Laser Tattoo Removal

SpaMedica Toronto has been performing tattoo removals in Toronto for the past twenty years, making us one of the most experienced laser tattoo removal clinics in Canada.

We also offer the most comprehensive range of laser tattoo removal devices available. We offer the following laser tattoo removal devices; PicoSure, PicoWay, Revlite, Affinity and Accolade. So no matter what colour the tattoo is, we have the right laser and laser wavelength to permanently remove any tattoo.

Do You Have Tattoo Regrets? Is your tattoo fading? Does your tattoo no longer have the same meaning to you? Need your ex’s name gone? There are just some of the reasons for getting tattoo removal treatment. Whatever your reason for your tattoo removal, if you want laser tattoo removal treatment in Toronto, then the experts at SpaMedica are here to assist you.

Procedure Details

What is laser tattoo removal?

Tattoos are created by a pigment being inserted into the under carpet of the skin called the dermis.  The pigments used to create tattoos come in a variety of colours and formulations.  The modern versions of tattoos often come in multiple colours in addition to black, dark green.  It is very common for laser tattoo removal Toronto patients to present with yellow, red, bright blue, orange and purple.  With tattoos being so common in the modern era, it is inevitable that laser tattoo removal would have increased proportionately.

It is estimated in North America that over 50% of all women between the ages of 18 and 45 have a tattoo and 45% of all men in the same age group. Tattoos are generally for life but the emotions and motivation that resulted in the tattoo may not.  Thus, eventually there is between a 25% and 35% regret factor with the tattoo that was created.

SpaMedica Toronto is one of the most experienced multiple-wavelength laser tattoo removal centre in Canada. At SpaMedica, laser tattoo removal has been an innovative and important part of laser cosmetic dermatology and laser med spa since Dr. Mulholland, a Toronto Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon, established the clinic in 1997. SpaMedica’s approach has been to acquire the most efficacious lasers in the medical space.  This optimizes the efficacy, the degree of permanent reduction and to minimize the side effects on the skin.  Most Tattoo removal centers offer one laser and 1-2 wavelengths of light. It is common for patients to plateau with their laser tattoo removal treatment. Even after 12-16 treatments at these clinics with a limited number of lasers, patient’s tattoos become recalcitrant or resistant. Therefore, new lasers and wavelengths need to be deployed. At SpaMedica, we have assembled six of the most efficacious lasers ever made, as well as every wavelength of laser light used to remove tattoos. This will ensure you achieve the optimal laser tattoo removal outcome in the fewest number of treatments and affordably. SpaMedica’s approach is to treat the tattoo with a number of the most effective lasers to achieve on average 90% + tattoo removal in as few as four treatments.

How does laser tattoo removal work?

After a thorough history and physical examination with one of SpaMedica’s laser physician specialists, a multiple-visit treatment program is outlined.  With SpaMedica’s latest generation of laser tattoo devices, such as Picosure™ and Revlite™, the average number of treatments for the average tattoo is 4 treatments for over 90% clearance. Depending on the size and number of colours in the tattoo will often determine the ultimate number of laser treatments required.  A laser is then selected to initiate the treatment along with the appropriate settings for the laser and the tattoo undergoes treatment.

How does a Laser remove the tattoo ink?

The specific energy from the light beam is directed at the skin where the laser pigment resides.  Depending on the type of laser, the light energy interacts specifically with the tattoo particle to injure and remove it. The injury to the tattoo in particles can be thermal (longer pulsed lasers) or more photoacoustic (non-thermal), like the new Ultrashort pulse duration lasers.  Unlike some lasers that rely on heat, the more high tech and modern tattoo lasers, such as the Picosure™ and Revlite™ have a much, much shorter pulse duration. They also rely less on a heat injury and more of a mechanical acoustic shattering of the pigment. With photomechanical acoustic injury, generally the ultra, ultra-short wavelengths create a shockwave in the skin, in around the ink particles, and shatter the particles.  The shattered particles then or the tattoo then flake off from the surface of the skin and the deeper ones are consumed naturally by the body’s elimination and immune system. These ultrashort pulse duration photoacoustic lasers, are much more efficient, are able to shatter the ink particles into very tiny sand like grains of sand which are easy for the body to digest and hence the tattoo is removed quicker. In addition to removing the tattoo in as little as 4 treatments, the PicoSure™ and Revlite™ lasers, with their photoacoustic rather than predominant photothermal effect have a much lower risk of “ghosting”  the surrounding skin. Ghosting is a white color where the tattoo used to be that is lighter than the surrounding skin due to the thermal damage to the actual pigment cells in the skin (melanocytes) during the treatment.

