tattoo removal healing process fading tattoo

The Laser Tattoo Removal Healing Process

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Everything takes time to heal. The laser tattoo removal healing process is worth bearing if you have a tattoo that no longer suits you, or that fits your interests and lifestyle. While most people who get tattooed feel the design is the perfect addition to their body at the time, that’s not always the case down the road. Luckily what used to be permanent may successfully be removed when you commit to repeat laser removal treatments.

About Laser Removal

Because laser removal is performed as an outpatient treatment, successful removal can take anywhere between three to twenty laser treatments. The amount of sessions needed depends largely on the size, location, colouring of your tattoo, and laser used. The more sizeable and elaborate the tattoo design, the more likely you’ll be returning for treatments to ensure best results.

Laser removal doesn’t “erase” your tattoo. Instead, it shoots little blasts into your tattoo ink which breaks the pigment up, lending to the redistribution of ink through your blood stream before it is eliminated through pores and body waste. This is why the process can take many attempts. It truly is dependent upon the size and quality of the tattoo to begin with (the better the tattoo, the harder to remove), plus several other factors.

Since you can expect a waiting period of at least four to six weeks in between visits to allow your body time to heal, let’s take a look at what happens during the healing process.

What to Expect When Healing After Laser Tattoo Removal

Depending on the laser technology used for tattoo removal, healing and recovery times will significantly vary.

Q-Switched lasers are the common devices used for tattoo removal. These models include the Alexandrite, Ruby, and the NdYAG. While all three lasers perform with the same results, the NdYAG may cause more blistering and scabbing than the Ruby or Alexandrite.

Today, the PicoSure is the latest machine in laser technology and it boasts a faster removal time and less discomfort than any other laser treatment on the market. What used to require 15-20 sessions for success, can often be achieved in just 4-6 with PicoSure laser technology.

During laser treatment, your skin will turn a frosty white colour. This is caused by the carbon dioxide being released as a result of laser penetration and surfaces on the upper layer of the skin, which resembles a white frosting. A few hours after treatment your skin may begin to peel and blister which usually takes 3 – 14 days to disappear. These side effects are completely normal and expected as your body is quickly trying to heal itself, shedding the damaged outermost layer of skin. Some people may experience very light bleeding as well.

white skin after laser tattoo removal treatment

Your laser technician should apply an ice pack to help sooth the treated area as shown in the image below.

ice pack on tattoo after laser treatment

After several days have passed, all physical effects have usually subsided. Now you’ll just play the waiting game as your body properly disposes of the ink pigments, which usually takes 6-8 weeks. Only after such time, laser treatment can be performed again.

What About Scars?

Scarring is a common concern with the laser tattoo removal process. Luckily scarring instances are minimal and happen in less than two percent of laser removal cases. Usually when scarring happens it is light, and can be minimized with Vitamin E oil and over the counter silicone scar patches, so long as your skin is fully healed from the laser treatment. When in doubt, always seek professional advice before attempting to treat scar tissue at home.

To lower your chances of scarring and help your skin repair yourself after removal, remember to drink plenty of water, get adequate sleep, and quit smoking. All three of these tips will naturally help boost your body’s immune system and assist in the process of pigment elimination and skin repair. Refer to our tattoo removal aftercare post for more advice.

no smoking sign

Once your tattoo is treated successfully, you can consider tattooing a new design, or revel in what is now your clean canvas. Should you opt for body art in the future, be sure you plan it out, find a professional and reputable tattoo artist, tread carefully with your design, and REMEMBER the cost of laser tattoo removal. After all, some mistakes just shouldn’t be made twice!


If you have any further questions about laser tattoo removal, be sure to contact our office at: T: 01282 421174 or email You can also LIKE our Facebook page and FOLLOW us on Twitter to stay up to date with our latest case studies and blog posts. 

Andrea Catton

Andrea has over over 40 years experience delivering beauty and skin care treatments and has over 20 years laser experience. Regarded as the number one PicoSure laser technician in the UK, Andrea is trained and qualified to use Aculight HR IPL, Chromolite IPL, N-Lite laser, Ellipse, Episoft MD IPL, ADL Sapphire Nd:YAG, RevLite & PicoSure. Andrea is also a member of the British Institute & Association of Electrolysis, British Medical Laser Association and is fully qualified to teach IPL & laser hair removal.

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