Laser FAQ

The following FAQs are geared specifically to the laser tattoo removal service. We recommend also reading through our tattoo FAQ…many of the questions and answers are relevant and may be just what you’re looking for.
If there is a particular question you need answered that doesn’t appear here, feel free to email or call the studio.

What equipment do you use?
Q-Switched ND: YAG’s

How much does it cost?
Jobs are quoted per session unless negotiated otherwise with a staff member of MJ Driver Laser tattoo Removal and Lightening. The clinic’s minimum is $80 per treatment. Each job is priced according to how much needs to be lasered, location on the body, and multiple other factors. Mike and/or his clinicians will give you an exact price before commencing treatment. All consults and appointments are obligation-free.

How long does it take?
Laser sessions are very quick, most jobs taking less than 5 minutes to complete. Larger tattoos can extend to 15 or 20 minutes.

Does it hurt?
Yes, it does. Think of it as a painful reminder to choose your design and tattooer better next time.

Is there anything I can do to reduce the pain?
Numbing creams can be sourced from chemists and/or prescribed by your GP. These help to bring the level of pain down to that experienced in the original application of the tattoo. Talk to your local chemist  to find out what creams they stock and recommend.
Mike and his team also utilise a localised cooling treatment that helps to ease the discomfort level both during and after treatment.

Is there a maximum amount you can laser in one sitting?
Yes. Depending on the area of the body being treated, some tattoos are too large to be lasered in one sitting, and are best broken into several. The clinicians can walk you through and advise on the best course for each client. In these instances, pricing of the work is quoted per tattoo, even when the work is split across multiple sessions. Please note however that these circumstances are rare and most clients can have the entire piece lasered in one session.

So if i want my whole leg sleeve lasered in one go, is that possible?
It’s certainly a possibility, though ultimately will depend on two factors: the level of discomfort you can stand for extended periods of time, and the clinician’s assessment of the work to be carried out. If they believe the treatment is better managed in split sessions, they will discuss the options with you at your initial consult.

How long between each session?
We recommend 6 weeks between each treatment.

Why do I have to wait so long?
Your body will begin drawing the old ink out of the area as soon as it gets lasered and will continue to do so for anywhere up to 5 or 6 weeks and in most instances far longer. As such, experience and studies have shown it to be unnecessary and premature to re-treat an area prior to this time. The time between each session also allows the treated area to heal properly.

Do all colours come out equally well?
No. Black ink is the easiest to lighten…which is good considering it’s the hardest to cover up. Lighter colours like green, yellow, purple, pink, are more stubborn and usually require more treatments.

Does it damage the skin or cause scarring?
If treated properly, by a qualified professional, you should experience no visible scarring. Your clinician will highlight any potential issues with you if they feel there’s any cause for concern after visually inspecting the area to be treated at your initial consultation.

Is it safe? My mate told me I’d get testicular cancer from the exposure.
Our equipment and procedures comply with the strictest standards of safety and pose absolutely no such risk.

Is there any area of the body that can’t be lasered?
If you’ve had it tattooed, it can be lasered. Your clinician will tune the equipment and adjusts the procedure to suit the area being lasered, but essentially, anywhere that can be tattooed can be treated with laser removal.

Is laser removal instant?
You may see immediate results on grey wash and black shading, but most ink requires a few weeks to see the effects of the laser treatment. The vast majority of tattoos require several sessions before they are light enough for successful cover up. We can discuss the projected results and anticipated number of sessions at your initial consult, taking into account such factors as the colours in your old work, the new work to be tattooed, etc.

How many sessions does it take to lighten enough for cover up?
Each client will have different needs depending on both the tattoo being lightened and the new work that will be tattooed in its place. For instance, if you have a black tribal armband that you want covered with a realistic B&G portrait, then you will need to lighten the tattoo considerably more than if you were covering it with, say, a traditional rose or a Japanese dragon.
In most instances you could expect an absolute minimum of 2 to 3 treatments to facilitate a successful cover up.

Do I have to make an appt or can I just walk in?
We do recommend making an appointment, but are more than happy to do walk-ins. If you’re planning on coming down without an appointment however, give us a call first to make sure a clinician is working that day and at the time you plan on coming past.

I want to get a quote before coming in. Can I just email you photos of the area in question?
We will happily quote based on emailed photos, but reserve the right to re-evaluate the work at the first appointment once the tattoo in question can be properly sighted.

Do I need to be 18 or over to have laser treatment?
Any requests for laser tattoo removal by someone under the age of 18 will be evaluated for suitability based on its individual merits. We are able to perform the treatment but require that parental guidance is sought and undertaken.

Should I do anything prior to the treatment, especially on the day of the appointment?
Other than numbing the area as per the directions of your chemist if you choose to do so, we’d ask that you avoid getting sunburt. It also helps if you shave the area before you come.