In general, older tattoo removal lasers require takes multiple sessions; often in the order of eight to 12 sessions, which, even at affordable prices per session, can end up being expensive. However, Dr. Mulholland has assembled a multiple laser approach, using the Revlite™, Picosure™Accolade™Affinity™ and even  fractional CO2 at the very end. The number of laser sessions can be reduced to 4-6 with over 90%+ clearance on average. Each session may take between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the laser.  Most of the procedures are performed under topical anesthesia and an air chilling device, although some patients may prefer local anesthesia.

A. Microscopic image of the ink particles inside a tattoo. These particles must be broken up by a tattoo laser.  B. Standard, weaker, less effective tattoo lasers break up the ink particles using heat and the ink particles are broken up into “pebbles” which are larger and harder to remove by the body, hence more treatments and eventually residual pigment remaining. C. The modern SpaMedica lasers using gated nanosecond pulses and multiple wavelengths, like the Revlite™ or actual picosecond pulses (1 trillionth of a second) like the PicoSure™ to break the tattoo ink particle in “fine grains of sand”, which are smaller than the “pebbles” of longer pulse duration lasers and easier to remove quickly by the body’s natural systems. This results in near total clearance in fewer treatments.

Lasers for Tattoo Removal

At SpaMedica, Dr Mulholland has assembled the finest laser tattoo removal machines that are available in medicine. It is common for SpaMedica Toronto Laser Tattoo removal patients to receive treatments on 2-3 of SpaMedica’s tattoo removal lasers. The use of multiple lasers and wavelengths by the SpaMedica tattoo removal team, means fewer treatments, less ghosting and better clearance.

With this array of lasers, patients in Toronto can be rest assured that at SpaMedica, they will get the best possible permanent reduction with the least possible side effects.

The following is a list of SpaMedica Laser Tattoo machines, pulse duration of those lasers and the tattoo color they work on:

  • PicoSure™ 755nm: Picosecond pulse duration and works on all colors including Black, Green, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Orange, Red, Yellow and white tattoo ink. It is the newest and most popular of the laser tattoo removal devices.  What makes the PicoSure® so special is its extremely ultra-short pulse duration.  Most current Q-switched or ultra-short pulse duration lasers are measured in nanoseconds, which is a Billionth of a second.  The PicoSure laser is measured in picoseconds (Trillionth of a second).  It’s extremely short pulse duration means that the PicoSure® can remove any colour of tattoo pigment on any skin type. It takes half the number of treatments that would normally be required compared to nanosecond lasers. In addition, because it is the most pure acoustic, photomechanical laser tattoo device ever created. It is less likely to have a thermal effect and more likely to have a mechanical effect.  The thermal side effects of laser tattoo removal include loss of pigmentation in the skin where the tattoo resided and/or textural changes or scarring.  The absence of any significant thermal effect and the pure reliance on photomechanical or acoustic shattering of the pigment makes the PicoSure® the safest, most effective and efficient tattoo removal device on the market.


  • The RevLite™1064nm, 650nm, 585nm and 532nm: The RevLite laser is the world’s best gated, pulse sequenced nanosecond pulsed laser tattoo removal machine.  What makes the RevLite® so special are the multiple wavelengths of light that come with the system.  The RevLite® includes the nanosecond, gated pulse sequenced 1064 wavelength for dark black and dark green inks; the 532 nanometer, nanosecond pulsed wavelength for reds, yellows and oranges; the 585 nanometer, nanosecond, gated wavelength for purples, blues and the 650 nanometer, gated, nanosecond wavelength for light greens. The Revlite®, up until early 2014, had always been the first and foremost lead laser technology used on tattoos until the PicoSure laser.  However, laser tattoo removal  patients in Toronto may still benefit, on occasion, from a using RevLite® when PicoSure®, in those rare instances, fails to remove the targeted pigment. Most commonly the red tattoo ink dyes.
  • The Affinity™ 1064nm and 532nm gated: Nanosecond pulse duration and works on Black, Green, Red, Orange and Yellow tattoo ink. he Affinity™, also manufactured by Cynosure, with a nanosecond, gated pulse, 1064 nanometer, 532 nanometer wavelength
  • The Accolade™ 755nm gated: Nanosecond pulse duration and works on Black and Green tattoo ink. The Accolade is a nanosecond Q-switched Alexandrite 755 nanometer laser.
  • Fractional CO2: A fractional ablation laser that is useful on multiply treated tattoos where some stubborn, residual ink is present, but faded and can’t be lifted off. This fractional ablation laser used by Dr. Mulholland for wrinkle and acne scar reduction can also be used successful of partially faded tattoo removal
  • Fractional Radio frequency (RF) ablation: Like Fractional CO2, the Fractional RF ablative device can be used to fade already treated tattoos which have become lightened.  The advantage of the Fractional RF system, also called the Fractora, is that the top part of the needles can be silicone coated to the epidermal skin over the tattoo may not get damaged, but the tattoo ink particles can be selectively targeted.


