How Long Does Laser Tattoo Removal Take?

Tattoos have risen in popularity over the last decade or two. So it’s only natural that the number of tattoos people regret increased as well! 

Perhaps you regret that impulsive tattoo you got when you were young or maybe you simply don’t like some of your old tatoos anymore. Whatever the case, the latest laser technology is the best method for removing unwanted tattoos. 

But how long does laser tattoo removal take? How many sessions do you need before the tattoo is gone? Is it possible to have it removed in one go? We’ll answer that and more below.

What is Laser Tattoo Removal and How Does it Work?

When you get a tattoo, the tattoo needle shoots ink into the dermis, a deeper layer of the skin. It might not seem like it when you look at your tattoo, but the ink is quite far down!

If artists only tattooed the topmost layer of skin, tattoos would be gone within 3 weeks. 

Any tattoo fades with time. Ink is drawn away by the body and gets broken down. Sun exposure also lightens ink over time but won’t remove it completely. 

With laser tattoo removal, the technician speeds up this process until the tattoo fades away completely. To do this, a tattoo removal technician will blast the tattoo with a laser, which breaks up the tattoo ink. Your body picks up the ink and then expels it, eventually leaving you with clear skin.

How Long Does Tattoo Removal Take?

On average, with a high quality picosecond laser it takes about 6 sessions to fade a tattoo enough for a cover-up and 8 to 12 sessions for complete removal. 

Aftercare and the technician's equipment and skill level also determine how fast the tattoo will fade. It’s important to make sure your tattoo removal is done by a reputable company with high-quality laser removal equipment. This will ensure you get the best results.

What Affects Tattoo Removal Time?

Several factors will affect how many sessions you need and how long it will take to completely remove your tattoo. These include the following:

Tattoo Placement

Tattoos tend to fade differently on different parts of the body. Ones that are closer to the heart are removed faster. Areas with a lot of lymph nodes like the neck, chest, and upper back also fade easier.

The further away the tattoo is from these spots, the longer the removal will take. Hands and feet tend to take the longest.

Skin Tone

Tattoo removal lasers target pigment. So, they work better when there is more contrast between the tattoo and the skin. If you have light skin and a black ink tattoo, it should lift quite easily. 

That isn’t to say that tattoo removal can’t be done on darker skin tones. It just means more care needs to be taken and it may take longer. 

To avoid hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, technicians will opt for more sessions to avoid damage to the skin and use frequencies better suited to the skin tone.

Tattoo Ink

Tattoo artists use different quality inks and some mix their own colours. Both can greatly affect how easily the laser will be able to break down and remove the tattoo.

This is when the laser quality comes into play. We use the PicoWay laser, which is the most effective at removing even the most stubborn tattoo colours or inks.

Sun Exposure

You cannot have laser tattoo removal done on sunburnt skin. So, it’s best to stay out of the sun if you want your tattoo removal sessions to go as quickly as possible. 

Tanning can also make it harder to remove your tattoo so make sure to keep your tattoo covered when going out in the sun.

Tattoo Size

Of course, the size of your tattoo will also affect how long your sessions will take.

Large and/or dark tattoos take longer to remove than smaller, lighter ones. 

A usual tattoo removal session can last as little as 10 minutes. But, if you have a massive sleeve full of dark colours, it will take longer and you’ll need more sessions.

Tattoo Depth

Tattoo artists that have been tattooing for a long time push the ink further into the skin than an amateur artist would. 

The deeper the ink is in the skin, the longer it takes to reach it and break apart the ink. 

There may also be scar tissue around the tattoo, which can slow down the laser removal process.

Immune System

When tattoo ink is fractured during the laser removal process, the ink is expelled from the body using normal bodily functions. 

So, it makes sense that a healthy diet and good sleep, which form a strong immune system, will help remove the tattoo faster and promote healing.

Laser Equipment

Lasering equipment has come a long way in recent years and while many older models still work well, newer, more advanced equipment is much more effective. 

The traditional Quality Switch lasers are still the most commonly used but can take up to 20 sessions for effective removal. 

Cloak and Dagger uses the PicoWay laser, an ultra-fast picosecond laser. It’s the most advanced tattoo removal laser on the market with state-of-the-art technologies for fast, safe, and effective removal.

Is it Possible to Remove a Tattoo in One Session?

No, tattoos can’t be removed after just one session.

Tattoo ink lies deep in the skin and is layered. The first session laser will only break through and remove the top layer of ink. The next session will remove the next layer. And on it goes until the tattoo has been removed completely or as much as possible.

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare for Improved Healing

Aftercare is almost as important as the removal process. Without proper care, you risk infection or scarring sensitive skin. 

Aftercare might differ from technician to technician and it’s important to listen to your technician when they provide you with aftercare. But, there are some general aftercare rules you can follow to ensure the healing process goes smoothly:

  • Keep It Clean: After treatment, avoid any creams or makeup on the lasered skin for the first few days. Keep the area bandaged with clean gauze for three days. After that, make sure it stays as dry and clean as possible.
  • Moisturise: After the bandage has been removed, you can use a fragrance-free cream like Vaseline or Aquaphor.
  • Boost Your Immune System: Overall health will do wonders for your tattoo removal. Drink lots of water, try to avoid alcohol and cigarettes, and exercise to improve overall health and blood flow.
  • Avoid The Sun: Sun is the worst thing for your healing skin. Not only will a sunburn postpone your next session, but it can also make the tattoo lift slower or decrease your results. Stay out of the sun or use a strong sunblock.
  • Don’t Pick: After your session, there might be blisters and scabs. Both are perfectly normal. But don’t pick at the skin! This could lead to infection and scarring that will make the removal process harder. Just leave the blisters to drain on their own and the scabs to fall off naturally.


Now that you know how long tattoo removal takes and the things that affect the removal process, you can make an informed choice about your tattoo removal needs. 

For effective removal, get a free estimate or schedule a consultation with Cloak and Dagger. We use the latest tattoo removal technology and offer faster removals with less discomfort.

Our technicians are nationally recognised and we are the first London tattoo studio to use the PicoWay laser. 

You don’t have to stick with a tattoo you don’t like anymore! With Cloak and Dagger, you have removal options that are safe, fast, and affordable.


The threat of tattoo removal pain has made a lot of people give up on their tattoo removal dreams. But with some pain management and a good, reputable tattoo remover, you’ll be right as rain in no time. 

If you want to avoid pain and ensure your tattoo removal goes smoothly, get a free estimate or book a consultation with Cloak and Dagger. With nationally recognised technicians trained to use the PicoWay Laser and Zimmer Cryo Cooling System, we confidently guarantee the best results every time.