Laser Tattoo Removal: Step-by-Step

I’ve been performing laser tattoo removal since the late 1990s and have removed more tattoos than I can remember. For people who end up with tattoos they no longer want for one reason or another, laser tattoo removal is an effective treatment option. Laser tattoo removal works by using a laser to emit light energy that breaks up the ink into particles that the body can then clear away. With this technology, if you want to get rid of an ex’s name or that random design chosen in the spur of the moment, you’re in luck.

If you have a tattoo you want removed, you should first know what to expect from the process. Here’s what happens, step-by step.  

Step 1: Choose your provider

Go to a reputable clinic or dermatologist with experience in laser tattoo removal. Even though the procedure is relatively straightforward, it still involves powerful lasers on your skin, so you want to be sure you’re in good (and experienced) hands in order to reduce the risk of infection and scarring.

Step 2: The removal session

Before the laser treatment begins, you’ll likely be given a topical or injectable numbing agent to lessen the discomfort. Then your provider will go over the tattoo thoroughly with the laser. The amount of time it takes depends on the size of the tattoo and the number of colors (different colors need to be treated with different wavelengths of light).

Step 3: Let the skin heal for 6-8 weeks

In the hours and days immediately after the session, your skin will likely be sensitive and swollen. You’ll be instructed on how to keep it clean and will probably be told to keep the area bandaged for around three days, after which you’ll simply clean the area gently with soap and water. It’s standard to allow the skin to heal for several weeks after a session before going in for another session.

Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 and 3 as needed

Laser tattoo removal is not a one-and-done procedure. It takes multiple treatments to fully and effectively remove a tattoo. Exactly how many sessions are needed depends on a couple different factors, including the tattoo itself.

New advancements for laser tattoo removal

What’s described above is what typically happens with traditional laser tattoo removal, but there have been some advancements in this area, notably the picosecond laser. It maximizes the breakdown of ink, which means fewer sessions and shorter healing times in between sessions.

Although they’re very effective, they’re not as widely available as other types of lasers. In our clinic, we use a multi-wavelength picosecond laser called the PicoWay laser, which removes multi-colored tattoos more quickly. If you’re near Danville, California, visit our website to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment. You can be confident that your laser tattoo removal is safe, effective, and faster than traditional treatment.

  • Share this story: