Tattoo Removal Aftercare - Your Guide to Quick and Healthy Healing

Written by: Jason White

As we all know, tattoos are permanent. Once the ink has seeped into our skin, it is almost impossible for the pigment in that area to return to normal.

Unfortunately, as we get older, we may grow to regret certain tattoos. This could be due to the fact that the images become blurred overtime, or maybe you’ve just outgrown the design itself.

A person may desire to have a tattoo removed for a variety of reasons, but it can be challenging to decide which procedure is the most effective.

Most people choose laser removal, not knowing there are other options.

No matter which removal method you go for, however, you will need to know how to properly take care of the affected area following the procedure.

Just like when you get a tattoo, aftercare is key to ensuring the best quality for your skin afterwards.

In this article, we will discuss the three tattoo removal methods, as well as looking into the aftercare requirements for each individual method.

So, let’s get started.

Consider Your Tattoo Removal Options

The first thing you should do if you’re thinking about tattoo removal is to see a dermatologist.

They will be able to assist you in selecting the tattoo removal procedure that is most certain to be successful for the removal of your ink by outlining your possibilities.

For instance, certain tattoo pigments respond to laser treatments better than others.

Similar to how certain little tattoos may be suitable for surgical intervention while others may just be too big to be cut out.

Each method is listed below, along with a detailed description of what it entails.

Learn more on Tattoo Removal Pain

Laser Removal

The most popular option for tattoo removal is laser surgery.

For laser tattoo removal, a tattoo machine with Q-switched lasers is frequently employed, though darker skin may necessitate a different kind of laser to avoid irreversibly altering the skin’s hue.

A local anesthetic injection is administered to numb the skin prior to laser treatment.

The tattoo is then exposed to a strong electromagnetic pulse that causes the ink to heat up and disintegrate. 

Tattoos with several colors may require laser treatment using a variety of frequencies, and depending on the size/detail, several sessions may be required to fully remove the tattoo.

Surgical Removal

Compared to laser removal, surgical removal includes manually removing the tattoo with a scalpel, which causes more trauma. 

Because it is done under local anesthesia, you will be awake and conscious throughout the process, but won’t experience any discomfort.

A local anesthetic injection will be used to numb the skin prior to surgical removal. With the use of a blade, the tattoo is removed, and the skin is then sewn back together.

Although surgical tattoo removal is an efficient method, a scar will be left behind. Therefore, this technique might only be useful for minor tattoos because larger regions will result in more noticeable scars.

Dermabrasion Removal

Dermabrasion isn’t a popular option for people looking to get a tattoo removed, given the inconsistent impacts and much less successful results than laser or surgical removal. However, it is still a choice to take into account.

The purpose is to get rid of the ink-filled skin layers, which will also get rid of the tattoo.

The tattooed region is often cooled until it becomes numb during dermabrasion.

The tattoo ink is then allowed to escape from the skin by being shaved down to deeper depths with a high-speed rotary tool that includes an exfoliating wheel or brush.

After the operation, the affected region will continue to feel sensitive and uncomfortable for a few days, and a complete recovery could take up to three weeks.

Tattoo Removal Aftercare


Out of the three removal options, the aftercare for laser removal is probably the most similar to how you would care for a healing tattoo.

It will take around 4 weeks for the area to heal, and then, if needed, you can go back for your second round of treatment.

To begin with, the damaged region needs to be kept fresh, sterilized, and moisturized as part of your laser removal aftercare routine.

This will help the area to heal at a faster, healthier rate.

You should concentrate on maintaining the area’s cleanliness and dryness for the first couple of days.

This entails staying out of the water while you shower, and avoiding baths and swimming.

You can use warm, soapy water and your hands to gently clean the area, but use antibacterial, unscented items to prevent irritation.

You can use over-the-counter steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, to aid if the area starts to itch. These treatments will lessen general soreness and irritation.

