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Will Laser Tattoo Removal be Painful?

By: Dr. James D. Fontaine


No matter how much we love a tattoo, when we decide to get one, there are many reasons we may want it removed later on. It can be poorly drawn, the ink can fade over time, or we may simply no longer appreciate the memory they were meant to preserve.

Regardless of why you may want a tattoo removed, laser tattoo removal at Fontaine MD Aesthetics and Anti-Aging Medicine may be a good option. Board-certified physician Dr. James Fontaine can help patients near San Diego, CA explore their options for laser treatments.

Below we'll address what new kinds of laser tattoo removal can do, what the process feels like, and whether tattoo removal is painful.

How does laser tattoo removal work?

Old laser tattoo removal methods were considered painful and couldn't permanently remove all traces of ink. But the technology has evolved.

At Fontaine MD Aesthetics and Anti-Aging Medicine in San Diego, CA, Dr. Fontaine uses a state-of-the-art laser system to produce better results with fewer treatment sessions.

The lasers used by Dr. Fontaine break up the color pigment beneath the skin, lightening the ink over time. It's rare to be able to remove a tattoo with just one treatment. The number, type, and intensity of laser treatments you may require will depend on the following factors:

  • The size of the tattoo

  • The location of the tattoo

  • Your age and the condition of your skin

  • The ink colors used for the tattoo

  • Your aesthetic goals

Taking these factors into account, Dr. Fontaine will develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient.

Is laser tattoo removal painful?

As the laser passes over the tattooed area, patients report the treatment feels like having a rubber band snapped against the skin. However, lasers of the past were often so painful that an anesthetic was often needed. That's no longer the case with most of today's lasers.

However, if you are concerned about pain during treatment, there are topical pain relievers as well as injections, such as lidocaine, that can help minimize what you feel while undergoing laser tattoo removal.

It's difficult to predict precisely how painful a laser tattoo procedure might be since people report a wide variety of feelings and intensity. What may be painful for one person will be tolerable to another. That's why it's essential to consult with Dr. Fontaine before treatment to talk about your experiences with pain and any numbing treatments available.

Taking a break is always an option if you experience discomfort during the procedure.

How will my skin feel after laser tattoo removal?

It's crucial to take good care of the treatment area following laser tattoo treatment. Many patients report feelings of sunburn or tenderness in the weeks following laser tattoo removal. There may also be redness or scabbing in the area treated. These side effects typically subside on their own if patients follow aftercare instructions, including:

  • Avoiding exposing the treatment area to direct sunlight

  • Keeping the area clean by gently cleaning it with soap and water

  • Avoiding picking at scabs

  • Applying thin layers of approved ointments

Get laser tattoo removal in San Diego, CA

The discomfort patients experience during or after laser tattoo removal is generally temporary, and modern-day lasers provide better treatment will less pain than previous tattoo removal methods.

If you're in the San Diego, CA area and are concerned about what laser tattoo removal treatment will feel like or if it's painful, contact board-certified physician Dr. James Fontaine at Fontaine MD Aesthetics and Anti-Aging Medicine for a personalized consultation.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.