Tattoo Removal 101: What to Expect Before, During, and After the Procedure

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, but there are still times when a person may want to remove their ink. Whether it’s because of a change in aesthetics, or a change in personal tastes, it is important to understand the tattoo removal process. In this article, we’ll explore what to expect before, during, and after the tattoo removal procedure.

Before the Procedure

Before undergoing tattoo removal, it’s important to have a consultation with a reputable dermatologist or laser specialist. During this consultation, they will assess the tattoo and determine the best treatment method for your specific needs. They will explain the process, provide any necessary pre-treatment instructions, and discuss any potential risks.

It’s essential to follow any pre-treatment instructions carefully. For example, your dermatologist may instruct you to avoid the sun or to stop taking certain medications that could increase the risk of complications. In addition, if you have a history of cold sores, your dermatologist may prescribe an antiviral medication to prevent an outbreak during and after the procedure.

During the Procedure

There are several methods of tattoo removal, but the most common is Gold Coast laser tattoo removal. The laser works by emitting intense light pulses that break down the ink particles in the skin. During the procedure, a handheld device is applied directly to the tattoo to deliver the laser pulses.

The length of the procedure depends on various factors, including the size, complexity, and age of the tattoo. The procedure can last anywhere from a few minutes to several sessions spread over several weeks.

The laser removal procedure is known to cause some discomfort. Most dermatologists apply a numbing cream or inject a local anesthetic to minimize pain. Some patients describe the sensation as similar to a snap of a rubber band on the skin.

After the Procedure

Immediately following the procedure, the treated area is covered with a dressing. Your dermatologist may recommend the use of ice packs, over-the-counter pain medication, or a topical antibiotic to alleviate any discomfort or prevent infection.

It is common to experience some side effects after the procedure, including redness, swelling, blisters, and scabbing. These side effects should subside within a few days to a week. It’s important to avoid picking at scabs or blisters, as this can cause scarring or infection.

After laser removal, it’s essential to avoid direct sunlight and apply sunscreen to the treated area. Sun exposure can increase the risk of complications such as hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, which can leave the area looking darker or lighter than the surrounding skin.

Results and Follow-Up

The results of tattoo removal vary depending on the size, color, and age of the tattoo. Some tattoos are entirely removed within a few sessions, while others may require several sessions. It’s essential to have realistic expectations, and your dermatologist will provide an estimate of the number of sessions required to remove the tattoo.

After the tattoo removal procedure, follow-up care is crucial in ensuring that the area heals completely. Additional follow-up sessions may be necessary to achieve the desired results. The dermatologist will provide post-treatment instructions to follow, which may include avoiding certain activities, such as swimming or excessive sweating.

Risks and Complications

While laser tattoo removal is considered a safe procedure, it does carry some risks and complications. These can include infection, scarring, pigment changes, and blistering. These risks can be minimized by choosing a reputable dermatologist or laser specialist, properly preparing for the procedure, and following post-treatment care instructions.


Removing a tattoo can be a challenging decision, but understanding the tattoo removal process can help alleviate any anxiety or concerns. When selecting a dermatologist or laser specialist, it’s essential to choose someone with the necessary experience and training to provide a safe and effective procedure.

Before the procedure, carefully follow any instructions provided by the dermatologist to ensure the best outcome possible. During the procedure, expect some discomfort but know that it’s manageable with the use of numbing agents and over-the-counter medications. After the procedure, pay attention to post-treatment care to ensure the area heals properly and follow-up sessions may be necessary to achieve desired results.

By following these steps and properly caring for the treated area, patients can undergo successful tattoo removal with minimal complications.