You can also consume some painkillers, but you shouldn’t take aspirin while the skin is still recovering.


Depending on the size of the tattoo you are getting removed, surgical removal of a tattoo usually takes around 2 weeks to fully heal.

The treatment to remove tattoos surgically is completed in one day. On the same day as the tattoo removal, you will be allowed to go home, just as you would after getting a tattoo done.

You will likely feel some inflammation and redness after the operation. You might also experience a little soreness and pain.

To help lessen any symptoms, you can take painkillers, but again, we recommend avoiding aspirin.

To prevent infection and a worsening of the scar, it’s crucial to take care of the incision site. You can do this by keeping it clean and fresh, and avoiding any perfumed/scented soaps and lotions.

Once the wound has healed, it is advised that you keep the area hydrated by applying lots of sunscreen to the region to keep the scar as cosmetically pleasant as possible.


Dermabrasion recovery typically takes two to three weeks. The skin may probably feel unpleasant for a few days, somewhat like a friction burn. 

Dermabrasion has a somewhat more unpleasant healing procedure than the first two techniques, due to it involving further trauma to the skin during the procedure.

The treatment location will momentarily leave you with pink or red skin. Usually, the reddish tint goes away after eight to twelve weeks.

During the healing process, the region may sometimes swell and bleed, but this is normal in slight amounts.

Following the surgery, patients are advised to stay out of the sun for three to six months and use sunscreen often.

Sunlight exposure might result in severe scarring, which you should completely avoid.

Which Tattoo Removal Method Should I Choose?

As we mentioned earlier, the best way to figure out which removal method is best for you is by discussing your options with a medical professional, e.g., a dermatologist.

They will know exactly which removal method is best suited for you and your tattoo.

However, below, we have listed four of the factors that you may be wondering about before you get your tattoo removed: 

  • The overall, average cost of the procedure.
  • The number of sessions required to complete the removal of the ink.
  • The effectiveness of the removal of the ink.
  • The potential scarring that will be left behind following the procedure.

Of course, each of these factors will vary depending on the person having the procedure done. The color of the ink in the tattoo, the size of the tattoo, and the patient’s immunity will all factor into each of these.

Overall Cost (Average)

Laser removal: $463 per session.

Surgical removal: $200-$1,500.

Dermabrasion: Depends on several factors, but can be up to $1,000s.

Number Of Sessions Needed

Laser removal: Up to 10.

Surgical removal: Usually only 1, but more may be needed for larger pieces.

Dermabrasion: 1. 


Laser removal: Several sessions may be required for complete removal.

Surgical removal: Tattoo will be completely removed, but a scar will be left behind.

Dermabrasion: Depends on the tattoo/the patient.

Potential Scarring

Laser removal: Low scarring risk, providing the correct aftercare has been applied.

Surgical removal: High, unavoidable scarring risk.

Dermabrasion: Depends on the tattoo/the patient.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to tattoo removal procedures, many people are only aware of laser removal.

This is likely due to the fact that it is the most commonly performed method of tattoo removal, and is one of the easiest to perform and recover from.

However, depending on your tattoo, you may want to consider surgical removal, or even dermabrasion.

Before deciding on a removal method, we advise that you speak to a dermatologist to discuss your options.

For every medical operation, aftercare is always an important factor to take into account.

Following all aftercare instructions to the letter can assist to ensure that your skin heals as well it can while minimizing the risk of infection, skin discoloration, and other undesirable effects.

So, no matter which method you decide to go for, don’t forget to take good care of your skin following the procedure for the best results.

Copyright © 2023 Tattify. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy & Cookie Disclaimer.

The information contained on Tattify is intended for informational and educational purposes only. None of the statements made on this website are intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease, infection or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before using tattoo/skincare products that may interfere with medications or known conditions. This article is provided with the understanding that it does not constitute medical or professional advice or services. If you are looking for help with your condition, please seek out a qualified medical practitioner.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.