Does Tattoo Removal Really Hurt More Than Getting A Tattoo?

Have you ever gotten a tattoo that, looking back, you thought maybe wasn't the best idea? Don't worry, you're not the only one, which is why tattoo removal was invented. There are three methods of tattoo removal, including laser surgery, surgical removal, and dermabrasion. Because the procedure involves removing ink beneath the skin, tattoo removal is much more complex than getting the tattoo itself.


Laser surgery is the most common technique, and it involves Q-switched lasers that heat and shatter the ink. Surgical removal is done via scalpel and is recommended for small tattoos only, as the procedure leaves a scar. Finally, if you choose dermabrasion, your skin will be sanded down using a high-speed rotary device in order for the ink to drain out.

If you've been considering removing your tattoo, you're probably curious about how painful the procedure actually is. Does it really hurt more than getting a tattoo? Let's find out.

It depends on your pain tolerance

There is no one true answer to this question, considering everyone has their own level of pain tolerance. For some, getting a tattoo removed might feel like nothing more than scratching a sunburn, while others may want sedation to have it done. If you don't have a high threshold for pain, your dermatologist can make the experience more comfortable with a local anesthetic or numbing cream. Unfortunately, neither can make the process 100% painless, but they will help ease your discomfort.


The pain also depends on the tattoo placement. Some areas of the body are way more sensitive than others, such as your feet, stomach, and fingers. The reason is that the touch receptors in those places are more responsive to pressure than those in your forearm and outer thigh. Essentially, the meatier the area, the less painful the tattoo removal will be.

How to prepare for your appointment

In order to have a safe, successful tattoo removal, there are certain things you should and shouldn't do before the big day. For example, Vanish Laser Clinic asks its clients to avoid exposing their tattoos to direct sunlight, spray tans and tanning lotions, and tattoo removal creams, to name a few. It's important to be honest with your dermatologist about any antibiotics you may be taking, as you need to wait a minimum of 14 days after your last day of medication before your tattoo can be removed.


If your skin isn't properly prepared for removal, your dermatologist will more than likely reschedule your appointment. Your safety is the number one priority, so it's critical you do not go through with the procedure until you've had a consultation with your doctor. To prevent yourself from ever having to get a tattoo removed, really consider your next idea before having it permanently ingrained into your skin. After all, if you hate your tattoo, you might have to endure some pain to remove it.