Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Clinic Interior

What is a laser?

Laser is light, clean sterile light amplified to a very high energy. It is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. We have a number of different lasers at our disposal to perform a number of aesthetic procedures. See Technology

What do I do when I get there?

Detailed directions to the Highland Laser Clinic can be found on the Find Me page.

Please park at the front of Birchwood House in the designated customer parking area. If there is another car there already, then please park in front of the carport further up the drive taking care not to obstruct access to my neighbours.

The clinic entrance is round to the left hand side of the house near the wooden fence.

I do not have a waiting room facility, so if you’re early or in the rare instance that I have an appointment over running, you may have to wait in your car.

If the blinds are closed in my clinic room, I am probably lasering someone else.

What happens at my consultation?

We sit down and discuss the procedure and how it all works. We talk about outcomes, side effects, risk factors and how to achieve the results you want. I aim to be completely transparent and open in these discussions and advise you to the best of my abilities, even if that is to recommend that you do not proceed with treatment with us. 

Consultation is free. Once all your questions have been answered you can then choose to proceed with patch testing, or you can go away and think about it, or decide then and there that treatment is not for you. It’s up to you. There is no hard sell.

Do I have to have a Patch Test before treatment?

YES. Patch testing is part of the terms of our insurance and is compulsory before any treatment without exception. Patch testing is normally charged at a flat rate of £30 and is offered free on select packages if you buy a course of treatment in advance.

Can I bring someone with me?

Yes! Customers tend to be much more relaxed if they bring a friend and this is recommended, but only 1 extra person please. For safety reasons, children can not be in the clinic during laser treatment under any circumstances.

How do I pay for my treatment?

Highland Laser Clinic has the facility to take payment from a wide range of debit and credit cards. You can also pay in cash. You can pay as you go for each treatment individually. For some courses of treatment you can pay in advance for a block of 6 sessions at a significant discount. We do not offer credit terms

What do I do after treatment?

Detailed aftercare instructions are provided after your first treatment and an aftercare document is provided for reference. This is also emailed to you after treatment

I am always available for post-treatment advice. If you have any any issues I may ask you to come in for review. I never charge for any follow up appointments, only for treatment sessions.

I have another question not listed here?

Please contact us with any additional questions you might have.

How long will it take to remove my tattoo and how much will it cost?

My standard estimate for full removal of a machine made tattoo is 8 to 12 treatment sessions. A lot of different factors influence speed of removal and these will be discussed at your consultation.  Please see Prices for a guide to cost. If you send me a picture of your tattoo I will be able to give you an estimate of price which will be confirmed when I see you.

Why is the Highland Laser Clinic Technology better than other systems?

Our tattoo removal platform is a premium medical grade Active Q-Switch laser. Passive Q-Switch Lasers are more common and much, much cheaper. They are usually Chinese built and are often portable. They can reduce black tattoos to some extent, but if full removal or if colours are attempted they invariably cause widespread scarring. They are not fit for purpose and should be banned. If someone points something that looks like a gun on the end of a hose at you, run away!

Chinese junkthe best laser

Our Quanta Q-Plus is a dual laser platform. Q-Switch Nd:YAG lasers are the workhorses of the tattoo removal industry and are great at removing black, red, yellow and dark blue tattoo colours. Uniquely, our system also boasts a Q-Switch Ruby laser. This can remove light blues and green which Nd:YAG lasers can't touch

On lesser lasers the energy delivered is higher in the centre of the spot and falls away at the edges, this can cause hot spots and burns. The Quanta Q-Plus C Evo uses Optibeam technology to produce a top hat energy profile across its square spot. This means that the energy level is the same across the width of the laser spot on your skin making it safer and more effective.

If I have a tattoo removed, can I get another tattoo in its place?

Yes you can, I call this "preparation for coverup". The treatment is exactly the same, but it means you can get away with far fewer sessions. My standard guess is 6 sessions to prepare for coverup, but it does depend on the tattoo you have now and the design you want once it’s finished. Typically, the more removal you have the smaller and lighter your coverup tattoo can be. Please note. I remove tattoos but I'm not a tattooist. We have a number of studios in the Inverness area that we are happy to recommend based upon their artistry and quality of service

What do I do before I come?

Take a couple of paracetamol an hour or so before treatment if they are safe for you to take. You will receive a text message to remind you to do this. It really does help, but please don't take aspirin, Ibuprofen (Neurofen) or any fancy non-steroidal anti inflammatory painkillers (NSAID's)

Hydrate well on your day of treatment and make sure you haven't skipped any meals before coming for tattoo removal, particularly if you are having a large tattoo removed.

