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Sometimes, we make bad decisions in our youth. Those decisions may be temporary and not have any long-lasting effects other than embarrassment. But, unfortunately, sometimes those decisions happen to leave permanent ink on our bodies. 


Woman's back with different stages of laser tattoo removal.

The good news is that tattoos no longer have to be a permanent decision. Every year, thousands of patients undergo tattoo removal. With so many people looking to rid themselves of their ink, there are bound to be plenty of questions surrounding the process. 

To answer some of those questions, we have put together this list of five frequently asked questions about tattoo removal. 

1. Is Tattoo Removal Safe?

You may be wondering how to go about removing a tattoo and if the methods are safe. If you fall into that category, there is good news for you: tattoo removal processes are heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are currently three FDA-approved methods of tattoo removal: laser, dermabrasion, and excision. 

The most popular tattoo removal technique is the laser method because of how safe and effective it is. While there is a chance for minimal side effects, like redness, tenderness, swelling, blistering, bruising, scabs, and slight discoloration, these marks are far less extensive than tattoo removal techniques of years past—which left significant scars and had a heightened risk of infection.

2. Is Tattoo Removal Effective?

Laser tattoo removal is an effective way to say goodbye to unwanted ink. Here is an idea of the kind of results you can expect before and after your sessions:
Before and after image showing the results of a laser tattoo removal performed in Pasadena, CA.

It is important to remember that every tattoo and skin tone reacts differently to laser treatment. So, to ensure the best possible results, it is always best to schedule a consultation with an experienced physician who will work with you to develop a strategic tattoo removal plan. 

Tattoo removal requires multiple sessions. The number of sessions will vary depending on the size, coloring, and depth of the tattoo.

Want to learn more about which type of tattoos can be removed? Read our blog here.

3. Can Tattoo Removal Cause Scarring?

While laser removal is the safest way to ensure that there is no evidence of the tattoo left behind, it is important to find a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. O’Toole, who is well-trained and experienced in tattoo removal. 

If performed improperly, tattoo removal can potentially scar or blemish the skin. Fortunately, when performed by skilled professionals, scarring is very rare. 

4. Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?

While pain is mostly subjective, many people who undergo laser tattoo removal say that it hurts far less than getting the tattoo in the first place. So, if you were able to withstand the pain of having the tattoo applied, the odds are that you will be able to tolerate the pain of having it taken off. 

Illustration showing laser tattoo removal process

5. Is Tattoo Removal Worth It? 

When considering the value of tattoo removal, one of the first questions most people ask themselves is, “How much does tattoo removal cost?” While this is definitely an important factor to consider, it is hard to put a price on feeling comfortable and confident in your skin. The decisions you made in your younger years do not need to stick around with you for the rest of your life. 

The cost of laser tattoo removal surgery is also entirely dependent on the size and appearance of your tattoo. During your consultation, Dr. O’Toole will give you an accurate estimate of the full cost of your removal treatment. 

Bonus: Does Tattoo Removal Cause Cancer?

There is no evidence that links the light used in the laser removal process to cancer. Despite the lack of evidence, physicians are still careful to avoid applying the laser to blemishes that could pose a health risk. 

Interested in Learning More?

Ultimately, the choice to get laser tattoo removal is a personal decision. But when weighing the pros and cons of tattoo removal, think about whether that skull and crossbones or ex-significant other’s name is something you want with you as you age.

If you have a tattoo that you would like to soon be without, contact Pasadena Cosmetic Surgery today by calling (626) 671-1756 or filling out our online contact form.