Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

If you’ve ever thought about getting a tattoo removed, you’ve probably also wondered how badly it’ll hurt. Is it worth the physical pain you’ll (temporarily) experience, or are you better off living with the embarrassment of a tattoo that no longer represents you? 

People want to have their tattoos removed for a myriad of reasons, but many people avoid removal due to their fear that the tattoo removal process is painful.

Is it Worse Than Getting Tattooed?

Just like the experience of getting the tattoo, the amount that removal hurts will depend partly on your pain tolerance. The pain experienced by tattoo removal is often compared to a rubber band snapping against the skin or the discomfort caused by a sunburn. If you were able to tolerate the pain of getting the tattoo, you’re likely to be able to handle the discomfort of getting one removed.

Laser tattoo removal sessions, which are typically done in minutes, take far less time than tattoo application sessions, which can last for hours. This means less time spent in discomfort. In general, laser tattoo removal is less painful than getting tattooed. 

What Contributes to the Pain of Removal?

The pain you’ll experience when getting a tattoo removed comes down to a number of factors such as the size of the tattoo, the style of linework, and the intensity of the colors involved. For a very small tattoo, a laser tattoo removal session may only take a minute or two. Sessions for larger tattoos may take 20 minutes or more.  

The location of the tattoo also plays a major role in the pain of removal. Here are some of the least (and most) painful places for tattoo removal:

Least painful places for tattoo removal

  • Forearm
  • Outer bicep/shoulder
  • Calves
  • Upper and lower back

Most painful places for tattoo removal:

  • Rib cage
  • Feet/ankles
  • Shins
  • Head/face/ears
  • Groin
  • Hands/fingers
  • Inner bicep

Managing Tattoo Removal Pain

Still concerned about the pain from tattoo removal? Here are some tips for managing it during and after the removal process.

  • Take Tylenol before your session, and as needed afterward. (Don’t take ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can thin the blood and cause unnecessary bleeding during and after laser removal.)
  • Prioritize self-care. Be sure to get sufficient rest, eat healthy, balanced meals, and avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Learn to reduce anxiety using meditation or deep breathing.
  • Use antibacterial ointment to aid healing after tattoo removal.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’ve got a tattoo you would like to get rid of, you’ll want to work with a professional who has the experience and advanced laser technology to get the job done with minimal discomfort. To learn more about removing your tattoo today, call us at (480) 933-1358 or schedule an appointment.

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