How painful is tattoo removal?

How painful is tattoo removal?  The thought of this question remains a nightmare to many who wish to get rid of their tattoos. However, you don’t have to worry for the perfect answer is right before you.

People have different reasons they get tattoos and in the same vein have reasons to get them removed. However, the question now is how painful is tattoo removal?

Most people believe that tattoo removal is unbearable, however, the story is different. Most patients say that the sensation of removal is comparable to having a tattoo applied.

Whenever how painful is tattoo removal is discussed with patients, the pain is relatively manageable and tolerable most usually say. Although, it requires enough time and effort to encourage patients who are very concerned about sensitivity.

how painful is tattoo removal

Most tattoo artists offer some form of soothing to the skin during and after the treatment as we will discuss later in this article. These soothing procedures allow your practice to stay competitive, provide better patient care, and have higher patient satisfaction overall.

Introduction to how painful is tattoo removal

How painful is tattoo removal is an essential piece for anyone who seeks to know the pain perception involved in removing tattoos.

The procedure does come with some degree of pain; like bee sting sensation which could be compared to the flicking of an elastic band against the skin,”   according to Dr. Rekha Tailor.

Normally, the pain from tattoo removal goes away within a few hours although if the sensation continues for several days after tattoo removal treatment, do not hesitate to contact the tattoo artist.

Different ways of tattoo removal

There are different ways to remove an unwanted tattoo from your body however, the procedure chosen is dependent on the patient’s preference, nature of tattoo, and the tattoo artist.

In this article of different ways of tattoo removal, different ways of tattoo removal are listed below:

  • Laser tattoo removal
  • Surgical excision tattoo removal
  • Chemical peel tattoo removal
  • Dermabrasion tattoo removal

Laser tattoo removal on how painful is tattoo removal

Among the ways to remove tattoos, lasers are the most commonly used in recent times. The use of lasers helps to break up these ink particles into smaller pieces that can be removed by the immune system.

how painful is tattoo removal

Laser treatments work by targeting the ink particles in the skin with highly concentrated light waves that heat up the ink particles and cause them to fragment into smaller particles that are able to be easily eliminated by the normal physiological response.

Surgical excision tattoo removal

Surgical excision might require the use of local, regional, or even general anesthesia depending on the size and location of the tattoo. A surgical scar will be created by this type of tattoo removal.

This method of tattoo removal is best used for small tattoos and may not be practical for very large tattoos because the skin where the tattoo is located is removed and the surrounding skin is then stitched together.

Chemical peel tattoo removal

This is the use of a chemical called Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to remove tattoos. This chemical peels the outer layers of the skin, and with them, the tattoo inks.

However, this procedure may be mildly painful but typically does not require the use of an anesthetic.

Dermabrasion tattoo removal

As the name implies dermabrasion involves the use of a medical grinding tool that is used to remove the outer layers of the skin in a controlled manner. The intent is to remove the layers of the skin that contain the ink particles, thereby removing the tattoo.

This procedure is painful and because of this, is typically performed with either a local, regional, or even a general anesthetic as in the case of surgical excision.

Factors that determine how painful tattoo removal could be

In determining these factors, we take into consideration the most commonly used way of removing tattoos in recent time which is by the use of laser. In this article on how painful is tattoo removal every factor listed is based on laser removal.

  • Personal pain tolerance
  • The surface area of the tattoo
  • Age of the tattoo
  • Location of a tattoo on the body
  • Tattoo ink color
  • The number of sessions you’ve had
  • The mental state of the patient
  • professionalism

Personal pain tolerance

In this article on how painful is tattoo removal, personal pain tolerance is a determining factor in patients.

No matter how mild pain is, some people feel it more than others because pain tolerance varies with individual differences.

The surface area of the tattoo

How large and deep a tattoo is will also determine how painful tattoo removal will be. Compared to a smaller tattoo, the pain involved in a larger tattoo could be slightly high.

Age of the tattoo

How long a tattoo has lasted goes a long way in the ease of removal. Mind you, the easier it is for removal, the less painful it becomes.

Generally, older tattoos are easier to remove than newer ones because in the older ones some of the ink particles might have been absorbed and eradicated by the immune system whereas the freshly tattooed skin has all the ink in full.

Location of a tattoo on the body

This is an important factor to consider when thinking of how painful is tattoo removal. Some parts of the body with higher or enriched nerve endings have higher pain receptor cells therefore pain perception is higher in those areas.

Areas like the extremities, head, joints, and face tend to be more painful in tattoo removal than other areas with fewer nerve endings like the muscle-rich areas like the thigh.

Tattoo ink colour

Is no doubt that the colour of ink used for tattoo goes a long way in determining how difficult and painful it will be in its removal.

Darker colours are easily removed with a laser than lighter colours therefore, the pain involved in removing a lighter colour is slightly higher compared to the pain involved in removing a darker colour.

The number of sessions involved

This factor is dependent on other factors like the ink color and thickness of the tattoo. Patients often say the process gets easier after each laser tattoo removal session.

The mental state of the patient

The mind is a big factor in pain perception, when the mind is relaxed and there is no fear, tattoo removal becomes a smooth ride. What happens when you are stressed and the mind is not at rest? you have higher pain perception.


The technical know-how of a tattoo artist will go a long way in pain management. Having a good tattoo artist get your tattoo removed will be more comfortable and less painful than having the procedure with less experience in the job.

A professional in the field knows the right tool to use and when to use such a tool and also the perfect procedure for a particular tattoo type.

It would interest you to know; The pain involved in a larger tattoo

Does tattoo removal leave scars?

Does tattoo removal leave scars? This is among the frequently asked question by the general public. That is why you have to talk with your tattoo removal provider and know the likely outcomes of your procedure.

It is essential to note that any scarring that remains after a tattoo removal procedure is often leftover from when the tattoo was originally applied.

how painful is tattoo removal

When the proper laser protocols and patient aftercare are utilized, it’s very uncommon for a patient to scar from a laser treatment.

However, scars are very common in the other ways or methods of tattoo removal like chemical and surgical excision which is why most people recommend the laser removal method.


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