Getting Your Tattoo Removed

The dos, don’ts, and what you should know beforehand.


Humans have a reputation for being pretty impulsive in the name of love - just think of every romcom you’ve ever come across as testament to this. One of the most permanent declarations of love that we’ve seen through celebs on our Instagram timelines are… matching couple tattoos

The cynical lovers among us smile to ourselves at the idea of Johnny Depp changing the writing on his arm from ‘Winona Forever’ to ‘Wino Forever’ once he and Ryder split, because really - lifetime relationships are never a guarantee. We’re the same audience who love the likes of ‘Tattoo Fixers’ or ‘Tattoo Nightmares’ - watching with amusement a team of tattoo artists trying to cover up the mistakes of others. 

Now, just like Ariana Grande & Pete Davidson, and Kylie Jenner & Travis Scott, one of my closest friends (who shall remain anonymous) thought that getting a matching tattoo with her boyfriend of a few months was a really good idea. News flash: their break-up a few months later assured us all that it really wasn’t.

While there are other options to hide tattoos, including surgical excision or a cover-up, they decided to go down the route of tattoo laser treatment - albeit a more expensive and longer process. 

So, 18 months and the blurry remains of a tattoo still on her skin later, I’ve decided to pass on the knowledge I’ve seen first-hand, as she went through the process of removal. Here’s what she learnt along the way…

1. Don’t go to the first person you find online!

She really, really wanted this tattoo gone, so did plenty of research before deciding to travel cities to see a ‘tattoo removal specialist’. He was a lovely guy but after a couple of sessions red flags began to show - like his blasé attitude towards the treatment, and lack of what one would expect as basic hygiene. 

She cancelled treatment with him, and later found a clinic more local, run by a team of female skincare professionals who are the most lovely people. They communicated everything with clarity, and continue to treat her with care at every appointment.

2. Pricing

In terms of eligibility to undergo laser tattoo removal, she is lucky in the sense that her skin is extremely fair and her tattoo small. Each session costs her £50, and due to the nature of her tattoo it doesn’t take long for her to zap and send her on her way. I know that larger tattoos can cost a lot more, so it's worth factoring in that you may need many sessions, and calculating beforehand whether it’s the most affordable option for you.

3. Eligibility

As I mentioned above, your eligibility for laser tattoo removal treatment depends on a variety of factors, and there are provisional forms online that may help you determine this. These factors include: the amount of melanin in your skin, the size of your tattoo, the location of your tattoo, and the color of your tattoo. 

Interestingly enough, the easiest tattoo ink to remove via laser is black, followed by darker pigments such as blue and dark red. Pink, green and yellow inks become trickier because they’re often mixed with white ink to achieve their lighter hughes. White ink particles reflect the laser beam, meaning that it can’t break them down into smaller particles, and so they remain in the skin.  

It is said that the closer your tattoo is to your heart, the quicker to remove, due to the increased circulation of blood that presents more cells to take the broken-down ink particles into your bloodstream and then out of your body. 

With all this in mind, a skincare professional will be able to give you more accurate advice than I will, when it comes to you and your individual tattoo. Check out other shops such as tattoo removal Sydney and learn more about them before going through the process yourself.

4. Going under the laser

For most, the biggest deal of the whole lazer process is anticipating the sensation of a laser zapping ink particles that are embedded in the skin. I’m not gonna lie… people say it hurts. But then again, the pain will depend on your personal tolerance, and the size and location of your tat. 

The way my friend prepares for each session is by bringing an ice pack with her to apply to the area straight afterwards - you want to keep it cool and clean for as long as possible following treatment. I’d advise to wear appropriate clothing or footwear depending on the area of your body getting lasered, and don’t shower, or do any activity that could aggravate it for a day after. 

5. Patience

Tattoos aren't removed after a single session, and sometimes won’t fade entirely. Hers is red ink, and has had a good 5 sessions and it’s still stuck around! You also have to wait a number of weeks in-between sessions to allow the site to heal. Make sure you speak to a professional beforehand to gauge the pros and cons, as laser removal isn’t the only solution out there. 

Bottom Line: It goes without saying but think carefully about what’s going on your body forever - committing to matching tattoos is super fun but can be a major regret if you’re not 100% sure! (And a lot of time and money spent to reverse).


Up Next, Hearts In Your Eyes, Hearts On Your Nails