There’s no way to sugar-coat the fact that Tattoo Removal takes time – on average between 10 – 13 months. Many people get to the point in their life where they have a Tattoo they want removed and ask the question ‘How long does it take to remove a tattoo’ only to be surprised by the answer. And the fact of the matter is there isn’t too much you can do to speed up the process – although we’ve got a few tips at the bottom of this article!
But Tattoo Removal is a bit like saving up for a deposit for a house. Because it takes time and there’s no instant results, many people keep putting it off ’till tomorrow’. But guess what? In the blink of an eye it’s a year later and you’ll look back and think ‘If I’d just started my Tattoo Removal Journey last year, I’d be done by now!’ If you are thinking about Tattoo Removal, the time to start is NOW, exactly because it does take time.
So why does Tattoo Removal Take Time?
The biggest factor is the length of time you need to wait between treatments. The minimum time recommended between treatments is 4 weeks, but most clinicians will recommend a gap of 6-8 weeks. So if you consider the average Tattoo may require 9 treatments to completely remove, that adds up to just over one year before the Tattoo is removed.
Some people ask ‘I’m big and tough, I can stand the pain, can’t I just have my treatments every couple of weeks?’ Unfortunately the answer is no, there is no benefit in decreasing the time between treatments. You body needs time to flush out the shattered ink particles, and as Phil Collins would say (if he ever wrote a song about Tattoo Removal instead of love) ‘You can’t hurry treatments, no you’ll just have to wait’
Are you looking to fade or remove the Tattoo completely – If you only want to fade the tattoo (for example so it’s no longer visible under a white business shirt, or if you want to cover it up with a new tattoo) then the treatment time is considerably less
Skin Type – The darker your skin, the less effectively the laser penetrates the dermis and the more session are required
Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?
There are a few things you can do to make the process as fast as possible:
- Start Now. As we said at the top of this article, the sooner you start the sooner you’ll be done. A year sounds like a long time, but in 12 months time I promise you’ll look back and say ‘geez where did that year go?’ You can make it the year you got your Tattoo removed.
- Agree the optimal time between treatments and keep your appointments. If you need 9 treatments and on average push each appointment back by 1 week, before you know it you’ve added an extra 2+ months to your total treatment time
- Don’t smoke. Your overall health has an impact on how well your body flushes out the ink particles and smoking is a known factor in slowing down the process
- Don’t tan. As we mentioned above, the darker your skin the less effective the laser is, so the fairer you can keep your skin the more effective your treatments will be
- Consider a cover-up tattoo. We’re in 2 minds about this advice. If you LOVE tattoos but just don’t love a particular one, then fading it to the point where you can cover it with a new tattoo makes sense. But if you’re suffering more general tattoo regret then you run the risk of replacing a tattoo you didn’t like with a new tattoo you don’t like – as they say in Poker ‘doubling-down on a bad hand’
What other factors affect the time it takes?
The location of the Tattoo on your body – Tattoos on your extremities (such as fingers and toes) take longer to remove than tattoos on your torso.
The colour of the ink – Black is the easiest colour to remove, colours such as green and red the hardest.
Who did your Tattoo – Professional Tattoo artists use more ink which means longer to remove, but that doesn’t mean we recommend getting your next Tattoo from an amateur!