what should I look for in a tattoo removal studio?

Reputation and Experience

Look for all the same things you would look for in a regular tattoo studio. You want to check out their reputation. Do they have good reviews? How long have they been in business? Look at their pricing. If it sounds too good to be true, there may be a reason. Do they answer all your questions patiently or do they try to rush you through the process? The answers to these questions will guide you in the right direction.

Clean and Safe

Always, always, always, safety first. Make sure the place is clean and neat. Any pieces that touch your body or the technician’s hands must be sanitized or disposable. Technicians should always, always, ALWAYS use gloves! This is a no brainer. Gloves are .10 cents and protect both you and the technician. Keeping you safe must be of primary importance 100% of the time. There are videos of tattoo removal on YouTube and unfortunately many of the laser techs are not using gloves! This is not the standard of care.

You should be given protective eyewear to wear during your treatment. The eyewear we use is designed to be used with this specific laser, because it filters out the harmful rays. Any old dark goggles will not suffice. Saying, “close your eyes,” is not enough. The laser is powerful and it emits both light that we can see (like a bright flash) and light that is invisible to our eyes but can still be damaging. Your eyes must be protected at all times. Any mirrors in the room must be covered completely.

At Aloha, we don’t believe that tattoo removal has to be a painful process that causes damage to the skin. We treat the area one layer at a time until it is faded to your satisfaction. The idea of  “turning the machine up” in order to supposedly get it done in less treatments can cause blistering, scarring, and other complications. Removing your tattoo and leaving a dark scar behind is not our goal. We believe a conservative approach is the best one for your skin.

Medical and Legal Compliance

The laser center should have a physician on staff, as Illinois law requires that all patients be evaluated by this physician before receiving laser treatments. This is one of the reasons there is a cost associated with your consult. Only a licensed physician has the expertise to make sure the laser is safe for you. If you have a medical condition or are on any medication, the doctor will be able to make sure you can get your treatments safely. If you have any change in medication or health between your treatments, we can discuss this with the doctor for your protection. While complications are rare, they can happen and that’s why every safety measure must be taken.

When done correctly, tattoo removal can be very effective and it has such an uplifting, freeing effect on our life. If you’re doing this research, it may be the right time. Take the first step.

why would I want to remove a tattoo?


The artwork and technology of tattoo artistry has gotten so much more advanced over the years. Some of us had inexperienced artists, yet when we received our tattoo, the quality of the artwork was disappointing.

You’ve Changed

We all change. Sometimes your tattoo is a word, phrase, or image that no longer reflects who you are. This is most common when someone gets a tattoo when they are in their teens or early 20s. Sometimes you think you will always have the same taste, but sometimes, if we had to do it over again, we would make a different choice for our tattoo.

Cover Ups

This is a fun one. Tattoo artists can do amazing cover-up work that can make you happy and proud for a lifetime. We can do partial or full treatments to fade a tattoo with the intention of overlaying new work. We can work with your tattoo artist to intentionally fade one area and not another. Fading dark pigment frees the tattoo artist up and allows them more flexibility with their cover up, meaning you are going to have many more options, and avoid the blob cover ups that some of us have seen.

Instant Regret

Sometimes, even with good planning, some people know they made a mistake the instant they get up from the table. “I hated it right away,” is an unfortunate but common sentiment. This can be devastating. But there’s no reason for you to live with a tattoo you hate, and the frustration of having to explain it every time someone new mentions it. Your tattoo is part of your body and history. Many of these tattoos can be cleared completely, and you can get a fresh start.

The obvious

“I was drunk and got tattooed with a friend,”

“It’s my ex’s name and I’m married to someone else now,”

“My friend’s brother did it and it looks terrible,”

You say it, we’ve heard it. We’re human and sometimes we make mistakes. But they don’t have to be permanent. We can remove it or fade it for a cover up and you can leave that moment in the dust.

Personal Reasons

Honestly, you never have to give a reason for wanting to remove your tattoo. Tattoos are very personal and many have deep and meaningful  personal stories behind them that not everyone knows about. For this reason, we respectfully do not ask you questions about your tattoo’s meaning. If you want to tell us, we are happy to know your story, and celebrate the freedom you have at choosing exactly how you want express yourself and your body. We love hearing about all of your tattoos and what they mean to you. But we are all adults and you never have to give a reason or explain yourself to anyone.


It’s very impressive to see that so many of our clients have really done their research and come in already knowing so much about tattoo removal lasers. We hope that we can answer all your questions so that you can feel confident partnering with us on your journey.

Does it hurt?

My response to this question is always, “It’s fast.” Yes it hurts but it goes by very quickly and we do everything we can to make it easier. We can even use topical numbing creams if necessary. The truth is, if you got through the pain of getting your tattoo, you have the pain tolerance to get through this much shorter treatment.

How long does the treatment take?

Depending on the size, 1-5 minutes for small to medium tattoos. For large ones, we may or may not treat the whole area at one time, but they should not take more than 15-20 minutes.

How long does it take to see results?

You will start to see results after about a month. You will see some of the superficial ink begin to fade. Some of it will come to the surface and flake off. Each time you have a treatment, another layer fades, it’s like excavating an ancient site. Some of the ink is at the top and gets faded on the first few treatments. Some ink is buried deep under more ink and it takes a while to clear it layer by layer.

When will I be finished with the treatments?

It depends on the tattoo. Some tattoos clear in 1-3 sessions, but some take 10 or more. I would say the whole process to clear a professionally done tattoo will take 18 months to 2 years. Professional tattoos are done with excellent equipment and techniques. The pros are good at leaving deep pigment that stays true to its color and lasts a lifetime. That is why amateur tattoos are easier to remove.

You will see results every step of the way, and the last handful of treatments are just to clear some of the deeper parts of the tattoo, which by then will be barely noticeable.

I have a color tattoo, will you be able to remove it?

Yes. Our Medlite c6 works on all colors, including reds, blues, and greens. The blues and greens are the most difficult to remove but with time and persistence, most of it can be cleared. Just be aware that you may need more treatments with these colors

Will it leave a scar?

Most tattoos do not scar when removed. It is possible though, and everyone’s skin is different. We use settings that will be effective but not so abrasive to the skin that they will leave a scar.

Some tattoos may not be able to be clear completely. Sometimes scarring happens when the tattoo is received, and it is revealed when the ink fades.

I saw a video of someone doing tattoo removal and their tattoo disappeared right on camera! Is this the same thing?

Though it does look cool, it is not a true representation of the process. When a tattoo is treated, there is a “frosting” of the superficial layers of the skin. On a fair skinned person, this makes it look like the tattoo is gone. The frosting is microscopic air bubbles, and disappears in about 10 minutes. After that, the ink shows through. It will take about a month for the body to go through the natural process of discarding that ink.

Can you remove colors?

Yes. The laser we use, the Medlite C6, has the capability of treating all colors by using different wavelengths of light. These wavelengths will target specific ink colors in the skin. While dark blue and black inks respond the best, light blue and pink inks may require more treatments to be completely cleared.

Your Laser Tech

Lisa Barounis, owner of Aloha Waxing and Laser, has 10+ years of experience in esthetics and 17 years in the spa industry. She became interested in lasers early in her career, having been treated with several different types of lasers for both hair and tattoo removal. With an eye for details and a passion for helping others, she has an enthusiastic reputation on Yelp and other social media.