Does Later Tattoo Removal Hurt?

If you’ve been researching tattoo removal, you’ve likely heard a few horror stories about the associated pain. It’s enough to make even the bravest question whether they want to go through with it.

But the more you know about tattoo removal, the more you realise the answer isn’t as cut and dry as some make it out to be. Lots of factors contribute to how much it can hurt and there are ways to lessen the sting. 

Today we’ll cover everything you need to know about tattoo removal pain, what to expect, and tips on managing it.

How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?

There is no denying that getting a tattoo removed is painful. But how painful it is, is a bit harder to pin down. Many clients worry about the pain being too much or having to stop because they can’t handle it 

But we’re here to dispel the myth. Tattoo removal pain is not as all-consuming as people make it out to be. Some people have called it the worst pain they’ve ever experienced and to that, we say, “Everyone is different.” 

Just because a friend had a bad time with their tattoo removal, doesn’t mean you will too. But you don’t have to leave it to chance. Here are a few things that influence how much laser removal hurts to help you gauge how it might feel for you.

Everyone is Different

One of the biggest factors is personal pain tolerance. Pain tolerance refers to the pain a person can handle while still being in their right mind. While most people who get their tattoos removed do say it’s painful, it’s very rarely going to drive you over the edge. 

If you have high pain tolerance, you might find the tattoo removal process easy. If you’re more sensitive, then you might feel the pain and need some support. But it all depends on the person. 

Think bad about previous injuries or even when you had your tattoo done. If you could sit through that, you’ll be fine with tattoo removal.

It Depends on the Location of the Tattoo

Just as tattooing on certain areas hurts more, the same applies to tattoo removal. Some areas will be more painful than others. 

Body parts with more nerve endings and receptors, like hands and feet, hurt more. Tattoos close to the bone or on lean flesh with little fat will also be more sensitive. One of the most sensitive parts to undergo tattoo removal is the armpits. 

Areas with more flesh and muscle hurt the least. There is more flesh to cushion nerve endings and act as a buffer against the laser. A great example is your leg. Tattoo removal on the softer parts, like your thigh or calf, will hurt less than on your shin or ankle where it's close to the bone.

The Size of the Tattoo

A larger tattoo equals a longer session. Luckily, even with the biggest tattoos, removal goes relatively quickly. Unlike getting the tattoo, you won’t have to sit for hours under the laser with raw and sensitive skin. 

A smaller tattoo will only require a short session and the pain will be over quickly!

It Gets Easier!

There is some good news: It gets easier the more you do it! Pain tolerance isn’t static. As you go for your sessions, you’ll notice the pain becomes more manageable. You might even find you can relax during your sessions. 

Another reason it’s easier is because of stress. The anticipation of the pain can make us sensitive in a way we wouldn’t be if we knew what to expect. Once you get over the initial shock, you’ll get used to it, build up a tolerance, and go through your sessions like a champ!

Equipment and Experience

Laser removal equipment uses pulses of high-intensity light to destroy ink under the skin. Good equipment and a technician with experience will know what frequencies or wavelengths to use to preserve your skin while getting the most out of the session. 

Not all laser removal equipment is made equal and the gap is only growing as laser removal equipment becomes more and more effective. 

One of the best and least painful lasers is the PicoWay laser because it uses a photoacoustic effect rather than a photothermal one. This is the most advanced laser on the market to ensure our clients get the most pleasant experience possible. 

The PicoWay laser is faster than other lasers and causes less damage to the surrounding skin, meaning your sessions will be shorter and healing will be easier!

What Hurts More: Getting a Tattoo or Laser Tattoo Removal?

Again, it’s relative. Tattoos are a low thrum of pain that can get a bit raw as time goes by. You have to sit for much longer than with the removal process and it depends on where you are having the removal. 

As a general rule of thumb, people who comfortably sat through the tattooing process will be fine. If you struggled with your tattoo, let your technician know. A good tech will give you a break when you need it or provide some cooling.

What to Expect With the PicoWay Laser & Zimmer Cryo Cooling System

At Cloak and Dagger, we use the PicoWay Laser and the Zimmer Cryo Cooling System. It’s the tattoo removal dream team and one of the best ways to limit the pain and get the best tattoo removal results. 

The PicoWay Laser is a state-of-the-art laser that operates in a trillionth of a second. The ultra-short pulses remove even the most stubborn tattoos while leaving the skin layer intact. It also uses photoacoustic shockwaves instead of heat. This means you feel less pain but more ink is destroyed. A win-win! 

We combine the PicoWay Laser with the Zimmer Cryo Cooling System for optimal tattoo removal. The Zimmer blows cool air onto the treated area for a numbing and cooling effect. It lessens the pain and has completely changed the tattoo removal game. This is ideal for clients with low pain tolerance. 

Using the PicoWay laser and the Zimmer Cryo Cooling System is your best bet at excellent tattoo removal with the least amount of pain.

Tips to Manage Tattoo Removal Pain

Luckily, this isn’t the middle ages. We won’t ask you to bear the pain without help. Here are some tips on making tattoo removal pain a bit more bearable.

  • Take pain medication. Paracetamol should be fine but avoid any blood thinners like Aspirin or Ibuprofen. 
  • Make sure you are in good condition. Get enough rest, drink water, and boost your immune system with a healthy diet. 
  • Minimise stress with deep breathing or relaxation techniques. Do whatever works for you to keep your anxiety as low as possible. 
  • Let the technician know when you need a break.
  • Follow aftercare instructions carefully. The sooner your tattoo heals, the faster the pain will go away.


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.