6 Most Frequently Asked Questions from Tattoo Removal Patients

There are a number of common misconceptions about laser tattoo removal circulating the web these days. These misunderstandings are likely due to the side effects of original lasers from decades ago.

Even though laser technology has advanced over the years, some misconceptions have managed to stick around, discouraging some from seeking out this kind of treatment.

Don’t get stuck with a tattoo you don’t want simply because you’ve been given false information. Lasers are far more developed these days and your treatments are completely customizable based on your skin color, skin type, tattoo quality, and tattoo colors. These are the most frequently asked questions about laser tattoo removal. The answers will break any of the misconceptions you might have about these treatments.

1. Does laser tattoo removal leave a scar?

Understandably, anyone seeking out laser tattoo removal treatments wants their skin to look as close to their natural tone as possible. Your results depend on several factors. First, if there is any preexisting scarring from when the tattoo was done, which will remain after your laser tattoo removal is complete? The degree of this scarring ranges from severe to mild and often affects the skin’s texture more than its appearance. If you’re unsure if your tattoo has any current scarring, you can ask your licensed medical laser technician at your consultation appointment.

The second factor that determines whether or not you will experience scarring is what kind of laser is used. Older laser technology would often remove the skin’s pigment along with the tattoo ink, but things have changed. Using a Q-switched laser will ensure that neither hyperpigmentation nor scarring occurs, as these lasers are able to target the pigment in the tattoo ink without affecting the dermis layer. This is why it’s important to research the laser clinic thoroughly before starting your treatments, and to stay away from laser spas, as they tend to use a general laser for all of the services they offer.

2. Is laser tattoo removal painful?

While laser tattoo removal has gained a reputation for being painful, it’s only about as unpleasant as getting the tattoo in the first place. It’s completely bearable and is often compared to the sensation of a rubber band snapping against the skin. If this is something that worries you, a topical numbing cream can be used to increase your comfort. Additionally, a cryogenic cooling device is often used during your laser tattoo removal session, numbing the skin’s surface with cold air. Ask during your consultation what options are available to you at the laser clinic so you can be prepared for your first appointment.  Is laser tattoo removal painful has been one of the most commonly asked questions we hear.

3. Can laser hair removal be used to revise a tattoo?

If you’re looking to cover up a tattoo or part of a tattoo, lasers can make the process much easier. Instead of getting a large coverup to hide bad artwork or an ex’s name, you can use laser tattoo removal to lighten it a bit or completely remove a section of the image. This will make things much easier for your tattoo artist as they won’t have to come up with an elaborate design that will hide your unwanted ink. It will also give you more flexibility with your cover-up or revision.

4. How long will it take to remove my tattoo?

The most common question people have when seeking out laser tattoo removal is how long the entire process will take. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so simple. There are a number of factors that affect how long it takes for your tattoo’s ink to completely fade away. Since laser treatments break up the ink and rely on the body to eliminate these particles by means of our waste, a healthy immune system will speed up the process. Another minor factor that affects the speed of your tattoo removal is the distance it is from the heart, as ink that is closer will be carried into the bloodstream and eliminated faster.

The most important factor when determining how long it will take is the tattoo itself. Black ink tends to break up into particles and fade faster than colored ink. The quality of the tattoo is also an important factor, so if you’re trying to get rid of an amateur tattoo you’re in luck. When a tattoo is poorly done, they tend to be easier to get rid of. On average, most people require at least five laser tattoo removal treatments. Since the skin needs time to heal, your laser sessions need to be scheduled at least 10 weeks apart, which should be considered when estimating how long your removal will take.

5. Will I experience any side effects?

Most people will experience redness, slight swelling, and a stinging sensation around the treated area, similar to a mild sunburn. This can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the level of your skin sensitivity. Occasionally, laser tattoo removal will result in blisters or scabbing, both of which should be left alone. As your tattoo begins to heal, some bruising might develop as well. You might not notice a difference in your unwanted ink after your first treatment, as the ink particles deep in the layers of your skin are the first to go.

6. How much does laser tattoo removal cost?

The cost of complete laser tattoo removal depends on how you choose to pay for it. Most laser clinics will allow you to either pay for each treatment individually or buy packages. If you choose to pay for each treatment individually, you should expect to pay a bit more. The cost is determined by the number of square inches your tattoo occupies, taking any empty or lightly shaded areas into consideration. Scheduling your free consultation is the only way to learn exactly how much your tattoo removal will cost.

Curious about how laser tattoo removal works? Watch this video which explains the science behind the procedure:

author avatar
Paul A. Boulos
Dr. Paul A. Boulos is an excellent and versatile cosmetic surgeon, passionate about his vocation and helping others. Dr. Boulos is an alumni of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his General Surgery training at Inspira Medical in Southern New Jersey. He studied and learn under Dr. Joseph Castellano, one of the premier breast and body Cosmetic Surgeons in South Florida. He currently works as a Cosmetic Surgeon at Jolie Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL.