How Many Tattoo Removal Sessions Will I Need?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 16, 2019
    Last Updated: February 5, 2021

Tattoos are, most often, forever. You should always be confident going into your new tattoo. Unfortunately, drunken mistakes, loves that aren’t lifelong and changes of interest occur. The only solution to that is tattoo removal.

Expensive and arduous, your tattoo won’t be gone as quickly as it appeared. Tattoo removal could cost ten times what it took to get the ink done — is the time to remove it the same?

Most tattoos will need 6 to 10 laser removal sessions, and the skin needs six weeks to heal between sessions. The number of sessions is determined by the size and color of the tattoo. There are different methods of tattoo removal, which may take more or less time.

How Tattoos Are Removed

We’ve all heard of laser tattoo removal, whereby the laser passes through the skin, targets the ink and breaks it up. Your body’s immune system will get rid of this over time.

You can wait for a tattoo to fade completely through your laser removal sessions. Alternatively, you can wait for it to lighten it enough to tattoo over it.

The results of your removal will vary depending on what type of removal you get. Some are better for certain colors, other for causing less tissue damage. The wavelengths of these lasers differ considerably. Some conventional laser treatments are:

  • PicoSure Laser
  • PicoWay Laser
  • PicoPlus Laser
  • Spectra Laser
  • Rev-Lit SI
  • Zimmer Cryo 6

There are also some alternatives to laser removal:

Skin Excision

You’ll only need to go through this once. This is a method that’s good for small tattoos — for bigger ones, there’s just too much skin to remove.

With this method, the tattoo is cut out of the skin. The surrounding skin is brought together and closed up, as if the tattoo was never there at all.


Rejuvi, a cream, can be injected into the skin to remove the tattoo and is often used for permanent makeup tattoos, like eyebrows and lip liners. The pigmented cells absorb it, bonding with it. The Rejuvi then softens the ink it bonded with and pushes it to the surface.

The result is a scab forming on the surface of the skin. This ink-ridden scab falls off in about two months, revealing your tattoo has vanished. 

Even though this method has a minimal risk of scarring and will only take one session, it remains to be a less-popular removal method when compared to laser treatment.


Dermabrasion didn’t start as a tattoo removal method. It uses a rotating instrument to sand away the layers of skin and is usually used to improve the appearance of skin, often on the face.

As the rotating instrument removes the layers of skin, it takes the tattoo ink with it. It may take more than one session for this technique to work, but it’s variable and tattoo dependent.

Will It Hurt?

How much getting a tattoo hurts depends on where it is on the body. Fat protects us from a lot of the pain of tattooing. People often think that removal will hurt more than the tattoo will, but that’s not always true. In this instance, however, fat doesn’t really play a role.

Pain is a huge worry when you’re facing multiple, often lengthy, sessions. The pain is bearable, but for how long? 

PicoWay is one laser treatment that hurts less than less advanced ones. It works in time frames of a picosecond; one trillionth of a second — hardly enough time to cause significant pain.

If you’re anxious about pain, most tattoo removal sessions will involve a numbing cream. Ask the artist if they offer this, and if not, bring your own (our favorite is Zensa Numbing Cream). This will bring your anxieties about multiple removal sessions way down.

What Plays a Role in Tattoo Removal Time?

When it comes to tattoo removal, the number of sessions needed is determined by:

  • Size: Larger tattoos take more time. Small ones can take as little as 10 minutes per session
  • Color: It’s easier to remove darker inks like black, grey and dark greens
  • Duration: The longer you’ve had the tattoo, the more sessions are needed
  • Quality: Whether your tattoo was done by a professional or an amateur

Nothing to Worry About

Tattoo removal is a highly individualized process. Ask the clinic how many sessions they think you’ll need, but expect to sit through up to 10 sessions. It’ll vary by clinic, laser, and on the method used, but they’ll be able to give you a ballpark.

The color, size and quality of the tattoo will always play a role, with it being much easier to remove small or dark tattoos. If your tattoo is big and bright, you’re setting yourself up for a long run of removal sessions.

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