How should I care for the area after my treatment?
Aftercare is reasonably basic. Keep the area clean and out of the sun, and apply Savlon ointment twice a day for the first week.

What side effects can I expect from the treatment?
Besides the immediate pain and discomfort, you may experience swelling, scabbing, blistering, and in some cases, a general feeling of lethargy.

My skin has developed quite large blisters. Is that normal?
Yes. A blister is the body’s response to injury or trauma, and is intended to protect the underlying skin tissues from any damage during the healing process. Your body will gradually absorb the fluid cocooned under the skin as the tissue repairs itself. Some people will experience blisters, while others will not.

Can I bring my child in with me when I’m being treated?
No. Due to the nature of the treatment and the equipment being used, we do not allow children into the laser studio with you. Please allow for this when you make bookings.

What about my girlfriend? I’m gonna need her to hold my hand?
We can accommodate one extra adult in the studio with you.

Isn’t it kinda weird offering laser removal in a tattoo studio?
Not at all. While we want to make it very clear that offering laser removal in no way insinuates that we consider the process of being tattooed as anything other than a permanent life-long commitment, and one that should be carefully considered before any tattoo work commences, we are very pleased to provide the service as a way of helping clients get the type of quality work they should have obtained in the first place.

I don’t live in Brisbane. Are you ever going to open up interstate?
Done, done, and done. Mike now operates MJ Laser tattoo Removal services from multiple locations. Westside Tattoo (Brisbane), Chapel Tattoo (Melbourne), Hunter & Fox Tattoo (Sydney), WA Ink (Perth) plus a stand alone clinic on the Gold Coast.

Is there such a thing as a tattoo you’d refuse to laser?
Hasn’t happened yet, but I don’t think Mike and his team would be able to bring themselves to laser an original Sailor Jerry, Amund Dietzel, Bert Grimm, Horiyoshi III or the like…you get the idea.

Is it easier to remove an older or newer tattoo?
In most cases, older is easier. Of course sometimes a new tattoo (generally the cheap, “my mate got a tattoo machine on ebay” piece) has been applied so poorly it makes very little difference. Please understand though that laser removal treatment on fresh/new tattoos often shows little results. You may need to sit with your freshly acquired work of genius for a period of time before it’s going anywhere.

What about a tattoo that was done by a ‘backyarder’…mine looks like it’s barely in the skin?
Regardless of whether a tattoo was applied by a mate in your outdoor toilet while you were both blind drunk, or a tattooer in a professional studio, the skill with which it is tattooed will certainly play a part in how easy it is to remove. Poorly applied tattoos will not hold in your skin in the same manner as one applied by a skilled, talented tattooer.

If I get my tattoo lasered, can I cover it with anything I want?
With considered treatment by a qualified technician, a lasered tattoo can be covered up with pretty much any design and style you desire. Of course, some new pieces such as B&G portrait work, will require close to blank skin, which may mean near complete removal and as such, a real dedication and commitment (mentally, physically and financially) to see the procedure through to its conclusion. In some instances, you may want to consider putting the new piece in another location on the body.

Why bother with laser…can’t you just cover up my old crap with another tattoo without lightening it first?
Straight cover up without lasering is certainly an option that can be considered and should be discussed with the tattooer who will be doing the new work. A rule of thumb is that the new work would need to be 3 times the size of the old, and in darker/bolder colours in order to hide the old work. This style of cover up can provide great results, but often means the design of the new piece is compromised due to the need to adjust/tailor the drawing to the existing lines, colours and shading of the old. Your chosen tattooer will be the best person to advise you on this. Some are happy to do this type of cover up, while others now insist on lasering in order to maintain the integrity of the new piece.

Do I have to laser my entire tattoo, or can I select certain areas?
Totally depends on the new piece that will cover it. Your tattooer will guide you in what needs to be lasered and when different areas of the old work are ready to be covered.

How long after my last laser session before I can be tattooed?
We recommend waiting at least 3 months. The longer the better.

What the…? By the time I’ve had 3 or 4 sessions, and then waited 3 months, it’s going to be 6 months before I get tattooed!!
Yep, in some cases, much longer. Undertaking laser treatment is a long term commitment that will ultimately result in you getting an amazing piece of art on your body (we hope) in place of the bog you have there now. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a very short period of time. Please be aware that it is NOT a quick fix, an easy out, nor a reason to take the decision to be tattooed lightly.

4 thoughts on “Laser FAQ

  1. Daniel

    Hi Westside Tattoo,

    I was wondering when Mike was in next or available for an initial consultation for laser treatment?



    1. westsidetattoo Post author

      Hi Dan. Mike’s laser clinic has sessions available most days of the week (although the next 2 weeks are slightly different as he’s transitioning clinicians between states). To book, you can simply email him at and he’ll be able to give you all availability. Cheers


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