Tattoos are meant to be permanent. But thanks to advancing technology, you can remove a tattoo you regret or no longer want.
The trick is just finding the right laser tattoo removal clinic. As you consult with several clinics, make sure you are asking the right questions to work with the best professionals around.
Here are 10 question topics to cover in those initial consultations.
1. Experience and Credentials
Tattoo removal is safe. But, like with any procedure, tattoo removal can present potential risks like skin infections, discoloration, or scarring. That’s why it’s critical to ensure that your tattoo removal clinic of choice is certified and has plenty of experience.
How long has the clinic been operating?
Tattoo removal is a delicate process that requires many years of experience. Instead of going to a friend’s newly opened clinic, look for a place that has been operating for several years. And even then, ask for before and after pictures that show the level of expertise provided.
Are the practitioners certified and experienced in laser tattoo removal?
Ideally, any certifications, credentials, and licensure should be clearly displayed in the clinic—just like how doctors hang their degrees in their offices. It’s a way to ensure clients that they are, in fact, certified and capable of offering excellent services.
If the practitioner doesn’t display their certifications in their clinic or on their website, ask about them. The specialist may still be certified but just not display their qualifications. However, if they can’t prove any licenses or certifications, consider looking for another tattoo removal clinic.
Any specialized training or qualifications?
When asking about laser tattoo removal, also ask about any specialized qualifications. For example, check what type of certification they have. The basic level is a Certified Laser Specialist (CLS), which proves in-depth experience and training in laser tattoo removal.
From there, professionals can get advanced training as a Laser Safety Officer (LSO) or pursue an Advanced Laser Tattoo Removal certification.
2. Technology and Equipment
Laser tattoo removal is a complex procedure. Before diving into something like this, ensure the clinic has top-of-the-line technology and equipment.
What type of laser technology does the clinic use?
There are several different laser tattoo removal technologies, each with advantages and drawbacks. Two of the most common are Q-switched lasers and PicoSure. Ask the practitioner what technology they use and why it may or may not be more effective for the tattoo that will be removed.
Is the equipment up-to-date and FDA-approved?
A tattoo removal clinic shouldn’t operate without FDA-approved equipment. Even if everything looks legitimate, ask whether the machines are FDA-approved and inquire about the last time they updated the equipment.
Can the clinic provide information on the safety and effectiveness of their laser devices and treatments?
Anyone can say their procedures and equipment are safe. Make sure the tattoo removal clinic can back up its claims by asking to see safety information and documentation. Potential clients should also ask for proof of treatment effectiveness across the clientele base.
3. Treatment Process
Before committing to a months-long tattoo removal process, ensure the treatment seems fair and reasonable. Potential clients should also ask the following questions to prepare for the upcoming procedure.
How many sessions are typically required for complete tattoo removal?
This question can help determine the clinic’s legitimacy and set realistic expectations for the client. Keep in mind that the tattoo removal process usually takes time, so anyone who says it only requires one or two sessions is either inexperienced or running a scam.
Of course, the number of sessions depends on the size and color of the tattoo, but expect at least five sessions for smaller tattoos and 10 or more appointments for larger ones.
Are there any potential risks or side effects associated with the treatment?
Know that there are always potential risks to any procedure. A credible tattoo removal specialist will be completely transparent in their response and readily address how they adapt their treatments to the unique skin type and tattoo needs of each patient.
4. Before and Aftercare
Like the questions about the treatment process, asking about the before and aftercare can help patients prepare for the tattoo removal process and determine how professional the clinic is.
What precautions should be taken before the treatment?
Depending on the type of laser removal treatment and equipment the clinic uses, they may have specific pre-procedure precautions. These typically include things like avoiding sunlight, refraining from certain skin care procedures, and smoking cessation.
Since people usually go through several sessions, ask how many days before each session you should stop waxing or smoking.
What post-treatment care is recommended for optimal results?
Post-treatment care for laser tattoo removal often varies with the removal type, so potential clients should ask about how to care for the area. Typical care includes getting sufficient rest and avoiding picking at scabs.
