So, does laser tattoo removal hurt more than getting the initial tattoo? Many people describe the sensation as feeling like a hot rubber band is being repeatedly snapped against your skin. Everyone experiences pain differently and has a different pain tolerance. The truth is that there is no way to completely escape the fact that laser tattoo removal will be an uncomfortable experience. Although, there are some ways to make tattoo removal hurt less.
The placement of your tattoo will also make quite the difference to the level of tattoo removal pain experienced. For example, lasering your bottom would be much less painful than lasering somewhere like your neck. Here’s an easy way to roughly gauge the pain level of getting your tattoo removed. The further away the tattoo is from your bones or nerve endings, the less discomfort you’ll feel. Getting laser tattoo removal on your spine for example would likely be a very unpleasant experience. Yet again, this ultimately will come down to an individuals pain tolerance.
The science behind getting a tattoo removed is quite amazing. In order to remove the ink, lasers target the tattoo pigment in the dermis layer of skin which is the second layer of skin, below the epidermis. The laser is able to achieve ink removal by radiating laser light beams which break down the tattoo pigment particles. From then, these particles get recognised as waste by the lymphatic system and your body extracts the particles from your skin into your immune system to naturally excrete the pigment fragments.
Now that we’ve established that laser tattoo removal is inescapably a painful process, we can mention some of the ways which we can minimise the pain experienced whilst having your tattoos removed. The majority of the tattoo removal pain is caused by the continuous light energy exposure from the laser on the skin which creates a hot sensation. To counteract this, during your treatment you’ll notice that the laser machine used also puffs cold air at -35 degrees onto your tattoos. This works to cool the skin whilst the tattoo removal is taking place. Another way to make the tattoo removal hurt less is by applying a numbing cream. Most laser technicians will provide a topical anesthetic which they’ll apply to your tattoos roughly 30 minutes before the treatment or recommend that your purchase and apply the cream to your tattoos prior to arriving to your appointment. Remember that your laser technician will strive to do their best in order to keep the pain experienced to a minimum. Please voice your concerns and discomfort to your technician in order to allow them to either give you a breather during the session or react appropriately to your concerns.
How long does tattoo removal take?
Each tattoo removal session needs to be spread approximately 4-6 weeks apart. This time allows your immune system to sufficiently process the pigment particles from your tattoo before your next session. Depending on how large your tattoo is, what colours it’s made up of and how heavy the ink is, it can take 3 to 10 sessions to completely remove the tattoo. The length of each laser removal session can vary from 10 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the tattoos being removed. For reference, a medium sized tattoo of 10 square centimetres will typically last 10 to 15 minutes. Something to keep in mind is that you don’t have to completely remove your tattoo if you’re planning to get a cover up artwork done. Many people with heavy ink aiming for a coverup will only get a few laser sessions done in order to lighten the piece so that they have more artistic freedom in the coverup artwork. Overall, the removal process can take anywhere from 8 to 60 weeks depending on your desired results.
How much does it cost to have a tattoo removed?
The cost of laser tattoo removal is completely dependent on the size of the work you wish to remove and how many sessions are required to achieved your desired results. The starting price per session is typically $65 for a 2cm squared tattoo and can vary anywhere up to $600 per session for an A4 sized tattoos. For a tattoo larger than A4 to be removed, you will need to arrange a consultation with your technician to get a custom quote.
All in all, does laser tattoo removal hurt? Yes. Note that the majority of people who get laser tattoo removal done do not regret it and will say that the pain was worth the out come. It is ultimately up to you to decide whether the pain is worth it, much like you decided when you originally got the tattoo. Don’t forget that your technician will do everything in their power to make sure you have the most pleasant experience possible, so let them know when your in discomfort!