Hundreds of thousands of people get tattoos even though they know they hurt - and still go back for a second, third and fourth.

Laser tattoo removal isn’t exactly as pleasant as going to get a relaxing massage, but if you could handle the tattoo in the first place, having it removed could, in a worst-case scenario, hurt as bad - but definitely not worse.

There are many factors that contribute to just how badly laser tattoo removal hurts, and we’ll be covering them in this article. 

But remember that everyone tolerates different types of pain differently, and what is considered “severe” to someone might feel like nothing at all to the next person.

For peace of mind, it’s worth knowing beforehand what you’re getting yourself into. Being stressed, anxious and tense will definitely not soothe the process. 

Continue reading to prepare yourself before going for your appointment, and prepare your body and mind for the procedure.

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

Tattoo removal lasers pulse light energy into the skin where the tattoo is situated. 

The heat causes the tattoo ink particles to shatter into smaller pieces. 

Every time you receive laser treatment, those particles are broken down smaller and smaller until they are small enough for the white blood cells to pick up and transport to the liver for excretion. 

For a more detailed explanation, make sure to check out our article on how laser removal works.   

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Burn the Skin?

Because the removal process involves lasers and heat, a common misconception about laser tattoo removal is that it burns the tattoo from the skin. 

Some extreme tattoo removal methods burn the first few layers of skin off to remove the ink. While they might work in theory, is leaving blatant permanent scarring better than the tattoo you just tried to remove?

To manage the heat of the laser, we have coupled our state of the art technology with the Koolio Optimal Air Cooling System.

This machine blows cold air onto the skin’s surface as the laser works and can reach up to -40°C. Not only does this minimise any topical pain, but it also reduces the risk of thermal injury, which causes swelling. 

So while laser tattoo removal might hurt or cause pain, it certainly doesn’t burn the skin as some other tattoo removal methods do.

What Does Laser Tattoo Removal Feel Like?

Because people have different pain tolerances, it is easier to compare the feeling of laser removal to different things than try and explain the pain itself. 

The following things are what other people have compared the feeling of the removal process with. How painful you perceive these examples is dependent on your pain tolerance, and the same is true with getting laser removal therapy:

  • having a rubber band snapped against your skin;
  • scratching sunburnt skin;
  • the quick sting of splattered bacon grease; and
  • having a cat lick your skin with its rough, raspy tongue.

Size Plays a Part

Let’s take the example of a cat licking your skin. 

If the tattoo you’re having removed is small and finished in plain black, your entire first session could last less than five minutes. 

Having a cat lick your skin for a short period of time is bearable; it becomes more unpleasant the more it persists. 

Although generalising, you could estimate that every square centimetre of skin takes one minute to laser. So a tattoo 10cm in breadth and length would require about 10 minutes per session.

Compare this to the amount of time it took under the needle to get that tattoo done. 

Because the laser removal process is exponentially faster than having it done in the first place, whatever pain you’re feeling will be over quicker than getting a tattoo. 

Other things that can make the laser tattoo removal treatments longer are:

  • thick, dark linework;
  • lots of different colours (different colour ink pigments require different laser wavelengths, so it takes longer than using just one laser for an entirely black tattoo);
  • it’s a new tattoo (fresh new ink pigment takes longer to break down into small enough particles to excrete);
  • it’s your first session (treatment sessions will become shorter and shorter as the tattoo fades more and more).

Location, Location, Location

Areas of the body with more fat are more protected than areas close to the bone. Having a tattoo removed from your shin will hurt more than having a tattoo removed from your calf. 

Areas that cause a higher level of pain include:

  • Joints (knees, elbows, ankles)
  • Ribs
  • Sternum
  • Fingers
  • Feet
  • Head
  • The area around the armpit

Minimise Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt for Yourself

If you are particularly anxious about the laser tattoo removal treatments, you can prepare yourself beforehand by: 

  • learning and practising deep breathing techniques to minimise anxiety; 
  • caring for your body well before and during treatment (as well as after for best recovery) -  getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol; and
  • taking Tylenol before your session (but not ibuprofen as it can thin the blood and result in excessive bleeding during your session)

Why You Should Choose the Tattoo Removal Institute for Your Laser Treatment

Three key factors make the Tattoo Removal Institute the best, most pain-free choice for your laser tattoo removal procedure.

1) Highly Qualified Staff

To achieve the best results, you need to see a certified laser tattoo removal specialist. We ensure that all of our staff are top-notch in terms of their qualifications and practical skills, as well as their bedside manner and handling of patients. 

2) State of the Art Equipment

The Tattoo Removal Institute is home to the most superior laser tattoo removal system in Australia. We pride ourselves on staying up to date with the latest technology and techniques to implement to achieve the best results for our clients. 

You can read more about our laser removal equipment here.

3) A Passion for What We Do 

We are so passionate about our craft and believe so much in our abilities that we offer clients a price match guarantee. 

If you can find the same level of treatment that we offer elsewhere at a lower price, we will beat that tattoo removal cost. 

We are so dedicated to our clients that if complete tattoo removal is not achieved in the sessions prescribed, we will sponsor your remaining sessions.

Key Takeaways

Laser tattoo removal is only as painful as your tolerance. But, if you could endure getting the tattoo done in the first place, laser removal will take only a fraction of the time. 

An unwanted tattoo situated close to the bone is likely to be more painful to remove than one in a more fleshy area, and larger, more colourful tattoos take longer to remove. 

Choosing the right establishment is the most crucial part of your laser tattoo removal journey. 

The Tattoo Removal Institute is known to be Australia’s premier service to remove tattoos. 

Don’t wait until you have already tried everything else and failed; contact us today for complete tattoo removal at a highly affordable price.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only. Please check with a physician if you have health questions or concerns about interactions or go to the TGA for a comprehensive list of TGA warnings. Although we attempt to provide accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee is made to that effect.