tattoo artist adding a new tattoo to an arm

Compensation – Tattoo removal gone wrong

People get their tattoos removed for a variety of reasons. For example, because their tattoo is misspelt, poorly drawn, or they now consider it to be embarrassing.

How are tattoos removed?

Unwanted tattoos can be removed in a variety of ways, including removal creams, surgery, or most commonly with laser removal.

This article relates to when laser tattoo removal goes wrong.

Laser tattoo removal is a permanent way of removing or partially removing a tattoo. It normally takes a series of sessions (it can take 10 or more) to fully break down the tattoo. In fact, some tattoos never fully disappear.

During the process, the energy from the laser gradually breaks down the tattoo ink into tiny fragments, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and safely passed out of the body. The treatment is usually undertaken on a privately funded basis and the procedure is rarely carried out by the NHS. The procedure generally works best on black, blue and red inks.

Can laser tattoo removal go wrong?

Unfortunately, laser tattoo removal is not regulated by the UK government. This means that there are no restrictions on who can perform laser tattoo removal treatments. Tattoo removal treatment is on the rise and medical practitioners are seeing an increasing number of burns and scars caused by untrained practitioners. The British Medical Association and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons have been campaigning for tighter regulations as a result of the rise in negligent treatment.

As a result, some tattoo removal treatments can be provided by untrained therapists, who subsequently make mistakes. Sadly, you could suffer from severe burns and scarring if the treatments are not administered correctly. You could also be blinded if the laser hits your eye.

The use of lasers for cosmetic purposes in England was de-regulated in 2010 which sadly means that anyone can use them. Scotland’s laser use has never been regulated. However, in Wales and Northern Ireland, laser operators must register with a healthcare authority.

More and more high street tattoo studios and beauty salons are offering this type of treatment, so the number of negligence cases are increasing.

Guidance on the safe use of lasers can be found at:

Can you claim for compensation?

You may be able to claim compensation if you are injured and your therapist:

  • Did not highlight the risks to you before you had the treatment;
  • Caused your tattoo to darken, rather than lighten;
  • Used the laser inappropriately i.e. held it too close to your skin or used it on too high a setting;
  • Used unregulated equipment;
  • Did not follow adequate health and safety guidelines.

How can we help?

If you have suffered from an injury during tattoo removal treatment you may be able to claim compensation. Contact us for free advice today by calling 0800 025 0000. You can also see how much your claim could be worth by using our claimometer here.

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