How Many Sessions Does It Take to Remove a Tattoo?

A study found 23% of Americans with tattoos regretted their decision.

Whether it’s a memento from a night out or an incorrectly translated Japanese phrase, there are many reasons we cringe at our inky mistakes.

But what is the process of getting rid of unwanted tattoos? And how many sessions does it take to remove a tattoo?

If you’re unsure, don’t fret. Here’s everything you need to know.  

First, How Does Tattoo Removal Work?

Before we dive into the question “how long does it take to remove a tattoo?”, it’s important to understand the process.  

The laser used to remove tattoos send a pulse of light energy into your skin. As the light energy passes through, it is absorbed by the tattoo ink. The laser then breaks apart the tattoo particles and your immune system removes them.

You’ll notice the tattoo lightens with each laser treatment session until it fully disappears. It’s important to note that dark pigments like navy are easier to remove than lighter colors.

Is It Safe?

Before you Google “how many sessions for laser tattoo removal?”, know that laser tattoo removal technology is safer than other procedures like surgical excision. But it’s important to do your research before removing a tattoo.

Ask questions, for example:

  • How many tattoos have you removed?
  • Can I see pictures of the results?
  • Will that laser be sufficient for my tattoo’s size and color?  

Answers will not only reassure you but the tattoo removal practitioner will tell you how many sessions to remove a tattoo.

Can Anyone Get Their Tattoos Removed?

Luckily, these special lasers can remove tattoos. This is also true for those who have tried to remove the tattoo through other methods and have scarring in the area.

An ideal scenario is a fair-skinned person with a dark-colored tattoo. It’ll take longer to remove tattoos on people with darker complexions as their skin will need greater protection from the laser’s light.

How Many Sessions Will It Take?

The number one question for all patients is “how long to remove a tattoo?” 

Most people need six to eight sessions to remove a tattoo although it depends on its size, the colors, and your skin type. For instance, large tattoos can take up to 10 sessions and tattoos further way from the heart (e.g. on the ankle) take longer because of reduced circulation.

Your body may take over a year to completely eliminate the ink as the skin needs time to heal between treatments and for your immune system to flush the ink away. The minimum you should wait is six weeks between laser sessions. 

You can’t squeeze treatments together as it can permanently damage your skin so listen to your tattoo removal practitioner. If you’re still worried about the question “how long does tattoo removal take?”, know the average tattoo will take at least eight months to remove. 

During the process, you must drink plenty of water, exercise, and massage the treated area once it’s healed. Adopting a good aftercare routine will give you the best results. 

Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Most patients say the sensation is like having a tattoo applied, so it’s a bearable pain. Many tattoo removal practitioners try to soothe the skin during the removal process. For instance, skin numbing will help you during the procedure. 

Sometimes this is done by a powerful chilling machine that blows chilly air on the specific area before, during, and after treatment. Other options include ice packs and topical numbing creams to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.  

Will Tattoo Removal Leave a Scar? 

Many patients are concerned about this as they want their skin to look as natural as possible. If there are any scars, it’s most likely leftover from when the tattoo was originally applied by the tattoo artist.

When you’re in the hands of an expert tattoo removal practitioner then there are zero scarrings if you listen to the aftercare tips. For instance, blisters and scabs are part of the healing process so refrain from picking as it’ll result in scarring. 

If you’re not clear about what the healing process entails, ask the tattoo removal practitioner so they can give you the low-down.

What Are the Side Effects?

There are common side effects that are part of the removal process. For instance, some play an important part in the immune response that helps remove ink from the skin.  

The most inevitable side effects will be:

  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Blistering
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hypopigmentation
  • Bruising

Tenderness and redness usually calm down within two days of treatment. Blisters are common 24-hours after a session and even though they look big, they are expected. Scabs, bruising, and blisters can take at least a week or more to heal. 

Another side effect is hyperpigmentation which happens when your body’s production of melanin is compromised after a laser treatment. This is because your body overproduces melanin in reaction to the treatment so the affected area looks darker than your natural skin tone.

Hypopigmentation means there’s less melanin because of the laser treatment and the skin looks bleached. Both conditions are temporary and resolve naturally. 

How Many Sessions Does It Take to Remove a Tattoo?

And that’s the answer “how long does it take to remove a tattoo?”. The amount of time depends on many factors like the tattoo’s size, ink color, and your skin type. 

It’s important that you leave enough time between sessions so the treated area can heal before booking your next appointment. You must also follow aftercare instructions to guarantee the best results. Good luck!

If you’re interested in tattoo removal, we’d love to chat. Contact us here for further information.