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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 Us page.

There are 2 designated parking places, one right in front on the clinic, and one up the side of Birchwood house. Please take care not to obstruct access to our neighbour. 

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?

You can bring one person with you, but we don’t have the space or the protective eyewear for more one extra person in the clinic. For safety reasons, children can not be in the clinic during laser treatments 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, by using your phone, or using direct transfer to our bank using Bacs. We no longer accept American Express. 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.

Can I Cancel or Reschedule my appointment?

Yes. Our clients are really busy people and we fully respect that. We make it it easy to reschedule or cancel appointments yourself. There is a personalised RESCHEDULE and CANCEL link on your confirmation email that is unique to your booking. If you no longer have the confirmation email for that booking you will need to contact us so that we can arrange it for you.

We now charge a £30 cancellation fee for all appointments cancelled or rescheduled within 72 hours of your appointment time

No charge is made for cancellations or reschedules outwith 72 hours

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.

We always like to quote you the price for removal before coming to see us, your tattoo removal journey starts by sending us a picture of your tattoo. We will reply with an estimated price which will be confirmed when we see you in person.

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!

Please see our blog post Spotting Cowboys for more about this

Chinese junkthe best laser

Our Quanta Q-Plus C 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?

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.

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 your 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 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” either don’t work, or cause harmful and unacceptable levels of scarring. We strongly advise against this approach.

Are there any other side effects?

This procedure is extremely safe otherwise we wouldn't be offering it as a service.

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 you will get faster results but it may 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 pulse of light similar to a large camera flash to heat the hair follicle. Both these approaches are quite inefficient and lead to unnecessary heating of your skin and pain. Our Quanta Duetto platform uses two pulsed native lasers simultaneously or individually in a very short flash to destroy the hair follicle.

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 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, red, 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.

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. We use a powerful cold air blower attached to the laser head which chills your skin as it works and makes the treatment much less uncomfortable.

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 can use them together or individually to get results regardless of your skin type. Unfortunately due to the terms of our insurance, we are unable to offer hair removal on Fitzpatrick type 5 and 6 skin.

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 hit to destroy them. But more importantly, 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 chromophore. This absorbs the energy and transmits it down to the growth area of the follicle known as the dermal papilla 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 recommend 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. 

Lady Shaving

Do I need to grow my hair out?

No, it needs to be nice and short please. You might be used to growing hair out for waxing, but this is definitely not the case with laser. Please shave a day or two before. Shorter hair will give you less discomfort during your treatment, faster recovery and more effective results.

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 our 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. You need to be properly cleansed of all make up, preferably in the shower so all traces are removed. We will refuse treatment for safety reasons if we see product on your face. This also applies to self tanning products.

What are the side effects and risks?

The main risk from this treatment are associated with having make up or other product on your skin (see above). This makes burns and associated problems likely and must be avoided at all costs. Absolutely no fake tan allowed!

The other thing that significantly increases risk factors is being tanned. No sunbeds please! Wear sunblock. If you’re too tanned we will have to reduce power which may give you less effective treatment, or defer you to a later date.

Other 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?

We use world class medical grade laser technology hand built in Italy by Quanta System.

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. It’s VERY important not to have ANY product of ANY kind on your skin on the day of treatment. You need to be properly cleansed of all make up, preferably in the shower so all traces are removed. We will refuse treatment for safety reasons if we see product on your face. This also applies to self tanning products.

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.

Ocassionally, petechial bruising can occur, particularly on cheeks and appear as red marks. These generally take a week or two to resolve.

It is very important to tell us about any medications you might be taking at consultation. Some 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.

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

Warts and Verrucas 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?

We use our pulsed Nd:YAG laser in burst mode with a very high energy density setting and a relatively short pulse width to deliver repeating bursts of thermal laser to heat deep into the infected tissue. Only a medical grade pulsed laser can deliver the required power to make this effective.

Clients have told us that other clinics attempt to remove warts using Q-Switch tattoo removal lasers, or RF microwave devices. Despite some eye wateringly high prices for these procedures we don’t believe they work very often, which is why people come from all over Scotland to us for definitive treatment.

Can you get rid of my warts?

Probably. Small warts tend to go in one treatment. Large, deep and extensive infected lesions often need more.

Will my warts come back again?

Probably not. It’s important that we completely kill all of your infected lesions through repeated treatments if necessary. Partially treated warts or verrucas may re-establish themselves in time so it’s important to maintain momentum and hit them again if required at 4 week intervals. If we treat and kill all of your active lesions we can reduce the likelihood of further breakouts, but further manifestations of the HPV virus may occur again in the future in a fairly unpredictable way.

Does it hurt?

Yes, this treatment does hurt. It’s probably our most aggressive service. We are essentially inducing a therapeutic thermal injury. An intense focal hot sensation will be felt under the laser, and the site will feel warm, tingly and tender for some time afterwards.

How long does it take to heal after treatment?

Recovery generally takes 1 to 3 weeks. The treated area may take on a burnt appearance and will be white and swollen.

Infected material will break down over time, scabs may form and some oozing from the site may be seen. We encourage you to manually assist in removing dead infected material from the site. Exudate can be messy and is potentially infectious so we recommend the use of some kind of absorbent dressing on the site if it responds in this way.

When large or deep warts dissolve and fall away, a significant hollow or socket may be left in the skin which was previously occupied by the HPV infected material. This may take a number of months to remodel and sort itself out, but this is a result of the infection not the treatment of the infection itself.

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

Skin tags normally respond in 1 to 2 treatments. Please see Prices for a guide to costs.

Why is the Highland Laser Clinic approach better than other methods?

We use our pulsed Nd:YAG laser to deliver a thermal pulse of infrared energy that destroys the skin tag’s blood supply. The skin tag will then shrivel up and drop off 1 to 7 days later.

Other common approaches includes using liquid nitrogen to freeze the area to the same effect. We’ve tried these cryo treatments and weren’t particularly impressed by the results. We found it takes repeated treatments to achieve full removal because the thermal effect tends not to penetrate very deeply. We also found that the risk of causing collateral damage to surounding skin was higher due to the messiness of the process.

Skin tags can be simply snipped off with sterile scissors or shaved off with a small blade by a skilled practitioner. This is essentially a minor surgery. Bleeding is likely and some degree of an open wound will be left. Electrosurgical approaches uses an arc of electricity to the same effect.

Home remedies usually involve ligation of the base of the tag using a strong thread or dental floss and might be a solution if you’re very price sensitive.

We are skilled in laser procedures, so of course we think our way is the best. We believe our approach gives the best result while minimising discomfort and risk factors.

Will my skin tags come back again?

Probably not. If you have issues with being overweight or have insulin resistance you may well see new skin tags develop in similar areas, but in the majority of cases removal will be the end of the matter.

Does it hurt?

There is a little discomfort during the procedure. A focal hot pinging sensation may be felt, a little like being snapped with an elastic band. There might be a slight sunburn type of sensation for the rest of the day and some minor discomfort in the area for about a week after treatment.

How long does it take to heal after treatment?

Recovery generally takes 1 to 3 weeks. The treated area will be red and might be a little swollen.

The skin tag will go dark, eventually black, dry and shrivel up, and then drop off. The time scale for this varies and can be anything from the next day to a week later.

There might be some residual pinkness, lightening, darkening or slight textural changes where the skin tag used to attach. This will improve with time and will be much less noticeable than the original skin tag.

How many clinic visits do I need and how much will it cost?

After an initial consultation and patch test we recommend a course of 3 to 6 treatments. Please see Prices for costs.

Does it hurt?

The face is quite a sensitive part of the body, but surprisingly there is only minimal discomfort during the procedure and most people tolerate the procedure well. We recommend you take a couple of paracetamol and hour before treatment, but please do not take ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers.

Following treatment there is a definite heating sensation on the skin. We apply intensive cooling directly after treatment to reduce this, and careful use of cold packs at home can afford additional relief. Your face will feel a bit sensitive with a sunburn sensation for a few days afterwards.

How will I look after treatment?

A network of microthermal treatment channels will be visible across your face giving a slightly textured appearance. Following treatment erythema will develop making you look slightly sun burned 

How long does it take to heal after treatment?

It will be obvious that you have had the procedure for about a week, and full recovery takes around 2 weeks.

We recommend a gentle daily cleansing regime and avoidance of makeup if possible. The treated area should be protected from the sun by wearing a hat if required and it is very important that you do not receive direct exposure to direct sunlight during the healing process

When can I wear make-up?

We recommend that you avoid wearing make-up for a week after treatment. It’s VERY important not to have ANY product of ANY kind on your skin on the day of treatment. You need to be properly cleansed of all make up, preferably in the shower so all traces are removed. We will refuse treatment for safety reasons if we see product on your face. This also applies to self tanning products.

How long will pigmentation removal take and how much will it cost?

Pigmented lesions 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?

We have several modalities to choose from to remove pigmented lesions. Normally we choose to use a green Q-Switched laser. Our Q-Switch platform is of very high quality and power.

Q-Switched green is a parameter which deserves a high degree of respect and caution, and we use it carefully to get the response you want without causing unwanted side effects. It’s easy to perform these procedures badly.

For more diffuse signs of sun damage we recomend our Erbium CoolPeel laser facial.

Can you get rid of my pigmentation?

Probably. Fairly light coloured lesions often respond in a single treatment. Darker sun damage may take more sessions.

Will my pigmentation come back again?

Possibly. It is common for darker pigmented lesions to reoccur again to some extent a few weeks after treatment, but they will come back lighter than before and will respond further to additional treatments.

Pigmented lesions are symptomatic of cumulative sun damage and are common amongst people who live an outdoor lifestyle. Further sun exposure is likely to cause more pigmented lesions. The best way to prevent against them is to use a physical/mineral sunblock and hats 

Can you treat me when I have a sun tan?

Unfortunately not. If we try to remove excess melanin in your pigmented lesions when you have extra melanin in the surrounding skin from a sun tan, there is a risk we could leave lighter patches. We need you looking pasty.

I have darker areas around my mouth and cheeks that appeared during pregnancy. Can you make these go away?

This sounds like melasma. It’s complex to treat and requires a combined approach of topical treatment and laser. We can help, but we would refer you to a friendly aesthetic nurse to manage the topical treatment side of things. Get in touch for more information.

I have an Asian or othe non-caucasian skin type and have some darker areas on my face I would like addressed. Can you help?

This is a very specialised area for a Highland clinic. There are operators who make it their life’s work to address this concern using a variety of techniques. They tend to be glamorous lady doctors and operate in major urban areas. We would respecfully decline to treat these cases as being outwith of our skillset.

Does it hurt?

There is a bit of discomfort intrinsic in any laser procedure, but this treatment is definitely very mild. We use the laser at a very superficial level to target excess pigmentation on the surface of your skin. A sensation akin to being gently flicked with a rubber band is commonly described.

How long does it take to heal after treatment?

Recovery generally takes 1 to 2 weeks. The treated area will immediately go much darker than before, and so will look worse before it looks better.

This darker area is mostly denatured melanin which forms a slight crust on the surface of your skin. This should be allowed to flake away in its own time revealing lighter skin underneath.