The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Removal


If you’re considering tattoo removal, this extensive guide will help and educate you in the process and set your expectations.  Because laser tattoo removal is a medical procedure, research should play a role in your decision.  Recognizing how time-consuming that can be, we’ve made it easier by answering the most important questions about tattoo removal so that you can make an informed decision. 


How does it work?

Laser tattoo removal is achieved through multiple treatments that take place over a period of time.  During each session, a trained medical professional utilizes a multi-wavelength laser that fires pulses of high intensity light beams at the area where the tattoo is located.  The laser light breaks up the tattoo pigment and dissolves it into smaller particles, which are flushed through the body’s immune system over time.  Our office recommends treatments spaced at 8 weeks apart to give the body ample time to heal and process the ink.  During following treatments, remaining particles are broken down into smaller components, which the body continuously breaks down.  With each treatment and the time passes in between, the tattoo becomes lighter, and eventually disappears.


How effective is laser tattoo removal?

Until recently, surgery was the only effective method for tattoo removal.  However, it was painful and carried risks of infection and severe scarring.  Fortunately, over the last decade, laser tattoo removal has supplanted surgical removal and is now considered the gold standard of tattoo removal because it’s both safe and effective.  Most tattoos can be completely removed after a series of treatments.  Any reputable provider should be upfront and tell you whether your tattoo is a candidate for complete removal or whether there will be any remaining ink visible.


How long will it take to remove?

Some patients are interested in removing their tattoo entirely while others are looking to simply lighten a tattoo so they can get another in its place.  The number of sessions it takes to remove depends on a multitude of factors that hinge on the individual and tattoo.  The most influential factors include:

-Your skin tone

-Location of the tattoo

-Amount of ink in the tattoo

-Colors of ink in the tattoo

-Quality of ink and depth of ink

Can all colors of tattoo ink be removed?

Most tattoo ink colors can be removed, but certain colors may take more treatments.  Blacks and reds are usually the quickest to resolve.  Blues and greens are more challenging and will take longer, but in most cases they can be completely removed or at least faded significantly.  Yellows tend to be very resistant, but on lighter skin types they can often by faded to the point where they are difficult to see at all.  Multiple colors tattoos will fade at varying degrees during the process. 


How long to treatments take?

The length of time each treatment takes is determined solely by the size of the tattoo, and can range anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes.  A tattoo the size of a credit card can take less than a minute, while a sleeve tattoo can take up to 10-15 minutes.  Following a treatment, we apply a healing cream to your tattoo, which requires additional time.  We usually recommend planning to spend between 20-30 minutes for your appointment. 


Does it hurt?

Laser tattoo removal can be uncomfortable but it is very tolerable.  The extent of which it is painful depends on your nerve sensitivity, threshold for pain and the location of your tattoo.  As many patients describe it, treatments may feel like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin at a rapid pace.  Fortunately, treatments are fast, and take far less time than it took to get your tattoo originally.  We offer a zimmer cooler device, free of charge, that will apply very cool air to the area, which makes treatments more comfortable.  Once your treatment is over, the majority of pain will subside and the resulting feeling is similar to a sunburn and lasts only a few days.


How much does it cost?

Many people are surprised to find that tattoo removal is more affordable than they initially thought.  The majority of providers charge by the tattoo size.  The only way to get an accurate estimate is to book a free consultation at our office.  During the appointment, one of our nurses will measure your tattoo, estimate the number of treatments it will take to remove, and provide you with a detailed treatment plan.  An average size tattoo (credit card size) should cost about $140-150 per treatment.  We also offer a Buy 4 and get a 5th treatment FREE.  This is a great deal for customers needing 4+ treatments. 


Are there any side effects?

After each treatment, the skin around the tattoo will most likely be sensitive.  Common side effects are redness and swelling, and sometimes blistering and scabbing.  Keeping the area clean and applying a topic treatment on a daily basis, will help with healing.  Half of the removal process depends on the clinic and the other half is how well you take care of the area after you leave the clinic. We will provide you with simple to understand aftercare instructions so you will know exactly what to do.


Does technology matter?

Technology is important, but it is not as simple as selecting a clinic that has the newest laser on the market.  There are always new technologies emerging, and some are not proven yet.  Because it takes multiple treatments over tome to remove a tattoo, it typically takes years to accumulate enough case studies to prove that a new technology is dramatically better than an existing one.  There is always a company claiming that their laser is the newest and most revolutionary, but it has been years since we’ve seen anything that changes the length of time a tattoo takes to remove.  It doesn’t meant that we won’t eventually experience advances in that area, it simply means that there are a lot of companies making unsubstantiated claims.  Your best bet is to choose a clinic that is dedicated to tattoo removal, uses proven, state-of-the-art devices with multiple wavelengths of light, and has performed thousands and thousands of treatments.


About Tattoo Bill’s Tattoo Removal

Tattoo Bill’s is the industry leader in tattoo removal and has performed nearly 26,000 treatments since 2008.  We are a medical practice office, licensed with the NC Medical Board consisting of a team of highly trained medical professionals – including a Physician, Nurse Practitioner and Certified Laser Specialist ensuring our patients receive the very best medical treatments available in the industry.  We also provide the industry’s best guarantee while using the most award winning laser on the market.  If you are interested in considering Tattoo Bill’s Tattoo Removal for your laser tattoo removal, we offer complimentary half-hour consultations, which can be booked by calling 704-587-9800.