Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Blog, Tattoo Removal

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Laser tattoo removal does involve a level of pain, but this will depend on various factors. Compared to dermabrasion, excision, or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) tattoo removal, laser offers a less painful option for removing an unwanted tattoo. 

We highlight a few of the factors that can influence the level of discomfort experienced during laser tattoo removal

Tattoo Location

Each part of the body has a different sensitivity to pain. Areas with thinner skin or closer to bones, like the ankles, wrists, or collarbones, can be more sensitive. Tattoos on fleshier and more muscular parts like the thigh, arm, or back might be less uncomfortable during the removal process.

Individual Pain Threshold

Everyone’s tolerance to discomfort is different. This is a highly individual factor and can influence how painful you find the procedure. If you found the tattooing process painful, you may want to discuss pain management options with your specialist before the removal.

Ink Type and Colour

The type and colour of ink used in your tattoo can also affect how much the removal process might hurt. Some colours are more challenging to remove, potentially requiring a higher-intensity laser. The denseness and depth of the ink can also impact the level of discomfort.

Laser Technology

The type of laser technology used can influence the comfort level during the process. Advanced lasers such as PicoSure and PicoWay offer decreased levels of pain during the laser tattoo removal session. Patients have described the experience to be like ‘being pinged with an elastic band’. 

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work

Wondering how does laser tattoo removal work? Advanced lasers utilise ultra-short light pulses and photomechanical principles to remove tattoos.  

When the light energy encounters the tattoo ink, it shatters the pigment particles into fragments. It targets only the tattoo ink and avoids the surrounding skin tissue, minimising the risk of damage. Over time, your body naturally processes these fragments and eliminates them.

This process typically requires multiple sessions. The exact number of sessions to remove the tattoo depends on the tattoo size, colour, and skin type. A consultation with a professional will help determine how many sessions you will need. 

Preparing For Laser Tattoo Removal

Before you go for your tattoo removal session, there are a few things you can do to ensure a smooth and comfortable process. 

Here’s how you can prepare for your laser tattoo removal: 

Schedule a Consultation

You will need to schedule a consultation with your laser specialist. They will guide you through the process and provide advice tailored to your skin and tattoo. A professional will help set clear expectations about the discomfort involved. 

Avoid Sun Exposure

Try to limit sun exposure on the area receiving treatment for at least two weeks before your session. Sunburned or tanned skin can be more sensitive, potentially increasing discomfort during the removal process.

Consider Skin Care Products

Gentle exfoliation and moisturising in the weeks leading up to the procedure can also help prepare your skin. Avoid any harsh products that may irritate your skin. If you are unsure which products to use, consult with your specialist.

Patch Test

You will need to have a patch test performed before your laser tattoo removal session. A patch test can help the specialist determine how your skin reacts to the laser. By performing a patch test, the specialist can assess which laser settings are most effective for your particular tattoo.


You will need to shave the treated area on the day of your laser tattoo removal session. This will prevent the lasers from burning your hair or damaging your hair follicles. 

Clean Skin

You must arrive at your laser tattoo removal treatment with clean skin. This means no moisturiser, sunscreen, or oil. You should also not use any fake tan on the skin 2 to 3 weeks before the treatment. 

Anaesthetic Cream

If you found the patch test uncomfortable, you can apply an anaesthetic cream before the treatment. This will assist in reducing the level of discomfort. 

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare

The key to successful tattoo removal is good aftercare. Post-treatment, you may experience some redness and swelling. These are normal reactions and will subside after a few days.

To help your skin heal, keep the Tegaderm bandage on for as long as possible. This will help reduce friction and the risk of scarring. 48 hours after the treatment, you can cleanse the area with a gentle soap. Keep the area moisturised with Vaseline for at least 1 week after the session. 

You will need to protect the area from sun exposure to prevent pigmentation changes. Once the area is healed, you can massage Bio Oil on the treated area to assist the healing process. 

Laser Tattoo Removal

Pulse Light Clinic offers efficient and successful laser tattoo removal in London. 

We use PicoSure and PicoWay lasers, the pinnacle of laser technology that offers less painful tattoo removal. These lasers effectively remove tattoos of any colour in fewer sessions. The faster recovery after each treatment allows for speedy tattoo removal. 

Book a consultation with Pulse Light Clinic today for your laser tattoo removal.


Is laser tattoo removal worth it?

If you are regretting a tattoo or it is causing you emotional distress, then removal can be a liberating process. 

How long does laser tattoo removal hurt for?

The discomfort experienced during laser tattoo removal is brief and usually lasts only for the duration of the treatment. Post-treatment, any soreness typically subsides within a few days with proper care and attention.

Does laser tattoo remove a tattoo completely?

Yes, laser tattoo removal can completely remove a tattoo. However, the success rate depends on several factors like ink colours, tattoo age, and the individual’s health. A professional consultation will provide the most accurate prediction.

Can you tattoo over laser tattoo removal?

Yes, you can tattoo over laser tattoo removal once your skin has healed completely. It is essential to discuss this with both your tattoo artist and laser specialist to ensure your skin is ready.

Does laser tattoo removal leave scars?

There is minimal risk of laser tattoo removal scars. However, factors like improper aftercare or a predisposition to keloid scarring can increase this risk. Following aftercare instructions diligently can significantly reduce the possibility of scarring.