Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare Tips

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare Tips [How to Heal Faster!]

laser vein treatment on leg

Whether you have an unwanted tattoo removed or have ink that looks bad, a laser treatment to move ink is only the first part of the process. When starting laser removal sessions, most people are unaware of how to take care of their skin following the procedure to ensure it heals properly. Even though it is a simple office procedure, stringent after tattoo removal care is crucial for a full recovery.

How Many Tattoo Removal Sessions Do I Need?

Most people need between five and eight laser tattoo removal sessions to remove ink particles before seeing results. Factors affecting the tattoo removal process include skin complexion and the type of laser and technology the provider uses. Treatments usually occur six to eight weeks apart but may take up to a full year to complete if you have a complicated tattoo.

How Long are the Sessions?

An individual tattoo removal session can last anywhere from a few minutes to up to an hour, depending on the size of the removal site. Multiple colors and the tattoo's location can impact treatment times, too. If your unwanted ink is located in an area of particularly sensitive skin, the tech may lean towards caution during the laser session to ensure the skin heals properly. Consult with your provider before laser removal treatment begins so you know what to expect regarding time and cost.

The heat from the laser breaks apart ink particles, which the body slowly removes. Treated skin comes under direct contact with the laser so that it could experience minor burns, blistering, itching, and mild swelling.

What to Expect During the Healing Process

After a laser tattoo removal treatment, the treated area immediately whitens. This is called frosting and can last several minutes. Many patients develop blisters or scabs within 12 to 24 hours, lasting up to two weeks and sometimes longer. Treated skin may be pink or pale after the scab separates. Loss of skin pigment is common and usually temporary. The healing process is usually complete within six to eight weeks.

How to Care For Your Skin After Tattoo Removal

The first rule of the tattoo removal aftercare process is to follow your provider's recommendations closely to augment the healing process. Although every situation is slightly different, you can expect proper tattoo removal aftercare to include the following instructions.

Keep the Healing Area Clean and Dry

pre vs post 3 tattoo removal treatments

The tattoo area must remain clean and dry for the first three days after treatment. You may cover it with a bandage or sterilized gauze. After three days, you can remove the bandage but keep it as clean and dry as possible. Keep the initial dressing on your healing skin for at least eight to 12 hours. Afterward, you can clean the treated area twice daily with mild soap and water and pat it dry.

Use a Healing Cream

Applying an ointment like hydrocortisone cream will help reduce inflammation in the healing area. Vitamin E Oil is another good choice as it helps damaged skin cells, as well as an antibiotic healing ointment. These ointments will make your skin less itchy, making you less tempted to scratch the affected area. You can apply other creams like Vaseline to help soothe treated skin.

What if Blisters Develop?

Blisters are common after tattoo removal, but not everyone gets them. If your skin forms blisters, don't pop or pick at them. Protect blisters with a dry, non-stick dressing, especially if it begins to ooze. Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment to any tears or damaged areas.

Wear Sunblock

Generously apply sunblock (SPF 25+) anytime you head outside, as sun exposure can seriously damage your skin following laser removal.

Things to Avoid After Laser Tattoo Removal

Much like when you got the tattoo, you should avoid several things after laser tattoo removal to prevent infection or prolong the healing process.

#1 Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure

If possible, avoid sun exposure within the first 15 days or until the area is visibly healed. Afterward, wear strong sunblock for at least three months after the final laser treatment to avoid scar tissue.

#2 Makeup

Wearing makeup on the treatment area can cause excessive irritation, so it is best to avoid using any cosmetics until the body's healing process is complete. If you must wear makeup, wait at least 48 hours after laser tattoo removal. The same holds for scented lotions because the fragrant components can cause the skin to become agitated.

#3 Don't Pick at Scabs or Blisters

Don't pick or scratch at the skin while it heals. Blisters and scabs or a normal side effect, but not everyone gets them. If your skin forms blisters or scabs, don't pop or pick at them. Protect blisters with a dry, non-stick dressing, especially if it begins to ooze. Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment to any tears or damaged areas. Likewise, wait to shave the area until it is fully healed.

 #4 Avoid Exercise for 48 Hours

Most experts recommend abstaining from exercise for one to two days after each laser tattoo removal treatment. Each person's wait time differs depending on their healing time. Smaller tattoos have a lesser wait time, while larger ones wait at least two days, possibly longer. Use your best discretion, as exercising immediately after laser removal may cause swelling or blistering.

Can You Shower After Laser Tattoo Removal?

Once you remove the bandage, you can shower and wash the treatment area but avoid high-pressure water. Don't soak the area until the skin heals completely. Avoid baths, hot tubs, and swimming pools, as they can increase your chance of infection.

Speed up Your Tattoo Healing Process by Keeping a Healthy Immune System

Proper tattoo removal aftercare includes keeping your immune system strong before and after the laser removal. Your immune system helps ward off infections and speeds up recovery time. Here are a few things you can do to build your immunity, prevent infections and speed recovery:

Drink water - Consuming an adequate amount of water each day keeps your immune system strong. It hydrates you and aids the body's healing process, promoting healthy skin, cells, and tissues.

Don't smoke - Non-smokers have faster and better results because the body must work overtime to remove smoke toxins.

Limit alcohol consumption - Drinking too much causes dehydration, resulting in a slower immune system response.

Keep exercising - Although you need to take a break immediately after laser tattoo removal, maintain your routine, as exercise increases heart rate and blood flow, increasing the rate at which unwanted pigment breaks down.

Eat clean - A healthy diet, along with adequate water intake and exercise, keeps your immune system strong.

Get adequate sleep - Not getting enough sleep negatively affects your immune system. Maintain a regular routine by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time in the morning.

How Long Does it Take for a Tattoo Removal to Heal?

What you do in the weeks following laser tattoo removal treatments can really affect the healing rate. Your efforts during laser tattoo removal aftercare are as crucial as the procedure. Most tattoo removals take about four to eight weeks to heal. Boost and support your immune system before and after the process and follow the aftercare instructions you receive from your provider.

If you have an unwanted tattoo, VIVAA can help. Contact our office at 425-250-9999 to set up your free consultation and learn more about laser tattoo removal.


Dr. Navdeep Kaur
Dr. Navdeep Kaur

Author Dr. Navdeep Kaur

SPECIALITIES: Women's Health Including Contraceptives And Hormone Management, Supervised Weight Loss, Management Of Medical Conditions, Preventive Care.