Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Clinic Interior

What are you doing about coronavirus?

Please see our Covid-19 page for detailed information on measures we have introduced to protect clients and staff and minimise risks.

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 Us page.

There are 2 designated parking places, one right in front on the clinic, and one up the side of Birchwood house. Please care not to obstruct access to our neighbour. Please note that our neighbour has a collie dog, who might shout at you a bit (it’s her job), but she's a sweetie really.

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

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

If the blinds are closed in the clinic room, we are probably busy with another customer.

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. We aim to be completely transparent and open in these discussions and advise you to the best of or 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 £30 per site.

Can I bring someone with me?

Normally we would say yes, but in these pandemic times we are trying to minimise the number of people visiting the clinic. You can bring someone with you if you have a good reason to but please discuss this with us first. 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 for a 10% 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.

We are always available for post-treatment advice. If you have any issues we may ask you to come in for review. We 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?

Our standard estimate for full removal of a machine made black tattoo is 8 to 12 treatment sessions, but it can take longer than that. 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. We call this "preparation for coverup". The treatment is exactly the same, but it means you can get away with far fewer sessions. Our 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, we remove tattoos but we are not a tattooist. We have a number of tattoo 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 DO NOT 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. We 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 we 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 our current equipment we estimate our 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 we 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.

Can you treat problem hairs on my face?

YES! We specialise in treating problem facial hair and have made a lot of women across Highland and Moray very happy indeed

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

Our standard estimate for full hair removal is 6 to 8 treatment sessions. This is based on treatments every 8 weeks or more. If you choose to have your treatments closer together than that, it might take more sessions. Treatment typically takes a year.

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 Quanta Duetto laser uses two pulsed native lasers simultaneously in a very short flash 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 to 8 sessions if you have black hair or if you’re brunette. Very blonde, grey and white hair is more challenging because it doesn't absorb the laser energy so well. Full removal may not be possible but significant reduction is likely. Red and auburn hair is very challenging, but we have recently developed a new approach to this that is looking hopeful.

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. Maintenance treatments every 6 to 12 months depending on the individual may be required in this case. Long term removal would be expected for the majority of female hair growth on legs, arms underarms etc, but there are always exceptions to this and it does grow back in some cases.

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 darker skin. Unfortunately due to the terms of our insurance, we are unable to offer hair removal on Fitzpatrick type 5 and 6 skins.

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

Ah, very good question. Some hairs need more than one pass to respond. 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 stops growing and is resistant to treatment. Telogen is a dormant state when the hair falls out naturally and is untreatable during this phase. Telogen can last up to a year. 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. We call this target the chromaphore. This absorbs the energy and transmits it down to the dermal papilla (also known as the stem cell) so that it can be destroyed. If we can kill the dermal papilla then that hair follicle will essentially heal up and disappear. 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 4 weeks of shaving, and have your first few sessions at 6 week intervals to get on top of the problem and minimise the number of times you need to reach for the razor.

We recommend 8 week intervals for maximum bang per buck, or 6 week intervals for faster results - but this might mean you need more treatment sessions in the long run.

You can use an electric razor, such as the Flawless device, or a more conventional razor. We would recommned quality blades changed regularly. Aldi do excellent 4 bladed razors at a great price. Shaving can stimulate hair growth, to minimise this scissoring can be used to cut the problems hairs. Some ladies choose to use a dermaplaning tool.

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.

I am undergoing gender reassignment - can you help?

Yes we can. Beginning hormone therapy before you begin laser treatment will reduce regrowth, but you can start before if you choose to. We have clients coming from quite far afield to benefit from out trans friendly service.

How soon can I wear make-up?

For facial hair removal you can wear makeup the next day. It’s very important not to have any product of any kind on your skin on the day of treatment.

What are the side effects and risks?

Side effects and risks are really quite minimal and problems are rare. This is an extremely safe treatment. 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 an oxidised form known as 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?

Possibly. Vessels of up to 2mm can be treated very effectively with this technology. We get great results on noses and chins. Cheeks can be more resistant but significant improvement is likely.

Due to poor results, we no longer offer vein removal on legs

Will my thread veins come back again?

Possibly. New capillaries can grow in place of removed vessels. Risk of reoccurrence is increased with sun exposure, wind burn, use of topical steroid creams, or if you engage in frequent strenuous exercise. We believe drinking alcohol as a risk factor for threadvein is over stated.

Can you remove my varicose veins?

Unfortunately not. Only vessels up to 2mm in diameter can be treated. We believe that laser is the preferable mode of treatment for facial veins, and that all leg veins should be approached with sclerotherapy or surgical interventions. We no longer attempt to treat leg veins.

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. Your operator also presses on your skin between every couple of shots to help dissapate heat and make it feel better.

When can I wear make-up?

We recommend that you avoid wearing make-up for 24 hours after treatment at the very least. Longer is probably better.

How long does it take to heal after treatment?

Recovery takes 3 days to 3 weeks generally. The treated area will be red and swollen and some slight localised bruising may be seen. Treated vessels may turn grey or black and may be visible on your face for a week or so. Once healed the treated area may be sensitive to the sun for an additional few weeks.

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. We tend to treat fairly aggressively at Highland Laser Clinic to avoid this and have never experienced this complication with any of our clients so far, but it is a known risk factor with vein removal.

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. Uncontrolled hypertension or high blood pressure is also a risk factor we definitely need to know about.