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How Long Does It Take to Remove a Tattoo?

i want to get a 6 x 6 inch tattoo removed, and was wondering how long itwou;d take to get it removed? also, how often are the removal treatments?

Doctor Answers (6)

Anticipating Treatment Time Span for Laser Tattoo Removal

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The number of treatment sessions would depend on several factors eg The Colors involved, anatomical location of the tattoo, your Fitzpatrick skin type (how well you tan), layering, amount of ink and the presence of scarring or tissue change. 

Because it will take time for your body to absorb the pigment particles after the laser procedures, procedures need to be spaced at 4-6 week intervals.


Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Tattoo Removal?

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Thank you for the question. 

 The number of treatments that will be necessary will depend on the Ink  color,   depth of ink ( amateur versus professional tattoos differ) and tattoo location.

You should be aware that multiple treatments will be necessary (at least 8) spaced at least one month apart. You should also be aware that after treatment some residual ink  may remain despite best efforts. Treatment may also result in hypo or hyperpigmentation of the area depending on the skin reaction to the laser treatment. Unfortunately, despite treatment, you may always be aware that this tattoo was present in this area. The results do tend to improve with time and sun exposure.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 724 reviews

Factors that determine complexity and length of tattoo removal

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Tattoo removal is a complicated procedure. There are several factors that will determine how many treatments you will need. These factors include: color, location on body, layering, scarring and ethnicity. Colors that are easier to remove are blacks, dark blues and reds. All other colors are harder to remove and are typically more expensive to treat as well. The location of the tattoo on your body also will help or hinder the treatments needed. Tattoos closer to your heart, such as chest and  neck, will require less treatments. If a tattoo was layered over another tattoo, that also will increase your treatment numbers tremendously, simply because there is a lot more ink that needs to be dissolved. Scarring will create a rough thick layer that will hinder the laser’s penetration depth making it trickier to treat a tattoo. Because all tattoo removal lasers target pigment, a darker skinned person may need more treatments at lower levels to prevent the laser from targeting their natural skin tone and causing hypopigmentation. Treatments typically are scheduled about a month apart.

Timothy Jochen, MD
Palm Springs Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

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Length of Tattoo Removal

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There different lasers available for tattoo removal such as the YAG or RUBY Laser.  It usually requires 8-10 treatments for significant fading. The treatments are given one month apart.

Elliot M. Heller, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

How long does it take for a tattoo to disappear using a laser...

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Having a tattoo removed using a laser, will usually generate very nice results in time.  Typically, most tattoos will disappear or come close to disappearing after approximately 6 treatments.  Between each treatment you will have to wait about 4 weeks for the skin to heal.  The colors in the tattoo can also determine how many sessions you may need.  Green and yellow pigments tend to take more treatments for the color to go away.  I would contact your plastic surgeon to see how many treatments he thinks would be needed for it to be removed.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Tattoo laser removal treatment length and frequency

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The number of laser treatments a tattoo requires depends on the depth of the tattoo, the types and colors of ink used, the color of skin to be treated, and the types of lasers used to eradicate it. Usually treatments are spaced 4 -6 weeks apart to allow the body to absorb the ink that has been shattered and destroyed by the laser. Some tattoos can be gone in as little as 4 sessions, some will take as many as 12, and some cannot be totally removed if there is scarring in the tattoo. You have to go slowly with the power on the laser so that you do not change the texture of the skin overlying the tattoo. And some tattoos with many colors may require the use of more than one laser since it is rare to find one laser wavelength that treats all colors well.

Russell W. H. Kridel, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.