Laser Tattoo Removal: Frequently Asked Questions

Does laser tattoo removal hurt?

Laser tattoo removal may cause discomfort, which has been likened to the feeling of a rubber band snap. The pain is usually more tolerable than the pain associated with tattoo application, however.

After each treatment, the skin may feel sunburned and sensitive. Many tattoo removal clinics offer a topical anesthetic or injections of local anesthetic if the patient is uncomfortable.

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How long do laser tattoo removal treatments usually take? How many treatments are necessary?

These figures depend on a number of factors such as the size and age of the tattoo, the colors used, what type of laser must be used, skin type, health of the patient, among other factors.

Most treatments may take anywhere from a few minutes to two hours. Results are not immediate; after the treatment, the tattoo fades over a series of weeks to months.

One month intervals between treatments are common. Most tattoos require between three and eight treatments. Some tattoos may require more sessions. A tattoo removal specialist will decide on how may treatments are necessary. Most tattoos are significantly reduced after the first treatment.

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What are the success rates of laser tattoo removal?

Laser tattoo removal has an excellent success rate. Since each tattoo is unique, no clinic can guarantee 100% success. Success depends on many factors, including the colors in the tattoo, the age of the tattoo, and whether it was done by a professional artist.

Patients with lighter skin types usually experience better results. A tattoo removal specialist will be able to provide an idea of what results may be realistic.

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What risks are associated with laser tattoo removal?

Laser tattoo removal is relatively safe for most patients. Most tattoos are removed with little or no scarring.

The risk of infection is extremely low when post-treatment instructions are followed. There is also a slight risk of hyperpigmentation (the skin in the affected area becoming darker than usual) or hypopigmentation (the skin in the affected area becoming lighter than usual).

Other side effects include:

  • Blistering
  • Swelling
  • Scabbing
  • Change in skin texture

To reduce risks, it is important to research the medical experience of the individual performing each treatment and to seek the care of trained medical professionals who use well-maintained equipment.

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How much does laser tattoo removal cost?

The cost of laser tattoo removal varies, depending on the size, color(s), and complexity of the tattoo. Prices generally start at around $100-150 per square inch per treatment. To find out how much laser tattoo removal may cost, consult with a tattoo removal specialist in your area.

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How long is the average recovery time?

Post-treatment, most patients may return to their daily activities immediately. Following care instructions closely is important and certain activities may be limited due to the nature of the treatment (such as avoiding sun exposure and refraining from intense physical activity that involves the treated area) to ensure proper healing.

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