Is Tattoo Removal Painful?

May 19, 2021
Is Tattoo Removal Painful?

Tattoos are an interesting way of having a memory or story etched in your mind and on your body forever. However, that is not all that tattoos are for. They can be used as body art, for cosmetic purposes or to hide painful scars. Tattoos are a way of expressing your individuality.

However, at times you might outgrow your tattoo or feel that the memory is painful and no longer wish to associate with it. Did you get it on a whim, on a dare, or in passion?  Was there a mistake in your tattoo or do you not like the way it has aged? 

In such cases, tattoos no longer need to be permanent or forever. You can opt for tattoo removal by speaking to your dermatologist. 

Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Well, the process of removing a permanent tattoo will hurt, but the pain is bearable. Probably much more bearable than the idea of living with your unwanted tattoo, be it from a difficult memory or simply a personal choice.  

In fact, for most people, the sensation of removal is comparable to the one experienced during the application of the tattoo. It is commonly described as the sensation of being snapped by a rubber band.

The level of pain you’ll experience also depends on the location of your tattoo, your threshold for pain, and on the kind of laser removal treatment used. The size of the tattoo you wish to remove also should be considered as it will decide the number of sessions you would require. There are a number of treatment options available including laser treatment, surgical removal and dermabrasion. 

Older and amateur tattoos are easier to remove as the skin has completely healed, while the ones located on extremities are difficult to treat since the circulation is relatively poor. Black pigment absorbs all wavelengths and hence, tattoos with black ink are the easiest to remove, while green, yellow, and fluorescent inks are notoriously difficult to remove. There are different laser options to remove certain pigmented tattoos. The Q-switch is the most common type of laser used to remove tattoos with purple and violet pigment.

What can I do to Reduce my Pain?

What can I do to Reduce my Pain?

While some pain is inevitable, it can be kept to the minimum through the below mentioned simple methods:

  • Ice Packs: Ice packs are an easy and cost-efficient method to numb pain. Although they can be used only before and after treatment, but not during, 5-10 minutes of compression is enough for the skin to be adequately numbed.
  • Topical Numbing Creams: These include benzocaine, lidocaine, and others, available in different strengths and formulations, which when applied about 30-45 minutes prior to treatment, help in numbing the pain.
  • Lidocaine Injections: These are generally not required if QSW NDYAG laser is used in the procedure. In case if Fractional CO2 Laser is used in place of QSW NDYAG laser, which is rarely done, topical anaesthesia is applied. Injectable anaesthesia is not required. 
  • Cold Air Machines: These are used in all high volume tattoo removal clinics. They provide fast and convenient numbing; and unlike ice packs, they can be applied before, during, and after treatment. Zimmer Cryo 6 cold air machine is the gold standard for tattoo removal. It works by blowing cold air (-30°C) on the skin for a few minutes, after which the skin is thoroughly numbed for treatment.

Prior to treatment, it is advisable to discuss all your doubts and discomforts regarding the procedure with your dermatologist and get them resolved to avoid any complications during the procedure. It will also help your doctor to select a tattoo removal plan that is best suited for you and will provide great, painless results.  

Few pointers to be kept in mind to make your tattoo removal process smooth and effective:

  • Drinking plenty of water, avoiding caffeine, and keeping your skin hydrated throughout the course of treatment can also help reduce the pain.
  • If you’re a woman, avoid scheduling your sessions during your menstrual cycles. This is because you will be less tolerant, both in mind and body. Talk to your clinician during your sessions, squeeze the stress ball, and keep yourself distracted. It’ll be over before you know it!
  • The duration of the session depends on how big the size of the tattoo is. For instance, for a professional tattoo of average size, the session can last anywhere between 20-30 minutes. However, for small, bindi-like tattoos, you would be done in just 2-3 minutes. Most tattoos require about 2 sessions between the average duration of one and one-and-a-half months.
  • After treatment, the doctor will apply an antibacterial ointment and a dressing to the area. The skin might feel sunburned and remain red for a few days, or scab may form before healing occurs. The same pain reduction measures described above can be used after treatment as well. In rare cases, there could be a chance of getting mild scar or whitish pigmentation; although these can be avoided if the doctor is experienced and is using a proper machine.
  • You should be careful of not using any harsh chemicals on your skin throughout the course of the treatment to avoid any infection or unwanted complications. Also, avoid scrubbing your skin too hard or staying out in the sun for too long. 
  • Avoid taking a hot bath during the treatment as it can irritate the skin further

ClearSkin Clinic specializes in laser tattoo removal treatment, ensuring minimal pain and discomfort. Besides, only you can determine the cost of erasing an old mistake. Our dermatologists are well trained and equipped with top-notch treatment facilities to make your treatment comfortable and lasting. Under our supervision, we ensure that you get the best care possible.  

For any more doubts or skepticism regarding tattoo removal, feel free to contact us at ClearSkin Clinic. We are happy to consult you and answer your questions.  

Tattoo Removal FAQs

  1. Can you completely remove a tattoo?

With advancements in technology, removing a tattoo completely is possible.

  1. How much will tattoo removal cost?

Tattoo removal cost depends on the size of the tattoo. Design, color and written texts are other factors that influence this cost. For instance, removing small bindi tattoos usually cost around INR 2500/-.  In contrast, a bigger, average professional tattoo of 3-4 inches will cost you around INR 5,000-6,000/-.

  1. Is tattoo removal painful?

Tattoo removal is not more painful than the process of getting one. It can be compared to a tiny sting or the snapping of a rubber band on your skin. However, there are various medications you can take to reduce the pain. 

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