  • Who is a candidate for laser tattoo removal?

    Candidates for laser tattoo removal procedure are those patients with a tattoo that they are unhappy with it and would like to have all or part of that tattoo removed in the least possible number of treatments, affordably and with the least possible side effects. Candidates for the procedure are tattoo patients of any skin colour.  Even darker skin type patients can be treated with the PicoSure device. Although very dark skin types have more side effects due to the large amount of brown pigment in their normal skin. Good candidates should have realistic expectations in that they should anticipate 80% to 100% reduction of their tattoo after 4-8 treatments.  The treatments can be performed under local anesthesia and a topical chilling device.

  • What are the Contraindications for laser tattoo removal?

    The contraindications to treatment, can include those tattoo removal Toronto patients with unrealistic expectations and/or those individuals with severe wound-healing diseases or metabolic conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes or lupus and scleroderma, or tattoo ink that oxidizes and changes color with treatment.

  • What kind of anesthetic is used for tattoo removal?

    Most Toronto laser tattoo removal patients have their tattoo removed at SpaMedica under topical anesthetic (anesthetic cream) with an air chilling system, where the cold air applied to skin provides additional anesthesia. In most instanced, SpaMedica Laser tattoo removal patients describe the tattoo removal as far less painful than the tattoo itself. In some circumstances, some patients prefer the use of local anesthesia that is injected under the skin, rendering the laser tattoo procedure painless.  Of course, there is a modest amount of pain associated with injection of the local anesthesia. Most SpaMedica laser tattoo removal treatments are very short and last a matter of five minutes and are well-tolerated under topical local anesthetic cream and air cooling.

  • Does tattoo removal hurt?

    Laser tattoo removal is generally well-tolerated by patients.  Under topical anesthesia and and air cooling device and/or local anesthesia, the procedure is generally described as comfortable and less painful than getting the tattoo in the first place.

  • How long does it take to remove a tattoo?

    The actual laser tattoo removal treatment lasts between five and ten minutes.  The procedure is quick and efficient and results in a small, white frosting on the surface where the tattoo pigment is.  This white frosting fades to a mild red, swollen appearance on the tattoo, which turns into a crust over 24 to 48 hours.  In general, for the first four to five days, topical anesthetic ointment is placed on the tattoo and an occlusive dressing to prevent rubbing.  The tattoo itself can be washed immediately the following day after treatment and then the simple dressing is re-applied.  Once the crusting has fallen off, the tattoo continues to fade and, in general, 15% to 25% of the tattoo occurs after each laser tattoo removal treatment.

  • How long is the recovery following laser tattoo removal?

    Immediately following the laser tattoo removal treatment there is a frosting that lasts 15 minutes and then becomes a crust. The recovery period is characterized by flaking and redness for approximately seven days.  Topical antibiotic ointment and occlusive dressing, with frequent tepid water cleansing in the shower is all that is required post-treatment.  It is recommended that sun tanning or sun avoidance is followed for several weeks following each treatment to avoid hyperpigmentation of the treatment area.  After two weeks, most tattoos can also then have cosmetic makeup or cosmetic foundation and cover-up placed over it.

  • What kind of results can patients expect following their laser tattoo removal Toronto treatments?

    In general, with SpaMedica’s unique combinations of lasers and wavelengths, including the Picosure™, Revlite™, Accolade™ and Affinity™ lasers , Toronto laser tattoo removal patients can remove, on average, 85% to 100% of a tattoo after four to eight treatments.  Each treatment is approximately six to eight weeks apart.  This is a far more successful laser than any other laser system. Other systems need between eight and 16 treatments for a 65% to 80% reduction.  One of the big advantages of the PicoSure® laser, in addition to fewer numbers of treatments is that it’s pure acoustic or photomechanical effects and near absence of a photothermal effect results in less redness and inflammation and in far less risk of hypopigmentation.  This is lightening of the skin where the tattoo existed, a phenomenon called “ghosting”. This is not uncommon with other laser devices.

  • What is white frosting?

    Immediately after Laser tattoo treatment, Toronto patients will experience a white frosting that will fade over the first 15 minutes and form a crust. The crust comes off over 5-7 days and some of the tattoo ink will come off with the crust and some will fade internally over the next 6-8 weeks.  Each laser tattoo removal treatment is therefore performed every 6-8 weeks. The third photo shows the 6th treatment and 8th treatment in the final photo. There is some ghosting of the skin but near 100% tattoo removal.


Most patients are ecstatic about the Toronto laser tattoo removal program and the PicoSure® laser.  Most patients achieve 90%+  tattoo removal in far fewer treatments than other centers and with fewer side effects.  Toronto Laser tattoo removal patients treated at SpaMedica can achieve on average near 100% removal, or near total cure, in 4-6 treatments.

