A very common question that our team is asked by people who are considering undergoing tattoo removal is whether it hurts more than getting the actual tattoo itself!
The answer to this question is highly dependent on a number of varying factors including:
- where the tattoo is located on your body
- how large the tattoo is
- what colour/type of ink has been used
- The surface area that the tattoo covers.
In 2019, laser tattoo removal has come a long way, and is a lot less painful than methods used in years gone by. However, there is still an element of pain associated with the treatment, and responses from individual clients has varied greatly in our experience.
What does laser tattoo removal feel like?
Whilst some people say that the discomfort of laser tattoo removal is far less than that of getting the tattoo in the first place, others, especially those who have the tattoo on a particularly sensitive area of the body, have reported similar levels of pain when comparing the two.
Most clients describe the feeling as getting snapped repeatedly with a small rubber band, while others have reported the sensation to be more like scratching an area of skin that has bad sunburn.
Whatever your tolerance for pain, if you are wanting to remove an unwanted tattoo, it can be reasonably expected that the treatment won’t be entirely without discomfort.
Are certain areas of the body more painful than others?
Areas of the body where a tattoo is less painful, such as well-padded areas like the arms or buttocks, similarly are less painful than areas that are close to bone, such as the fingers or back of the neck, or areas with highly sensitive skin, such as the face or inner elbows or knees. The length of treatment also plays a factor, so larger tattoos overall tend to be more painful than smaller line work.
How does laser tattoo removal work?
Laser tattoo removal machines are designed to deliver an intense focused pulse of light to a targeted area. This light penetrates the layers of the skin to reach the trapped ink, and breaks the ink down into microscopic particles that can be more easily absorbed into the body, and flushed out through the systems that remove foreign matter and toxins from your body. The science behind tattoo removal is continually developing and we are seeing more and more ways to safely and quickly remove tattoos with less pain than more dated removal methods.
Does it hurt afterwards?
This depends on the client and the tattoo being removed, but in most cases the answer is no. Similar to a tattoo you might experience some very minor bleeding following the treatment and the skin may feel a little inflamed and sore to touch, not dissimilar to minor sunburn. After a treatment, you are going to want to be mindful of the area and sure you are doing everything you can to promote healthy healing. Avoiding the sun is very important, as this can worsen any pain due to the inflamed nature of the skin after treatment.
How many sessions will I need to go through to completely remove my tattoo?
There are many factors that determine the number of treatments that you will need to undergo. These include anything from the age of the tattoo (older tattoos are easier to remove than newer tattoos) where you got your tattoo (amateur tattoos tend to be easier to remove, as they are usually not as dense and thorough as professional tattoos) and where your tattoo is located. Areas with high levels of blood circulation tend to respond the best, as after the ink is broken down there is plenty of blood flow to help remove and absorb the particles. Tattoos on areas of low circulation, such as hands and feet tend to need a few more treatments to achieve the best possible results.