How Does Tattoo Removal Work?

How Getting a Tattoo Works

To understand how tattoo removal works, you must also understand how getting a tattoo works. Once tattoo ink is logged into the middle layer of your skin, your body’s immune system sends white blood cells to the tattooed area to pull out as many ink particles as possible. Larger particles that the cells could not break down are left behind leaving the tattoo design. Over time, those cells break the larger particles down which causes natural fading.

getting a tattoo  getting a tattoo

How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

Tattoo removal works by breaking apart those larger ink particles layer by layer. Your body’s white blood cells can then carry away the smaller broken down particles quicker. With time and continued sessions, a tattoo can be completely removed.

laser tattoo removal

Laser Tattoo Removal Timeline

A typical tattoo takes about 10 – 12 treatments, spaced 6 – 8 weeks apart, to remove.

Factors that Affect Tattoo Removal


Living an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking or vaping, and allowing direct sun exposure to the treated area can reduce your body’s ability to remove the ink.

General Health

Chronic health conditions and being sick are your immune system’s priority to fix. This can reduce the speed at which the ink is removed from your skin.


As you age, your metabolism and immune system slow down. Younger or more active immune systems will remove ink faster.

Tattoo Location

Tattoos in high blood flow areas can be removed faster than those located further from the circulatory system.

Ink color

The color of your ink and skin tone will play a factor in the removal outcome.

Skin Tone

Your skin tone can impact the laser removal outcome and may determine the laser settings your technician uses.

woman with arm tattoo tying running shoes

Tattoo Removal Aftercare

At Removery, we want to make sure that you get the best results from beginning to end. We're here to help you through the entire tattoo removal process and know what to expect after your tattoo removal sessions end.

Aftercare Tips

Addressing Your Concerns About Pain

Tattoo location

A dime-sized tattoo on the forearm may only take a few seconds of laser removal which would be relatively tolerable. A larger tattoo on the lower back may increase discomfort due to a longer duration of removal.

Beyond providing cold compressed air, there are other things we can do to help reduce discomfort for our clients. Below are steps we are actively taking to better your tattoo removal experience.

1. Managing Expectations

If you think something will hurt, you will likely increase the chance of experiencing discomfort. Most people find removal treatments to be comparable to getting a tattoo and are surprised by how quickly the treatment is completed.  As always, we are here to help you through the process and you can ask for a break if you need them.

2. During the Treatment

Along with conscious customer care, we will provide a count down for the test spot so that you are fully prepared when the treatment begins.

Breathing exercises such as the 4-square rhythmic breathing can help reduce discomfort.

  1. Breath in slowly through your nose for a count of 4.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  3. Breath out through your mouth for a count of 4.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  5. Repeat.

A 2015 Randomized Controlled Trial has shown that engaging in active conversation while utilizing a squeeze ball has significantly reduced client discomfort and anxiety for patients undergoing surgery.


Check out our Entire Laser Tattoo Removal 101 Series on Youtube

101 Series - YouTube

Treatment FAQs

Still have questions? Here are the most common questions we get regarding our tattoo removal treatments.

View all FAQs