Arbutus Laser

Tattoo Removal

Pioneers in Tattoo Removal Technologies since 1994.


Arbutus Laser was the first facility in BC to provide laser tattoo removal services. We began offering this service in 1994. Our physicians and technical staff have 30 years of experience with tattoo removal. We began with 2 separate devices in our tattoo removal arsenal, our original Ruby laser and an NdYag laser, both q-switched lasers with very short pulse durations. The evolution of Pico duration pulses over the last decade has reduced visits and improved success with modern ink colours.

Our team is committed to continuous learning and we embrace every opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field. We have literally performed thousands tattoo removal treatments. When you choose Arbutus Laser for your treatments, you can trust that you are in the hands of experienced professionals dedicated to helping you achieve the best results possible..

"Re-write your story with Tattoo Removal - the art of renewal."

If it's a concern for you,
it's one for us.


WHAT IS Laser Tattoo Removal?

Essentially, your body has been working non-stop in trying to get rid of the tattoo since it was put on. Lasers work by a photoacoustic effect in which it shatters tattoo ink in the skin. Your body then recognizes the ink fragments and begins to remove it quicker by a process called phagocytosis (the body’s mechanism used to remove cellular waste and debris).

Areas of treatment & benefits include:



Eyebrow Tattoo Removal



Transitions of Tattoo Removal Fading - 3 Treatments


15-30 minutes


1-2 weeks


Gradually over months to years


2 to 8 or more. Every 8 weeks (minimum) apart.

Discomfort Rating



Our PicoWay® Laser has been our workhorse for tattoo removal over the last several years. It offers 3 different wavelengths for the effective removal of most tattoo colours.

Our experience includes removing resistant colours, understanding ink composition, knowing amateur vs professional artwork, assessing location and depth of tattoo ink, removing full body tattoos, removing make-up tattoos, removing traumatic tattoos for accidents (“road rash tattoos”) and to highlight….

We remove radiation marker tattoos from radiation cancer therapy. This is a complimentary service we provide to all cancer survivors who have undergone radiation therapy. (please see Q&A below for more information.)



Tattoo Removal and Cover-Up



Tattoo Removal


The treated site must be kept dry and protected for several days post-treatment. Swelling, tenderness and possible blistering may occur 3-5 days after each session. Multiple treatments are required. Recent sun exposure and pregnancy is contraindicated.


Pricing for tattoo removal is dependent on the size of the tattoo. The cost is determined at time of the consultation based on the location of the tattoo, the colour(s), size and treatment area.

Our base rate for very small tattoos starts at $150.

It is always our goal to provide excellent value for this service with highly skilled providers at industry average pricing.


Our consultation fee for tattoo removal is $150 and is applied to treatment, which can often be done on the same day if you are a suitable candidate. Sometimes a test patch will be required prior to treatment.

Our reception staff can often help estimate tattoo removal cost from a photo of the tattoo with measurements. 

Have more questions?

We have answers! 

Our experienced team is ready to help.


Q: Can laser tattoo removal fade an existing tattoo for a cover-up?

A: Yes, laser tattoo removal can fade an existing tattoo making it easier for a new tattoo to be covered up or modified. Usually 1-2 sessions fade a tattoo enough to cover, however, the tattoo artist may require more sessions.

Q: Can laser tattoo removal effectively treat white or pastel-colored inks?

A: White or pastel colors do not usually respond well to laser tattoo removal. A test patch will most likely be done to start.

Q: Can laser tattoo removal cause permanent changes to the skin's texture or color?

A: With multiple treatments, there may be mild textural changes to the skin, temporary hyperpigmentation, and long term or permanent hypopigmentation (lightening) of the treated areas. Some inks may darken with treatment, which can be permanent. Sometimes removing a tattoo can expose the scarring from the tattoo itself created during application. It can appear lighter in color and have textural irregularities.

Q: Can laser tattoo removal be performed on recently sun-tanned skin?

A: Laser tattoo removal should be avoided on recently sun-tanned skin (at least 2 weeks)

Q: Can laser tattoo removal be used to treat tattoos with metallic or fluorescent inks?

A: Laser tattoo removal is not effective on tattoos containing metallic or fluorescent inks. These inks may react with the laser, leading to unpredictable outcomes.

Q: How many sessions does it take to remove a tattoo?

A: To remove a tattoo completely, it may take 3 to 12 or even more treatments. Treatments can be done a minimum of 8 weeks apart. Certain colors respond better than others.

Q: What colors are easy/hard to remove?

A: Black followed by red are the easiest to remove, while green and purple are the most difficult. White and light colors are more difficult or impossible to diminish and can potentially darken depending on the chemical composition of the ink.

Q: What can I expect after laser tattoo removal?

A: The skin will have a burning sensation post treatment for a few hours. Swelling and blistering can occur, especially after the first few treatments. Some colors react more than others. We recommend covering the treated area for 24-72 hours and keeping it hydrated with Vaseline or a moisturizer.

Q: What is the recovery time for laser tattoo removal?

A: Recovery can take 3-14 days depending on the colors and size of the tattoo. Expect some swelling, tenderness, itching and possible blistering.

Q: How painful is laser tattoo removal?

A: Tattoo removal is uncomfortable. It is possible to use numbing cream prior to your treatment to dull the discomfort. The treatments are quick and smaller tattoos can be done in less than a minute.

Q: Can lasers completely remove tattoos?

A: We can never guarantee 100% complete removal but can remove at least 60-90% making them less noticeable or unrecognizable. Black tattoos have a higher chance of complete removal. This will be discussed at the time of consultation.

Q: Can IPL remove tattoos?

A: IPL will not remove a tattoo and will likely scar the skin in the process.

Q: How can I speed up tattoo removal?

A: Having shorter treatment intervals does not speed up removal and can lead to undesired side effects. Adhering to the advised treatment interval will give the quickest results.

Q: Does laser tattoo removal cause cancer?

A: Lasers do not cause cancer. Lasers are light energy. Exposing oneself to ultraviolet energy from the sun without sunscreen is much more significant in terms of injury to the skin.

Q: Do tattoo removal creams work?

A: Tattoo removal creams have not been proven to be effective.

Q: Is it possible to remove permanent makeup tattoos such as eyeliner?

A: Yes it is possible to remove eyeliner tattoo. We insert a metal eye shield to protect the eye and no, the laser does not remove your eyelashes.

Did you know we offer Complimentary Radiation Tattoo Removal? Arbutus Laser Center Supports National Radiation Mark Removal Program

Arbutus Laser Centre has volunteered in the New Beginnings: Radiation Mark Removal Program, a national philanthropic campaign, coordinated by the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS), offering free radiation mark removal for cancer patients.

“Although I have been removing radiation marks at no cost for the past 25 years, I am excited about being part of this new program which will hopefully reach more people” commented Dr. Gerald Boey (Founder of Arbutus Laser Centre).

Arbutus Laser Centre has joined over 150 certified ASLMS members who have volunteered to remove radiation marks (a.k.a. tattoos) absolutely free of charge for cancer survivors so that they can have the new beginning they deserve.

Physicians at Arbutus Laser Centre are ASLMS members in good standing to ensure that patients receive the very best treatment.

Patients who wish to take advantage of this very special offering must simply contact Arbutus Laser Centre to schedule a consultation. Patients must provide an official letter from their oncologist or radiologist approving the removal of any radiation marks or tattoos.

This free service is open to all cancer patients and is not limited to breast cancer or lymphoma survivors. The program will be offered year-round.

To schedule a free consultation, email or call 604-731-5512.