Laser Tattoo Removal: How it Works & What are the Risks?

Aesthetics Daily – For some people, getting one or several tattoos on the body is a matter of pride. Tattoos are considered as individual expressions that can depict animals, people, flowers, words or abstract illustrations.

But over time, a person may be regretful, thinking about removing the tattoo entirely on his body for some reason. The negative stigma attached to tattoos, for example, is a strong reason why people want to remove them.

Laser tattoo removal is the most popular way to remove body tattoos. Tattoos can actually fade naturally over time. This happens because the body’s immune system recognizes tattoo ink as a foreign substance that must be removed.

That natural process is sped up with the help of a laser where it destroys the tattoo ink in tiny, easy-to-clean pieces. Removing a tattoo is harder than applying it because the permanent ink particles from the tattoo are injected beneath the surface of the skin. Thanks to the help of the state-of-the-art laser devices, tattoos are easier to remove.

What is Laser Tattoo Removal?

Laser tattoo removal uses a high-power laser that can penetrate deep into the skin. This laser is able to destroy the ink particles in the cells that give permanent color to the tattoo. Depending on the tattoo ink color, there are different types of laser treatments for tattoo removal.

These procedures are influenced by several factors including the individual and the characteristics of the tattoo. In order to remove the tattoo, the patient needs a series of sessions with an interval of 1 – 2 months. However, usually, the number of treatments cannot be predicted precisely in advance.

Depending on the case, the number of sessions may vary from one individual to another. Some people may need 5 to 10 sessions while others may need up to 20 sessions. There are several factors that affect the variability of treatment including age, location, color, and size of the tattoo.

Laser tattoo removal provides more effective results thanks to increasingly advanced technology. In addition, the side effects of laser tattoo removal can be reduced to a minimum.

Process of Laser Tattoo Removal

During a laser tattoo removal session, pulses of light energy generated from the laser are able to penetrate the skin. The light energy is then absorbed by the tattoo ink and converted into heat. The heated tattoo ink particles then break into small fragments.

laser tattoo removal treatments benefits advantages pros cons risks side effects

The immune system will naturally remove the tattoo ink particles from their place. As a result, the tattoo looks more faded a few weeks after treatment. More tattoo ink breaks off with each laser tattoo removal treatment until nothing remains.

You need to know, tattoo ink is trapped in the deepest layers of the skin. The ink particles are inserted with needles into various depths of skin layers when the tattoo is applied. When light energy from the laser is applied to the skin, it heats up and destroys the most superficial layers of ink before the deepest layers.

To penetrate all the varying depths of ink in a tattoo, it takes several sessions. Thicker, darker tattoos require more treatments than tattoos with lower ink density.

Risks of Laser Tattoo Removal

Especially patients who want to remove colored tattoos and those with dark skin, complete tattoo removal is sometimes difficult. After treatment, patients may notice changes in skin color and skin texture.

A series of laser treatments are required for patients who wish to have the tattoo removed completely. This makes treatments more expensive and laser exposure increases.

The procedure causes pain in the treated area so local anesthesia prior to treatment is required. Another risk is that the eyes can be affected by the laser beam. Therefore, patients are recommended to use protective eye goggles.

If the treatment area is neglected, skin infections can occur. That is why patients need to take extra care of the treated area to prevent bacteria entry.


In one treatment session, not all tattoo ink can be destroyed. Therefore, laser tattoo removal requires several sessions according to the doctor’s recommendations. Between treatments, patients need to wait because the body needs time to clean the fragmented tattoo ink from its place.

The lymphatic system, in the days following treatment, will remove the pigment from under the skin. This process takes between 4 to 6 weeks. In addition, the waiting period also gives time for abrasions or wounds from treatment to heal.

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