Comprehensive Guide To Safe and Effective Laser Tattoo Removal

Approximately 30% of Aussies have at least one tattoo, with nearly half of the millennials sporting some ink. However, 25% of these individuals regret their tattoos.

Fortunately, laser tattoo removal offers a solution, significantly fading unwanted tattoos with minimal side effects.

Laser tattoo removal utilizes lasers to emit high-intensity light pulses targeting the tattoo ink while sparing the surrounding skin.

As the ink absorbs these light pulses, it heats up, breaking into tiny fragments that the immune system can eliminate, gradually fading the tattoo.

The Laser Tattoo Removal Process

Laser tattoo removal works by breaking down tattoo pigments with a concentrated light beam.

Black ink is the easiest to treat as it absorbs all laser wavelengths, while other colors require specific lasers based on their pigment.

First, consult a trained professional who will assess your tattoo and guide you through the process.

The number of treatments needed varies based on the tattoo’s age, size, and colors, as well as your skin tone and the ink’s depth.

During A Session, Expect The Following

  1. The professional will address any questions and ensure you’re comfortable.
  2. They might photograph your tattoo for comparison.
  3. You’ll wear protective eyewear, and the area will be cleaned.
  4. If you have darker skin, a cooling gel or cold pack may be applied.
  5. Numbing cream or medication will be used to minimize discomfort.
  6. A test patch might be done to determine the best laser settings.
  7. The laser will pass light pulses through your skin, breaking down the ink. Multiple passes may be necessary.
  8. Smaller tattoos require fewer pulses, while larger ones need more. Multiple treatments are typically necessary for complete removal, with the tattoo lightening after each session.

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Laser tattoo removal can be uncomfortable, but various pain management options are available. Numbing cream or injections are commonly used, and a test patch can help gauge pain levels.

Post-treatment, your skin might be sore or swollen. Ice packs can alleviate discomfort, and over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be recommended. Pain levels vary based on tattoo location, laser type, and individual pain tolerance.

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare

Proper aftercare is crucial for healing and preventing complications. Follow these tips:

  • Apply ice packs to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Use antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and soothe the skin.
  • Keep the area bandaged and dry until healed.
  • Apply petroleum jelly or unscented moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Clean the area gently with unscented soap and avoid soaking it.
  • Wear loose clothing to prevent irritation.
  • Use sunscreen and avoid sun exposure to prevent pigmentation changes.
  • Refrain from picking at scabs or blisters to avoid scarring.

Potential Side Effects

Laser tattoo removal is generally safer than methods like excision, dermabrasion, or salabrasion, as it targets only the pigment. However, there are potential side effects:

  • Infection: Keep the area clean and use antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Contact your doctor if you notice swelling, redness, or pus.
  • Incomplete Removal: Some colors may not fully disappear. Blue and black inks respond well, while yellow, red, and white are more challenging.
  • Skin Color Changes: Hypopigmentation (lighter skin) or hyperpigmentation (darker skin) can occur, particularly in people with darker skin.
  • Scarring: Avoid picking at healing skin and protect it from sunlight to minimize scarring risks.
  • Allergic Reactions: Rarely, laser treatment can cause allergic reactions due to chemicals in the ink, particularly red ink.

Minimizing Scarring Risks

While laser removal has a lower risk of scarring than other methods, it can still happen. Avoid scratching or picking at treated skin and keep it clean and protected from the sun.

Finding A Qualified Doctor

Choose a reputable dermatologist or cosmetic surgery center for your treatment. Get recommendations from your primary care doctor, especially if you have darker skin, and ensure the professional has experience with your skin type.


Laser tattoo removal is a safe and effective way to remove unwanted tattoos, using lasers to gradually break down ink without damaging the surrounding skin.

Multiple sessions are required, and while complete removal isn’t guaranteed, significant fading is achievable.

Consult with a qualified professional, understand the process, and follow aftercare instructions to ensure the best results and minimize risks.