If you’re curious about laser tattoo removal, you’re probably wondering how long of a process you’ll be committing to. The total time required depends largely on whether you need full removal or partial fading for a cover up. Carmen Brodie, our V.P. of Clinical Operations, answers all your questions here!

How Long Does The Laser Tattoo Removal Process Take?

“When somebody comes in and asks about tattoo removal, I tell them right away, ‘Hey, it’s gonna take us right about a year,’” says Carmen. “In most cases, we can complete the process (or get very close to completion) in that time frame.”

If somebody wants a coverup, the time frame for laser removal depends on their chosen design for the new tattoo. The technician and artist typically work together to determine the extent of fading needed for a particular design. “If you want something pretty heavy—a treatment or two, and you’re off and out the door,” says Carmen. “If you want black and gray or something that’s very light, and you almost need naked skin underneath, you want to go for full removal.”

In general, laser removal for a cover up takes about half the time as full removal, Carmen notes. Other factors like the specific colors used in the tattoo can also affect the length of time needed for removal.

How Long Should I Wait After My Last Treatment Until I Get A Cover Up?

“I always say that you should probably wait about three months, and here’s the reason why,” Carmen says. “You’re totally healed; we don’t break the skin; you’d be good to get tattooed the next day. It would be fine. The problem is that your artist, if he’s relying on some color that’s there, or some depth, some darkness left from that tattoo—and he puts a new tattoo on top of that, relying on that depth, and it then dissipates with the new tattoo on top—now all his work, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, where did that go?’” 

In other words, the elements of depth the artists incorporate may fade out over time, due to your body’s immune system still working in overdrive. The last thing you want is to have your amazing cover up fade into something you barely recognize within a couple of weeks.

“I always like for everybody to be safe,” Carmen continues. “Three months—six months, even better—because your body is still carrying away those little particles of ink.” It’s best to not rush the process because your body may continue flushing away the ink for months after your laser treatment. Time is the best thing you can do to ensure you get the cover up of your dreams!

Have You Had Laser Tattoo Removal Done?

Carmen used to have a tattoo that said “TATAWAY” on her forearm. She would use it to show the effectiveness of laser removal, as she’d had varying degrees of laser treatment done on it as a demo. It showed clients how much fading occurs after a certain number of sessions. “I would use it all the time in treatments,” she says. “It was a great show and tell for me.” 

Then, when she got a larger tattoo on her forearm, she realized she’d inadvertently covered it up. “Oh my God, it’s gone!” she said while trying to show it to someone in the shop. “I didn’t mean to cover it up; it just got covered up,” she laughs. 

“It felt no different whatsoever to get tattooed over lasered skin. None at all,” she adds. Her skin was completely healthy both after laser removal and after the tattoo itself.

Tattoo Removal With Removery

Want to get a better idea of how long your tattoo removal journey will take? Book a free consultation with one of our technicians today! They’ll assess your individual needs and give you the best possible estimate based on your tattoos. If you’re interested in a tattoo cover up, having an idea of the design or style you want will help your technician fade the tattoo to fit your design’s needs. Curious about how laser removal reacts to different colors of ink? Or if the removal is painful? Learn more from our 101.5 and 101.4 videos with the laser tattoo removal 101 series hosted by Carmen Brodie, Removery’s V.P. of Clinical Operations.

Get Your Free Estimate

Connect with us to start your removal journey