Laser Tattoo Removal Healing Process

The laser tattoo removal healing process can take some time, but when you follow the aftercare steps correctly it will remove the visible tattoo and leave the skin looking normal without any trauma or damage. How long will it take? What can you expect from the process?

The size of the tattoo, along with its location, influences how long each session will take but it is relatively quick and much faster than getting a tattoo in the first place. However, it takes time in between sessions as your immune system breaks down and removes the ink from the dermis, the middle layer of your skin. This is a process that cannot be sped up, and it is also essential that the skin heals properly to get the best results from the laser removal.

Here at our London tattoo removal studio we require eight weeks between treatments but it can be more depending on how your body responds to the laser. The number of treatments depends on your healing process and the overall design of the tattoo. This can range from 8 - 12 treatments for a full removal using the PicoWay laser. Factors such as the colouring of the tattoo, the size and body placement often determine the number of treatments. If you’re fading for a cover up it can be more in the range of 3 to 6 sessions and much depends on the new design that you want to place over the old tattoo.

Understanding the Laser Removal Process

The laser removal process will shatter the pigment in the tattoo, breaking up the particles into much smaller pieces that the body’s immune system can process. This encourages the ink to dissipate into the bloodstream. Over time, it will be eliminated through your body’s waste and the pores themselves. In order to get this to happen, it is necessary to undergo the laser treatment several times, each time creating a bit more of a breakup of that material.

Between visits, your body will continue to break down these small particles and remove them resulting in the tattoo fading. There’s a period of time between each session to give it time to heal. Otherwise, it could be damaged with a higher level of risk of scarring developing.

What Happens During the Laser Tattoo Removal Healing Process

After you have the removal treatment, your body will spend some time working to heal the areas of skin affected by the laser. Other laser technologies, such as the nanosecond based Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers, use a photothermal effect, but the PicoWay laser utilises picosecond pulse durations to reduce the amount of heat used and therefore does less damage to the surrounding tissue.

We still leave 8 weeks between treatments for the body to process the ink as additional treatments in a shorter time-frame do not speed up tattoo removal.

Right after the procedure

You may notice, during and immediately after the procedure, that the skin feels swollen, sore and hot and can also look red. It can feel sore and hot and quite similar to a bruise or sunburn.


You will notice the tattoo turning white in colour during the laser treatment. That is normal and is called frosting. As the laser zaps the ink particles they release carbon dioxide which is temporarily trapped under the skin causing the frosted look on the skin. This should not last longer than 30 minutes and then the tattoo will return to its original colour.

Peeling and blistering

Within a few hours, the skin’s healing process begins. Your immune system works to send white blood cells to the area to begin the healing of the damaged skin. As that happens, you may notice small blisters appearing on the surface of the skin. Do not pop or pick at these blisters!

Although they may look gross, the inside of a blister is a sterile environment that will help your body heal fast. Whereas if you open them it is likely to bring outside bacteria into the wound and could cause an infection.

If left alone the blisters will likely remain for between three days and two weeks. This, too, is very normal and should be expected as it is a response from your body’s immune system to create a soft “cushion” to protect the damaged area of skin.

The laser is also quite dehydrating for your skin and, in a similar way to a sunburn, you might notice your skin peeling or flaking within the first couple weeks of healing.

The tattoo itself

Once the frosting has gone down, if the tattoo has any very thin lines or very light shading you might notice an immediate visual difference. Often it will be hard to see any real difference immediately after the session especially if the tattoo is red or swollen. That’s okay and nothing to worry about.

You will not see the best results for a couple of months, but from week to week, you should see a bit of difference as the body works to break down and remove those ink particles. It is a slow process, like hair growth, so we recommend taking photos to keep track of your progress.

Healing takes time

Over the next few days and weeks, your body is working on healing, and generally, all pain and discomfort from the process should have faded within the first week. At this point, we are waiting for the body to dispose of the pigments from the ink. That takes the longest. Your body continues to break the ink down over several months after the session. But to get optimal results repeated treatments are recommended.

A Few Notes About the Laser

The PicoWay laser is an innovative solution that aims to greatly reduce the pain and discomfort of the laser removal process. The reason for this is It does not use heat to break up the ink particles. Rather, it uses energy with a photoacoustic effect to break up the ink in the targeted areas. Each one of the pulses of energy is super fast. Because of this, the discomfort levels are reduced and the procedure should not take long.

If you have had laser removal in the past with other types of lasers, you may remember the painful feeling of getting lasered. The PicoWay laser is much more bearable and paired with the use of a Cryo air machine to soothe your skin with cold air, the pain is much more manageable . 

The photothermolysis process, which is used in laser tattoo removal, enables the laser to zero in on the actual ink particles located on the skin, not the skin itself. Combined with the PicoWay’s subsequent photoacoustic shockwaves, this vastly reduces any damage to the skin that’s surrounding the tattoo. It delivers just enough sound waves to target the very specific area where the ink is present. That should be the case as long as you use a reputable, highly experienced professional.

Could Treatment Last Longer?

It is possible that the healing could take longer. That may happen, for example, if your body’s immune system is not at its optimum health. If you are a slow healer, this could be a concern.

You can help this by improving your diet to include more healthy nutrients, including more fruits and vegetables. You can also support healthy healing by not smoking, as the smoking process constricts the blood vessels, making it harder for the area to get nutrient-rich and oxygen-rich blood. You also want to be sure you are drinking plenty of water.

What Are Some Common Side Effects?

The laser tattoo removal healing process could come with a few side effects, such as:

  • Redness: Most common right after treatment, this is due to the capillaries leaking blood into the skin. That’s a good thing because it means the immune system is responding to the area with oxygen-rich blood.
  • Blistering: Typically, this happens during the healing process as the immune system creates a cushion to protect your skin while it is healing. Don’t open them on your own, as that increases the risk of infections.

How to Get Started with Tattoo Removal

Our tattoo removal service in London, UK, is available to you today. If you are looking for fast and affordable tattoo removal using the most advanced technology for the most effective results, contact Cloak and Dagger Tattoo Removal now.