Are there any restrictions on activities or exposure to sunlight after the procedure?
The answer to this question will likely be yes, especially if the tattoo is in an area that’s regularly exposed to sunlight. Potential clients with a very active lifestyle or job should ask about any physical limitations to ensure quick healing.
5. Pricing and Packages
Pricing might be one of the biggest factors when choosing a tattoo removal clinic. Lower costs are always more appealing, but watch out for unreasonably low prices. Quality laser tattoo removal is a cost-worthy investment.
What is the cost of each session or treatment package?
This essential question can help potential clients prepare financially for the laser tattoo removal process. Ask several clinics about their pricing options to make a well-informed decision. This may require several initial consultations so each clinic can see the tattoo, assess the candidate, and estimate the cost of removing it.
Do they offer any financing or payment options?
Laser tattoo removal sessions usually occur weeks or months apart, so patients who pay per session are technically financing the entire procedure. However, if that cost is still a bit high, ask about payment plan options—especially if the clinic uses treatment packages.
6. Patient Testimonials and Reviews
This goes back to the point about proving a practitioner’s qualifications. Certifications and licensure—while necessary—only show training. Testimonials and reviews say much more about a tattoo removal clinic, especially when they come from third-party sources.
Can the clinic provide references or testimonials from previous clients?
Many clinics will have before and after pictures handy or available online. Ask to see them and evaluate the success rate across the photos. They may also have personal testimonials from previous patients that prove the clinic’s authenticity.
What is the general reputation of the clinic in the community?
Again, this question is more for other people than those working in the clinic. Ask around to see what other people think of the business and whether they consider it a legitimate, professional laser tattoo removal clinic.
7. Clinic Hygiene and Safety
Just as safety and hygiene are essential when getting a tattoo, they are critical when undergoing a tattoo removal procedure.
Are the staff members trained in infection control measures?
As mentioned above, a specific certification in laser tattoo removal safety exists. Ask the tattoo removal practitioner if they have the LSO certification or any other infection control training.
What safety protocols are in place to protect patients during the procedure?
Lasers are considered the safest way to remove tattoos. Nevertheless, clinics must still set strict safety protocols to reduce the possibility of an infection. Ask about these protocols before scheduling your first laser tattoo removal session.
8. Consultation and Evaluation
The consultation and evaluation are the first two steps in the tattoo removal process. While they may seem insignificant, they can provide much insight into whether the tattoo removal practitioner and process are the right choice for you.
Is the initial consultation complimentary?
This should be one of the first questions potential patients ask each clinic. An initial consultation is necessary to determine what laser procedure would work best with their skin and ink type and how many sessions it will take. Laser tattoo removal specialists may charge for their time and expertise. It’s important for potential patients to consider all associated fees before committing to the process.
Ideally, the initial consultation is a thorough tattoo and health evaluation to create an appropriate treatment plan and prepare the patient for what to expect.
How well does the staff communicate and address concerns?
Instead of asking this directly, observe the staff communication during the initial consultation and evaluation. Check for efficient and open communication, as that’s a sign of a professional and safe environment.
9. Laser Tattoo Removal Follow-up and Support
The tattoo removal process is quite long, and clients may need ongoing support to ensure they are healing correctly and seeing the appropriate effects.
Does the clinic provide ongoing support and guidance throughout the process?
Potential patients should ask if and how they can access support and guidance outside regular sessions. They should also learn if they can contact the clinic with questions and schedule additional appointments if they are concerned about their progress?
10. Lifestyle Considerations
Laser tattoo removal is much less complicated than most surgical procedures, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks and treatment considerations. Patients must be honest about their health and lifestyle habits and be willing to make any necessary changes to support the tattoo removal process.
As you prepare to remove a tattoo, make sure you pick the absolute best laser tattoo removal clinic to ensure your safety and an optimal outcome. Use the questions above to help select the right tattoo removal removal clinic that fits within your budget and offers excellent services.