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Unwanted tattoos can be removed gradually over a series of sessions using a laser.
The energy from the laser breaks down the tattoo ink into tiny fragments, which are eventually absorbed into the bloodstream and safely passed out of the body.
About having a tattoo removed Cost
The cost of removing a tattoo will depend on its size and the number of sessions needed.
The price can range from £50 for a single session to remove a small tattoo to more than £1,000 for several sessions to remove a large tattoo.
Tattoo removal has some limitations, including:
- it can be uncomfortable
- it’s a prolonged process – 10 or more sessions may be needed to remove the tattoo
- many tattoos cannot be completely removed – it’s pretty common to have some ink left on the skin
- some colours do not fade as well as others
You should not have a tattoo removed if you:
- are pregnant – there’s a small risk to your baby
- have a suntan or fake tan – wait for it to fade
Tattoo Removal Safety
Having a tattoo removed is usually safe if an experienced and suitably qualified practitioner does it.
Check the person removing your tattoo is on a register to show they meet set standards in training, skill and insurance.
Avoid practitioners who have only completed a short training course.
Read more about choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure.
What tattoo removal involves
You’ll need to shave the area of the skin before the appointment.
You’ll be given special goggles to protect your eyes on the day. A local anaesthetic cream may be used to numb the skin.
A handheld device will be pressed on your skin to trigger a laser. Some people say this feels like an elastic band snapping against your skin.
The session will take about 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your tattoo.
The tattoo should become lighter with each treatment.
A gel is used to cool and soothe your skin, and it might be covered with a dressing.
After tattoo removal
Your skin may be red with a raised rash for a short while after treatment. Holding an ice pack to your skin may help. For example, try a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
You may have some slight bleeding before your skin scabs over. Use aloe vera gel or Vaseline to help it heal.
Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun. Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds for at least one week after treatment. Cover the area with clothing and use sunscreen with at least SPF30.
You should avoid:
- picking or scratching the scab
- using soap or perfumed products on the area for the first 48 hours
- strenuous physical activities for a couple of days
- swimming and saunas until the scab have dropped off (they may slow the healing process)
Risks of tattoo removal
Possible risks are:
- some colours are not completely fading – yellow, green and purple ink requires more sessions to fade than black, blue and red
- a small chance your skin may become temporarily darker or paler than the surrounding skin
- a slight chance of permanent scarring (3 in 100 people develop a scar)
What to do if you have problems
If you have problems with healing, rashes or skin pigmentation changes, contact the clinic where you were treated.
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