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Minimizing Tattoo Removal Pain
Laser tattoo removal pain is one of the most common concerns among people considering tattoo removal. In this post we’ll explain what to expect during and after the treatment as well as techniques to help minimize any discomfort. Please note in advance that nothing in this post should be considered medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional prior to any medical procedure.
What Does It Feel Like?
The best way to describe tattoo removal pain is to compare it to a rubber band snapping. The sensation is very similar. While not a great feeling, it’s certainly tolerable. Often, the fear of the unknown that scares people more than anything else. Pain tolerance varies from person to person and some people, like celebrities and gossip magazines, like to embellish just how bad laser tattoo removal pain is. After all, how else can you make headlines and garner sympathy?
At Bare, we always do a test shot so clients can feel the sensation before we continue on with treatment. Rest assured, we’ve NEVER had a client not be able to handle the feeling. If we do a test shot and you can’t handle the pain, we’ll stop treatment and won’t charge you.
How Long Does Laser Tattoo Removal Pain Last?
Treatment duration depends on the size of the tattoo. Typically a treatment will last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or so. It’s quick!
Are There Ways to Minimize Laser Tattoo Removal Pain?
- Take a pain reliever before or after treatment
- Control your breathing to get into a meditative state
- Squeeze a ball during treatment
- Go to a clinic that has a cooling machine to numb the skin before, during, and after treatment. We have a Zimmer Chiller and our clients love it. The Chiller is better than an ice pack because it’s more sanitary, the temperature can easily be adjusted, and cooling can be utilized throughout treatment, no just before.
- For female clients, skin can be more sensitive during a period. Scheduling treatments outside of that week will help minimize any pain.
Is Lidocaine good to use?
Lidocaine can be used as a cream or injected into the treatment area. While it can help with discomfort, we don’t use it. The cream is messy and needs to be applied 30 minutes in advance of treatment. Injectables are overkill and not everyone likes needles.
What Does Post-Treatment Laser Tattoo Removal Pain Feel Like?
Typically, clients may have a bit of inflammation and/or soreness for 24-72 hours after treatment. Itching is also fairly common during this time period. The area may be sensitive for a few days and feel warm like a mild sunburn.
Some clients will experience mild to strong blistering a few days after treatment. This is considered “normal” and usually doesn’t hurt as much as it is visually unappealing. Blistering is not especially common and can be a sign of a good, strong treatment but comes with risks, including scarring and infection.
Of course, we don’t want to scar for obvious cosmetic reasons. In addition, scar tissue can prevent the laser from effectively targeting the ink. While these risks should be carefully considered prior to receiving treatment, they are rare side effects of laser tattoo removal.
Also, some clients think that a sign of a good, strong treatment is blistering and scabbing. While these may correlate to a degree, blistering and scabbing should not be goals. Laser tattoo removal pain and side effects have been minimized over the years as technologies have advanced.
Do Some Tattoos Cause More Laser Tattoo Removal Pain Than Others?
Yes. The darker, denser, the ink, the more discomfort people experience. The energy of the laser and location of the tattoo also play significant roles. We always start out at baseline settings and gradually increase them during subsequent treatments. Tattoos on areas with a lot of tissue (e.g. arm, chest) will hurt less than those on boney areas (e.g. ankle, fingers).