Skin Resus

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Skin and Beauty Blog

Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Trish Hepburn - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Tattoo Removal uses a laser to penetrate the skin and break up the ink particles and your reaction will typically range from 'discomfort' to 'mild pain'.  Some common descriptions of the feeling are:

  • Someone flicking a rubber band at your skin repeatedly
  • Someone cooking bacon on your arm
  • Rapid pin-pricks
  • Scratching sunburn

It's important to realise however that everyone's pain threshold is different.  For some people it's not much more than discomfort, and if you're old enough to have a Tattoo you probably already have some idea of your pain threshold.  Other things to consider are:

  • A single Tattoo removal session can be over in minutes depending on the size of your Tattoo.  So it might be painful, but the actual treatment time is usually short
  • You've already experienced pain when you got your Tattoo in the first place.  The pain level is usually comparable to getting the Tattoo (some people will say slightly more)
  • Tattoo treatments are spaced out over several weeks, so you have time to recover between sessions
  • Not all parts of the body experience the same level of pain.  Areas with more fat (such as the arms or buttocks) are less painful.  Tattoos in areas with less fat or close to bone are more painful

Are there ways to minimise the pain?

Yes there are, and we can advise you on these.  The main forms of pain relief are:

  • Local numbing agents such as Emla cream.  These are topical anaesthetics applied to the skin and help with numbing the area
  • Paracetamol or other over-the-counter pain relievers taken prior to treatment but ALWAYS discuss this with us before taking, as some may have an adverse effect with the treatment process
  • Ice will be used during your treatment and this is very effective in reducing the discomfort
  • Cold air machines such as Zimmer Cryo6.  This is a non-invasive pain relief option which involves blowing cold air (up to -30 Celsius) onto the treatment area before, during and after, which produces a numbing effect 

Should the 'pain factor' put me off getting my Tattoo Removed?

No, we don't think it should.  There's no doubt very sound reasons why you're thinking of getting a Tattoo removed, and if you're ready to take that step the temporary discomfort shouldn't stop you achieving the permanent change you seek. 

Tattoo removal is increasingly popular and our Perth Doctors are experts in safe and effective laser tattoo removal treatments. For more information, go to our Laser Tattoo Removal page.

Information supplied by our guest blogger - Tatts a Mistake

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