Please wear loose clothing that allows easy access to your tattoo and will be comfortable against your skin after treatment

Please do not put any products, creams or moisturisers on your skin on the day of treatment

Don't come with a hangover or intoxicated. If you're feeling unwell in any way, it would be better to reschedule your appointment to a later time

If you are having your tattoo removed from a hairy place, please shave the area 24 hours before treatment using a quality new razor.

Do not expose the skin to strong sunlight, sunbeds or self tanning applications for at least 4 weeks before each laser treatment

Will it hurt?

Yes it does hurt a bit, there's no getting away from it, but it's over very quickly. I get consistent feedback that it feels like being pinged repeatedly with a rubber band.

We use a specialist aesthetic cold air blower that chills your skin before, during and after treatment. This helps protect your skin and makes the procedure much more comfortable.

You will receive a reminder to take paracetamol an hour or so before treatment, it really does help, but please don't take aspirin, Ibuprofen (Neurofen) or any fancy non-steroidal anti inflammatory painkillers (NSAID's).

How does the skin look after treatment?

An instant whitening or frosting of the tattoo is seen after treatment, but this fades after a few minutes. It then goes red and a bit swollen. A soothing antimicrobial gel will be applied, and I may cover the site with a sterile dressing if indicated.

If you opt for Superstack enhanced tattoo removal, you will see some minimal bleeding on the surface of yor skin

The tattoo is mostly healed in 3 to 7 days after treatment and is fully healed from 2 to 4 weeks after treatment. Fading of the tattoo will occur over the full 8 weeks between treatments.

Will tattoo removal scar me?

Scarring of any kind is very rare.

Textural changes from the original tattooing process is possible. This can become more obvious as the ink is removed. Superstack treatment is recommended for these cases. 

Scarring from the tattoo removal itself is also possible, but tends to be minimal and is normally caused by poor aftercare, particularly picking and scratching at healing tattoos following laser treatment. With my current equipment I estimate my scarring rate to be less than 1% of customers treated.

Not all lasers are made equal and cheap tattoo removal lasers are extremely likely to scar you. Non-laser tattoo removal "treatments" are invariably harmful and to be avoided. I will show you pictures of this at your consultation.

Are there any other side effects?

This procedure is extremely safe otherwise I wouldn't be in this line of work.

Blisters can occur and do not indicate a problem but are something that needs intervention. We offer a full aftercare service to deal with this. Superstack helps to reduce risks of blistering so is a preferred option for customers who are unable to travel back to the clinic for aftercare.

The skin may become lighter during your course of treatment. This is quite common particularly where colours have been removed. This is known as hypopigmentation and usually improves with time.

How long will my hair removal take and how much will it cost?

My standard estimate for full hair removal is 6 treatment sessions. This is based on treatments every 4 to 6 weeks. If you choose to have your treatments closer together than that, it might take more sessions

Please see Prices for costs

Why is the Highland Laser Clinic Technology better than IPL or other systems?

Diode lasers are typically swept back and forth across the skin to build up heat in the hair follicles in an attempt to destroy them. IPL uses a powerful broadband flash of light similar to a large camera flash to heat the hair follicle. Both these approaches are quite inefficient and lead to unneccessary heating of your skin and pain. Our Duetto laser uses advanced technology to fire two lasers simultaneously in a very short pulse to destroy the hair follicle before the skin has time to react.

Full removal is unlikely with IPL and diode lasers. Typically the hair grows back thinner and lighter than before and becomes resistant to treatment. Continued attempts to remove may cause paradoxical hair growth, where the removal treatment actually stimulates hair growth! If you have been left in this situation, we can help

Will I get full removal?

Probably. Dark hair responds very well to treatment and you should genuinely have full removal in 6 sessions if you have black hair or if you’re brunette. Blonde, auburn, grey and white hair is more challenging because it doesn't absorb the laser energy so well. Full removal is still possible but less likely. Significant reduction should be seen at the very least

Will my hair grow back again later?

Possibly. Hormonally driven hair growth may lead to new hair follicles forming. This is often seen with men, and with female facial hair. Maintenence treatments every 4 to 12 months depending on the individual may be required in this case. Permanent removal would be expected for female hair growth on legs, arms underarms etc

Does it hurt?

There is a wee bit of discomfort but most people tolerate it very well. Our laser system uses two seperate lasers simultaneously to destroy hair follicles in a single pulse. Because two different types of lasers are used together, the energy of each of them can be reduced meaning significantly less discomfort than other systems. We also use a powerful cold air blower attached to the laser head which chills your skin as it works. 

Can you remove hair from dark skins?