What do I do about a resistant Tattoo? I have had multiple laser treatments at different tattoo clinics with different lasers, can SpaMedica make a difference?

There are many patients in the SpaMedica tattoo removal program who have had multiple treatments with other systems, at multiple clinics and have recalcitrant, resistant or difficult-to-remove pigment.  This difficult-to-remove pigment and these multiply-treated tattoos generally will not respond to subsequent treatments on older technology and nanosecond lasers. However, they do respond extremely well to the PicoSure® laser tattoo removal machine.  SpaMedica attracts those patients that desire to have the best possible reduction in the appearance of their tattoo in the fewest number of treatments with the least number of side effects.  In addition, those individuals with multi-coloured tattoos or tattoos that have not been able to be successfully removed with lesser qualities of laser tattoo devices have gravitated to the SpaMedica laser tattoo removal program. Dr. Mulholland will also use ablative fractional lasers, such as the fractional CO2 and fractional erbium lasers to remove the faint, but resistant, faded tattoo ink and help facilitate the blending of the appearance of the tattoo.

I hear SpaMedica will sometime use Ablative CO2 or Ablative Erbium lasers on faded tattoos, does this work and how will it help?

Dr. Mulholland and SpaMedica will use fractional laser resurfacing. Both ablative CO2 and Erbium as well as Fractional Radio frequency needles resurfacing and non-ablative fractional infrared lasers to improve the appearance of multiply treated and faded tattoos. Sometimes some tattoos which are faded with little pigment may benefit from texture and color blending with fractional resurfacing.

A.  Solid black Tattoo.  B.  The same tattoo after over 20 treatments at several centers with nanosecond 1064nm and 755nm lasers, but now with resistant or recalcitrant tattoo ink to the longer pulse duration nanosecond wavelength technology.  C. Same tattoo, 12 weeks after 6 treatments with the PicoSure

A Toronto Laser Tattoo patient with a multiply treated tattoo and near total removal. Same tattoo after ablative and non-ablative fractional laser resurfacing.


There’s no specific maintenance required once the end point of the laser tattoo removal program has been achieved, which is almost complete eradication, no further maintenance need be required. Some patients do elect to have another tattoo created over a tattoo that has been removed by a laser and this is possible approximately 12 weeks following your final treatment.



  • Dr. Mulholland has been performing laser tattoo removal for over 20 years.
  • SpaMedica has accumulated a large selection of the very best possible lasers and wavelengths for tattoo removal.
  • Multiple lasers and wavelengths ensure that tattoo removal patients get the best possible reduction, even if they have difficult pigments and colours in their tattoos.

The Picosecond family of lasers

  • Dr. Mulholland is one of the first physicians in Canada to provide the PicoSure, PicoWay and the Enlighten to the laser tattoo removal market.
  • The PicoSure is the shortest pulse duration in the tattoo removal industry.
  • Laser tattoo removal patients can expect high clearance of their tattoo in the fewest number of treatments and with the lowest incidence of side effects.

Fewer number of treatments

  • Tattoo removal centres that do not have the Picosecond family of lasers to treat resistant ink will have you coming in for 10-18 treatment sessions.
  • With Dr. Mulholland’s array of picoseconds lasers and nanosecond laser tattoo devices, most patients only need 4-6 treatments to see 80-90% permanent tattoo reduction.

Lowest risk of complication and ghosting

  • Most tattoo removal centres will treat you with phototermal “heating” effects if they do not have the proper wavelengths and picoseconds pulse durations.
  • Photothermal heating effects affect the natural melanin in your skin and the pigment where the tattoo was. This usually results in very noticeable hypopigmentation (loss of skin colour) and ghosting.
  • SpaMedica ensures the lowest possible risk of hypopigmentation by using his wide range of picoseconds pulse duration lasers and nanosecond lasers.

Highest degree of permanent tattoo reduction

  • Toronto laser tattoo removal patients who choose SpaMedica usually achieve 90% or more permanent reduction.
  • Difficult-to-treat tattoo colours like blue, yellow, purple, orange and red can be treated effectively with the picosecond wavelength.


In general, most tattoos, depending on their size, cost between $250 and $750 per treatment. One of the big advantages of the SpaMedica multiple laser tattoo removal program and the PicoSure laser is that, on average, only half the number of treatments are usually required compared to other, older laser removal technologies. Thus, making the whole process more affordable.

Next Steps

Schedule a consultation with our laser tattoo removal experts to discuss your options and create a plan that is best suited for your budget and goals. Schedule a consult online or call now to make your tattoo removal appointment.

About Us

For 20 years, SpaMedica has set the standard for safe, high quality laser tattoo removal in Toronto. Natural and beautiful outcomes are the gold standard. Dr. Mulholland is world renowned and is also the most watched surgeon on YouTube in Canada.