How Long Does One Tattoo Removal Session Take?

Tattoo Removal on FootIf you’ve been researching laser tattoo removal, you’ve probably learned that it takes multiple treatments to remove a tattoo, but how long does one tattoo removal session take? This is a question we regularly hear from people when they’re booking their first appointment.

People have heard that tattoo removal is painful – we prefer to think of it as uncomfortable, especially since we offer a numbing solution that helps reduce any discomfort. In any case, since it isn’t as relaxing as say, enjoying a Corona on a lounge chair in the Bahamas, patients want to know first and foremost – when will my tattoo removal treatment be over?

The good news is, tattoo removal sessions are quick! The length of time they take depends on the size of your tattoo, of course, but typical tattoos are treated in less than a minute!

That’s because the laser is super fast and only goes over the area one time during a session. If your tattoo is the size of a quarter, it will take approximately 10 seconds! So by the time you’ve started to feel the snap (some say it feels like a rubber band snapping against your skin), it’s over! Even a medium size tattoo the size of a baseball can be treated in under two minutes.

The only exception is large tattoos, and even patients sporting massive tats are done with their appointment in less than 30 minutes. One tattoo removal session on a tattoo larger than a basketball can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. That’s not because the laser is different – the laser we use isn’t determined by the size of the tattoo.Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 10.09.10 AM

The reason larger tattoos can sometimes take so much more time to treat is because we encourage patients to take a pause if they need to during the process.

Our clinicians, who are hired based on their education (a nursing degree or higher) and compassion, have been trained to pace the treatment based on the patient’s needs. If you have a large tattoo, your nurse will tell you at the beginning of your session that if you need a moment, to let her know and she will suspend the treatment for as long as you require.

Not everyone needs a break though. We’ve seen small-boned female patients who just want to get it over with have the nurse go straight through (no stopping) on very large tattooed areas. To the contrary, we’ve seen big muscle head-type guys who look like MMA fighters request several breaks during their tattoo removal sessions.

It just depends on your threshold for discomfort and how anxious you are to get done with the appointment. Fortunately, once it’s over, we apply aloe cortisone, ice and neatly wrap it, which calms the skin and settles the nerves.