlier, the 755nm and 532nm handpieces on the Picosure effectively target all tattoo colours; the 755nm is best for targeting blacks, blues, and greens, while the 532nm targets reds and yellows.

How many treatments are required to remove a tattoo?

Every tattoo is unique, and the number of sessions required depends on the tattoo's age, depth, ink density, type of ink, location on the body, and whether it was professionally done or by an amateur. With older nanosecond Q-switch lasers, tattoos would have needed 12-20 sessions, but with the PicoSure, the number of treatments needed is approximately halved, requiring 6-10 treatments (this is an average; each tattoo will vary). The Kirby-Desai scale is a tool that factors in skin type, tattoo location, ink colour, ink amount, scar tissue, and layering to estimate how many sessions it will take to remove a tattoo.

Does laser tattoo removal hurt?

Laser Tattoo Removal Melbourne feels like a “rubber band hitting the skin” and can be uncomfortable. We recommend topical local anaesthetic cream for all tattoos except the smallest ones. We also use a Zimmer, a special machine that cools your skin to increase comfort levels. The treatment is fast, and the pain does not last.

What can I expect to happen to my tattoo after treatment?

Immediately after your treatment, your tattoo will feel swollen and warm, like sunburn. We will apply a soothing cream and a dressing before you leave the clinic. Over the next few days, you may develop blisters and scabs, a normal part of the process and nothing to be worried about; they normally last up to a week. With each session, your after-effects may vary.

How should I care for my tattoo following laser treatment?

We advise applying a healing ointment, such as Bepanthen or Stratamed, to your tattoo and covering it with a dressing up to a week post-treatment. Continue this until any blisters or scabs have fully healed. This aids in the tattoo's healing process. Do not pick at scabs, as this could lead to scarring. Once blisters or scabs have healed, protect the tattoo from sun exposure or apply SPF50 cream when outdoors.

Laser Tattoo Removal Melbourne

How frequently can I undergo treatments?

Following your laser treatment, it takes 8-12 weeks for your body to eliminate the shattered ink particles via the lymphatic system. Additionally, your tattoo requires 4-6 weeks to heal at a microscopic level, even if it appears fully healed to the naked eye.

Thus, we recommend a minimum interval of 4 weeks between treatments. Undergoing treatments more frequently offer no benefits and will not accelerate removal.

Is it possible to remove only a portion of my tattoo?

Certainly. The laser beam is highly precise, allowing us to accurately remove specific parts of the tattoo. This is often requested by individuals who believe a segment of their tattoo was executed poorly or to an inferior standard, if there is an error, or if they wish to have a partial cover-up tattoo.

Can my tattoo be faded sufficiently for a cover-up tattoo?

Indeed, we frequently perform this for clients desiring a cover-up. The required treatment sessions vary from person to person, but typically 3-6 sessions are sufficient to fade a tattoo in preparation for a cover-up. Utilizing the Picosure for this purpose also ensures that your skin is in optimal condition for receiving another tattoo.