Yes. Our hair removal system has two laser sources, one particularly good at removing light hair on light skins, and one great at removing dark hair on dark skins. We use them both together at the same time but can vary the proportions of Nd:YAG and Alexandrite lasers to get fantastic results safely even on the darkest skin

Why doesn’t the laser clear all the hair the first time round, why do I need repeat treatments?

Ah, very good question. There are 3 phases in the lifecycle of a hair. Anagen is when the hair is actively growing, this is when it’s most vulnerable to treatment. Catagen is when the hair is dying back again and is harder to hit. Telogen is a dormant state when the hair falls out naturally and is untreatable during this phase. It will soon wake up to go back into Anagen after a few weeks and start to grow a new hair. Each individual hair is on its own wee cycle, so we need to keep coming back to hit them at different times to catch them all in the anagen phase

hair growth-cycle-anagen-catagen-telogen-phases

Why am I only allowed to shave before and between treatments?

The laser needs to target some hair in the follicle. This absorbs the energy and transmits it down to the hair bulb, or papilla so that it can be destroyed. If you wax, pluck or thread you pull the entire hair shaft out and there is no target for the laser to attack. The hair will just grow back again. You are basically forcing the hair follicle into the Telogen phase which is when it’s untreatable.

Wait a minute, so if I’m a lady with problem hair on my face, this means I have to SHAVE MY FACE?

Yes. We appreciate this is a little weird, but we need that hair in the follicle so that we can destroy it and make it go away. You may choose to start treatment after just a week or two of shaving, and have your first few sessions at 2 week intervals to get on top of the problem and minimise the number of times you need to reach for the razor.

Having treatments closer together like this might mean you need more than the standard course of 6 sessions because you’re not getting the full benefit of each session. Might be easier to live with though.

Lady Shaving

I have lots of tiny little hairs on my face, can you get rid of them? 

This is known as vellus hair or peach fuzz and almost everyone has it to some extent. Laser treatment is not appropriate for this and we would recommend dermaplaning from a reputable practitioner in this case

What are the side effects and risks?

Side effects and risks are really quite minimal and problems are rare. You will get a wee bit of redness for a few hours, and some follicular oedema where hair follicles that have reacted well to treatment swell slightly. We will go through all of this at your consultation before you decide whether to proceed to patch testing

How long will my vein removal take and how much will it cost?

Problem thread veins and spider veins normally respond in 1 to 3 treatments. Please see Prices for a guide to costs

Why is the Highland Laser Clinic Technology better than other systems?

Our laser system uses two lasers fired in quick succession. The Alexandrite laser converts haemoglobin within the problem vessel into methemoglobin. Milliseconds later the Nd:YAG laser fires. This has a very strong affinity for methemoglobin so heat energy from the laser is absorbed rapidly destroying and sealing the vessel.

Some clinics will attempt to remove veins using Q-Switch tattoo removal lasers or IPL. Some reduction may be seen in the short term from these approaches but relief is temporary and risks of skin damage are high

Will I get full removal?

Probably. Vessels of up to 2mm can be treated very effectively with this technology

Will my thread veins come back again?

Possibly. New capillaries can grow in place of removed vessels. Risk of reoccurrence is increased if you engage in frequent strenuous exercise. Alcohol use can also be a contributory factor

Leg vessels may reopen if you engage in strenuous exerices soon after treatment

Can you remove my varicose veins?

Unfortunately not. Only vessels up to 2mm in diameter can be treated. Larger vessels will not be attempted. Varicose veins respond better to surgical interventions

Does it hurt?

Yes it does hurt a bit but is over quickly. A specialist cold air blower is used to chill your skin during treatment to make it more comfortable

How long does it take to heal after treatment?

Side effects such as swelling, blistering, crusting or flaking of the treated aura may require one to six weeks to heal. This needs to be taken into account when considering vein removal on your face. Once any of these conditions have healed the treated are may still be sensitive to the sun for an additional two to four weeks. During the healing process there is a slight possibility that the area treated can become lighter or darker in colour compared to the surrounding skin. This is usually temporary.

When we treat telangiectasia the laser typically seals the problem blood vessels as it destroys them. Occasionally, a vessel can bleed into surrounding tissues and deposit blood within the structure of your skin. This is seen as a bruise which can take a few weeks or very rarely up to 6 months to resolve.

It is very important to declare all medications you might be taking at consultation. Medicines that thin your blood and may contribute to bleeding such as aspirin, ibuprofen or warfarin are contraindicated. Do not make changes to your medication unless supervised by your doctor. Similarly, some medical conditions such as diabetes can increase your risk of bleeding and bruising significantly.