What Is Getting A Tattoo Removed Like?

by Lindsey Rose Black

From delicate finger designs to micro-sized quotes, it seems like tattoos have definitely been on the rise over the past few years. But if you've fallen victim to a tattoo you seriously just can't stand, here's what getting a tattoo removed is like. It won't be pleasant, but it is definitely possible.

For what it's worth, you're totally not alone in this boat. Khloe Kardashian removed her lower back tattoo last month, and Iggy Azalea is no longer rocking her A$AP Rocky tattoo. And in the non-celebrity world, my friend Jordan recently underwent laser removal thanks to a tattoo motivated by one too many tequila shots in downtown Austin. I reached out to her for any support or advice she could give to people considering tattoo removal. "Oh Lord, the struggle is real. But laser did work!" she says. Hopefully that inspires some hope!

Though a Canadian student claims to have invented a painless tattoo removal cream, it's still undergoing testing, so laser tattoo removal is probably your best option. While cost varies, make sure you do your research to find a laser removal certified professional. And if you're lucky, insurance *might* even cover some of the cost!

Here's what to expect when undergoing laser tattoo removal:

1. Fear & Weird Sadness

Jordan made it a point to let me know that, although she HATED her teddy bear ankle tattoo, a small part of her was still sad to see it go. Laser removal generally costs between $75 and $300 per session (and you will need several sessions), so unless you're 100 percent sure about removal, it might be wise to hold off. Don't forget you can also re-work your old tattoo into something new!

2. The First Laser Session Is Always The Scariest

Alexandra Tunnell at Harpers Bazaar shared that the hardest part of her experience with PicoSure lasers was bracing herself for the Lidocaine. On the bright side, she was surprised to find that numbing was literally the most painful part of the procedure.

3. Patience

Sadly, laser removal isn't a quick in-and-out thing. Carly Cardellino told Cosmopolitan getting her tattoo removed was a process "two years in the making" as she had to visit several doctors to get the various colors out.

4. More Patience

Even if you've found a great doctor and committed to laser treatment, Cardellino pointed out that the reason laser tattoo removal takes so much time is because you have to wait about a month between sessions for your skin to heal after each treatment.

5. It Won't Be Pretty

In between sessions, Tunnell shared that your skin is going to feel like it's severely sunburned, but will become less painful as a scab forms. While a scab may not be the sexiest thing, you'll definitely be grateful for it!

6. Aftercare Is Crucial

Similar to proper tattoo aftercare, making sure your post-laser wound stays clean is crucial. Time to stock up on Aquaphor and band-aids.

7. Possible Side Effects

Though rare, knowing what to look for if you're experiencing a negative side effect of laser tattoo removal means you can get help faster according to Real Self. If you notice large blisters, excessive swelling, and bleeding that doesn't subside, call your doctor immediately to sort out the problem.

Good luck getting de-inked!

Image Credit: Stock Snap/Pixabay; Helga Weber, M, Alex The Shutter, Alex Pepperhill, miss rogue, Elizabeth Albert, Brandy/Flickr