Does Tattoo Removal Hurt: A Complete Guide on The Procedure And Its Safety

Ink is forever, or so the saying goes. But what if you change your mind about that tattoo you got on a whim ten years ago? Enter tattoo removal: a safe and increasingly popular way to erase unwanted ink from your skin. 

Removing a tattoo is a big decision. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and painful. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, there are a few things you need to know first. It is a type of procedure and its contraindications. All this information you can learn in the Ink-Match article.

This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about the procedure, from how it works to how painful it is. So whether you’re thinking of removing a tattoo for personal reasons or a career change, read on for all the information you need before making a decision.

Tattoo removal types

Tattoo removal is the process of lightening or removing the ink from the skin. There are several methods to do this, which include invasive and non-invasive techniques.

Invasive tattoo removal is the most common and effective method. It involves:

  • Laser surgery to break up the ink pigment in your skin. The advantage of this method is that it can remove large or complex tattoos with little risk of scarring.
  • Excision surgery to remove the tattooed skin. This method is generally hardly used as it is reserved for large tattoos or for people who have an allergic reaction to the ink.

Non-invasive tattoo removal methods include dermabrasion, chemical peels, and cryotherapy (freezing). These methods are less effective than surgery and can cause more scarring.

  • Dermabrasion involves using a rotating brush to remove the top layer of skin that contains the tattoo ink. This method can be quite painful and may require multiple sessions to remove all of the tattoo ink.
  • Home tattoo removal kits use chemicals (usually acids) to break up the ink in your tattoo. They are in the form of creams, lotions, and ointments. These kits are typically less expensive than professional treatments but are also less effective and can be more dangerous.

Laser tattoo removal and its effectiveness

Laser tattoo removal is a popular choice for those looking to get rid of their ink. It works by breaking up the ink particles in your tattoo with a high-intensity laser beam. Then the lymphatic system absorbs these small pieces from the body and removes them. 

Nowadays, it is the most effective way to eliminate tattoos of any intensity or age. But you should know that the number of sessions you need will depend on the size and color of your tattoo. Most tattoos will require between four and eight treatments.

Does tattoo removal hurt?

No one can give you a definitive answer to whether tattoo removal hurts because it is different for everyone. Everything depends on several factors:

  • The main factor determining how painful tattoo removal is will be the method used. Surgical methods tend to be more painful than nonsurgical methods. 
  • The size, location, and type of the tattoo also affect how much pain you will experience. Smaller tattoos on less sensitive areas of the body generally cause less pain than larger ones on more sensitive areas.
  • The pain you experience during tattoo removal will depend on your pain tolerance.

In general, people report that the pain from tattoo removal is comparable to the pain they experienced when they got their tattoos. 

Description of the laser tattoo removal procedure

As you already know, the procedure uses a laser to break up the ink in the tattoo, which is then absorbed by the body. Laser tattoo removal usually requires multiple treatments, and each of them can take up to an hour. Some discomfort is associated with the manipulation, but it is generally well tolerated by most people. But if you choose a reputable laser technician with extensive experience removing tattoos. You won’t have any side effects.

Let’s take a closer look at the process of tattoo removal.

Prepare the skin before treatment

The first step is to ensure the skin is ready for treatment. It should be clean and free of any oils or makeup. If needed, you should shave the skin so the laser can more easily target the ink.

If you are concerned about how much pain you will experience during tattoo removal, you can do a few things to help minimize your discomfort. 

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen before your appointment to help reduce any discomfort you may experience. 
  • Apply numbing cream to the treatment area an hour before your laser tattoo removal session. It helps to ensure that the tattoo removal process is as pain-free as possible.

Also, avoid taking drugs and alcohol before manipulating to prevent unpredictable consequences. Also, if you take some medications that can cause bleeding, it will be better to consult with your therapist.

During the procedure

Before the manipulation, the specialist should introduce you to the whole process and warn you about the effects of the procedure. The next step is the manipulation:

  • The doctor will give you goggles to protect your eyes from the light. 
  • He will cover the skin with a local anesthetic to make the session less painful. Additionally, some lasers have a built-in cooling system that helps to reduce any discomfort further.
  • A laser beam passes through the skin to the tattoo pigment. The high-intensity light breaks it into small fragments, then absorbed by the body.

Most people report burning or stinging sensations during laser tattoo removal, which is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medication. 

However, some people may experience swelling, redness, scabbing, and blistering at the treatment site after the procedure. These side effects are usually mild and resolve within a week or two. 

You can typically return to your normal activities immediately after the treatment.

Tattoo removal aftercare

After your tattoo removal session, following your doctor’s instructions for aftercare, is essential. It will help you heal quickly and reduce the risk of infection.

  • Generally, you’ll need to keep the area clean and dry. 
  • You may use an antibiotic ointment or lotion. 
  • It’s also important to avoid picking at the scab that forms over the treated area.
  • And do not expose the area to direct sun to avoid burns.

If you adhere to all the recommendations, the healing process will be painless and unnoticeable.

Pros and cons of laser tattoo removal

Laser treatment is a prevalent manipulation to eliminate an unwanted tattoo. And as with any other procedure, it has pros and cons.

The main advantage of this procedure is that it is the most effective way to remove the tattoo compared to other options. Also, it is relatively safe and suitable for all people if they have no chronic conditions or acute infections and are not pregnant. Besides, you will see positive results after the first session. There is no downtime.  It is convenient for busy people, as you don’t need to postpone any matters.

But there are also some drawbacks to this method that you should be aware of before you make a decision.

  • One of the most significant drawbacks to laser tattoo removal is the cost. It can be quite expensive, especially if you have a large or complex tattoo. The cost will also vary depending on the number of sessions you need and the size of your tattoo.
  • Another downside to laser tattoo removal is that it can be quite painful. Many people report a burning sensation during the treatment; some even say it feels like being hit by a rubber band.
  • There is also a risk of burns and scarring. Especially if the tattoo is on a sensitive area like your face or neck. And because it is an invasive procedure, there is always a risk of infection.

If you’re considering laser tattoo removal, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. And be sure to ask about the cost – laser tattoo removal can be quite expensive.


Tattoo removal is a process that can be both physically and emotionally painful, but it is often worth it for those who are unhappy with their ink. Now, you know more about the methods available on the market. Laser tattoo removal is a safe and effective way to remove unwanted ink. However, it’s important to remember that the procedure has some risks and side effects. Be sure to consult with a qualified medical professional before undergoing treatment.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].