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How Long Will It Take to Remove My Tattoo?

With PicoWay®, it takes about 6-8 months to remove a tattoo completely. Treatment typically requires 6-8 sessions for total removal, and it can take 10 sessions for particularly large tattoos. Factors such as skin type, location, color, healing time, ink density, and prior scarring can influence the time required.

How Does Tattoo Removal Work?

Because the particles within tattoo ink are so large, your body cannot absorb the ink on its own, which is why tattoos are essentially permanent if left alone. PicoWay®, a powerful laser technology, shatters the ink particles into smaller units to allow your body to naturally remove the tattoo ink and leave the skin noticeably clearer. Because high-powered laser pulses are faster than older methods, the procedure is nearly painless.

How Many Sessions Are Required for Tattoo Removal?

As noted above, it takes about 6-8 months to remove a tattoo completely through 6-8 sessions, occasionally requiring up to 10 for large tattoos. We use PicoWay® for laser tattoo removal in our Pittsburgh, PA, office, and many patients start to see a noticeable reduction in the appearance of their tattoo after just 3 sessions.

Are There Side Effects to Tattoo Removal?

Following laser treatment, clients may experience swelling, blisters, and redness. However, such side effects are quite common and should subside within a few weeks.

Is Tattoo Removal Safe?

PicoWay® laser technology provides a much simpler and safer solution than traditional methods of tattoo removal such as dermabrasion, IPL, and surgical excision. Aside from the temporary side effects, tattoo removal is very safe when done by experienced professionals. In contrast, traditional methods can sometimes result in infection or scarring.

Factors That Affect How Long Tattoo Removal Takes

There are many factors that can affect how long a tattoo removal will take. Factors include:

Skin type

When it comes to skin tone, there is some truth that the lighter your complexion is, the easier it will be for laser light to penetrate deeply into the dermis and thereby shatter ink particles. However, because it is low heat, PicoWay® will not cause heat-induced discoloration, making it ideal for a range of skin types.


It is nearly impossible to know which compounds the original tattooist used in your tattoo. As a result, colors constitute a significant factor in how long tattoo removal takes. Because every color used in a tattoo requires a distinct wavelength of laser light for removal, the total number of colors used in your tattoo will affect how long tattoo removal takes.


When the laser targets a tattoo pigment, the ink particles are shattered. From there, your immune system carries the shattered particles out of your body. Consequently, the time it takes to remove a tattoo has a lot to do with your body’s ability to heal following each laser session. The proximity of your tattoo to the body’s main blood supplies, such as the heart and major blood vessels, makes a difference. The closer it is, the less time tattoo removal will require.

Ink density

The deeper and darker your tattoo, the longer it will take to remove it. This is because the ink density directly corresponds with how much ink was used to create the tattoo to begin with; the more ink there is, the longer it takes to treat and remove.

Scars & layering

The process of laser tattoo removal involves treating the tattoo one-by-one in layers. If you incurred scarring when you first got the tattoo, there will be a thicker layer of skin over it, making it more difficult for the laser to penetrate. Ease of laser penetration is a significant determinant for how long your tattoo removal may take. Layered tattoos with tattoo cover-ups can present more obstacles to laser penetration, as can the number of layers and colors.

In addition to these factors, other considerations can come into play, such as:

  • Skill-level of tattooist
  • Age of tattoo
  • Immunity
  • Smoking
  • Ink quality

Is It Easier to Remove a New Tattoo?

As tattoos age, they sink deeper into the skin, which is why some tattoos seem to fade as they get older. However, an older tattoo will typically take fewer sessions to remove than a new one.

Will the Tattoo Removal Be Completely Effective?

As the leading cutting-edge method for removing tattoos, PicoWay® can completely or almost-completely remove every trace of the previous tattoo. Scarring as a result of treatment is phenomenally rare.

Call Us With Questions

To learn more about tattoo removal in the Pittsburgh, PA, area, feel free to call our team today with any questions at 724.371.8571.