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The Complete Guide to Tattoo Removal Chapter 4


Chapter 4: Removing Your Tattoos


The Actual Removal Session

Depending on the size of the tattoo being removed, sessions lengths will vary, but they are typically quite short. At our clinic, the patient usually undergoes laser treatment for 30-45 seconds at a time.

After each laser session, the body must then be allowed to respond and begin to absorb the ink through the immune system. We recommend patients wait between 4-8 weeks between sessions to give the skin time to react to the treatment and heal. The variance, again, has to do with each patient’s physical healing response.

While you may see a difference right away, generally during these windows between treatments you’ll see a gradual fading of the tattoo.

With the PicoSure laser, patients typically require between 4-6 sessions to achieve complete removal. That’s on average. The different factors like body type, tattoo size and color, and other factors all determine how fast your tattoo will be removed.

The Pain

If there is one concern we hear more than anything else, it’s the question: “how bad does tattoo removal hurt?”

The most common answer we hear is “about as painful as getting a tattoo.” This may seem daunting, but remember the typical tattoo removal session takes less than 60 seconds. Even if getting the tattoo hurt a lot, it lasted a lot longer and you survived. Most patients report some level of minimal to moderate pain during laser tattoo removal. Depending on the patient, the discomfort is often quite mild, especially given new technologies available for easing pain.

Everyone has a different skin sensitivity and response to pain, so it’s difficult to say how it will affect patients. But just as the laser technology has made major advancements in recent years, so has the technology to curb the discomfort that may come with the treatment.

First, the development of medical air chillers has gone a long way in reducing the pain of removal. The Zimmer Cryo Cooler Medical Air Chiller blows air on the affected area to cool the skin, and is specifically designed to chill and soothe the epidermis during laser treatments. This chiller is able to apply cold, soothing air to the skin before, during and after the procedure.

Other facilities may use a cooling spray, gel, or apply ice, typically after the treatment. While this is not as effective as a medical air chiller it does help mitigate the discomfort of tattoo removal.

For patients with extremely sensitive skin there are extra lengths that can be taken. Numbing injections and oral medication can be taken if you go to a facility that has a medical doctor on staff overseeing the procedure. If you think you have extra sensitive skin, talk to your tattoo removal specialist.


The aftercare for tattoo removal is similar to what the care recommended after receiving a tattoo, or any other similar superficial skin damage. Your tattoo removal specialist should give you an ointment to apply to the skin, as well as dressing for the area. In the days following, it is recommend that patients keep the area of skin out of the sun as much as possible, and to keep it clean and covered. Patients should try to leave the skin alone as much as possible. A shower or bath is acceptable the day after treatment, but avoid scrubbing the skin.

There may be some itchiness or slight irritation, but patients should not scratch or otherwise interfere with the affected area of the skin. If you must itch it, gently slap it, don’t scratch it. There may be some short-term side effects, including whitening of the skin, slight swelling, and a hot sensation like sunburn. Patients will often see flaking or peeling in the days after a treatment, which is normal as the body works to remove the dye. All of these responses will fade over time as the skin heals up.


Congratulations! If you made it this far in the guide to tattoo removal you now have more than enough information to get started with removing your tattoo.
If you are located in Los Angeles and the surround areas, we here at Pasadena Aesthetic Laser Center would like to offer you a free 10-minute “Laser Tattoo Removal Consultation” which we conduct in person with you in our clinic.

Here‘s what we‘ll do…
* First we‘ll conduct a thorough examination of your tattoo, including a light-sensitivity test of your skin.
* Second we‘ll outline a custom treatment plan that suits your schedule and your budget.

To book your consultation, please click here.

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Pasadena Aesthetic Laser Center (at Skin Deep Laser MedSpa) 425 South Fair Oaks Ave. Pasadena, CA 91105
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