How many tattoo removal sessions to remove a tattoo?

January 20, 2021

Author: Jamie Tomlinson

How many sessions to remove a tattoo?

Do you want to know how many sessions to remove a tattoo? Read on around as we’ve got this one covered. 

However, most trends change over time and tattoos are no different. Which means more and more people are starting to consider laser tattoo removal.

And the answer is…. there is no simple answer. Every individual is different, and so is every tattoo.

Laser tattoo removal explained visually in a drawing

What makes a tattoo permanent?

When getting a tattoo in the first place, the ink is placed in the deeper layers of the skin. The ink particles are large and therefore sit there and hence they are permanent.

If you’ve ever wondered why a 20 year old tattoo naturally looks faded compared to a 6 month old tattoo, this is because the body is knows there is something foreign in sitting in the skin.

Over time, the body wants to get rid of the ink. But guess what? It can’t because the ink particles are too large. And whilst it can get rid of some of the ink, it won’t completely get rid of it.

How laser tattoo removal works

So this is why you need the help of a laser tattoo removal machine.

A tattoo removal treatment works by targeting the ink pigment with the laser energy. This laser energy successfully breaks the ink down into tiny little particles. Therefore, making it easier for the body to flush the ink out.

Understanding how laser tattoo removal works will help to understand why it’s not as easy to predict. 

On average a person will need between 6-12 treatments laser tattoo removal treatments. However, some people need less, some may need more.

We can only estimate how many treatments to remove a tattoo and these are based on the following:

Laser tattoo removal and tattoo colour

Certain colours are easier to remove than others. Black and darker inks are easier to get rid of. This is because black ink absorbs all wavelengths of light.

Reds and warmer colours, blues and greens generally require more sessions due to their lower absorption rate. 

Skin tone

It may surprise you that skin tone does influence laser tattoo removal. The laser light is attracted to the dark tattoo ink. Therefore, lighter skin which has less melanin can see quicker tattoo removal results. Darker skin tones have more melanin, making it difficult for the laser to differentiate between the tattoo ink and skin pigment, so may require more laser tattoo removal sessions.

At Goodbye Tattoos, we refer to the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale to estimate the number of sessions needed.

laser tattoo removal skin type scale

Also, sun exposure also has an effect on tattoo removal and can delay the process. We advise staying out of the sun for at least 2 weeks before a tattoo removal treatment. If you have to go in the sun, then please keep the tattooed area covered up and apply a good sunscreen.


Layered Tattoos

 laser tattoo removal Image showing what a layered tattoo looks like

Laser tattoo removal is like peeling back an onion skin. Only one layer can be treated at a time.

If you have a layered tattoo. Or simply put a tattoo on top of an old tattoo, then it may require a few more sessions to get through all the layers of ink.

Tattoo Location on the body

To understand this one, it’s probably worth knowing how laser tattoo removal works. The laser energy breaks down the pigment into tiny little pieces. Your lymphatic system then eliminates the ink through your natural bodily functions.

The areas of your body with the higher circulation can see faster results. Whereas areas with low circulation can take longer, like lower wrists, hands, lower legs and feet. Closer to the heart the quicker the ink may shift.


Picture of all different types of fruit and veg against a yellow background

Tattoo removal works by eliminating the fragmented ink particles via the body’s natural cleansing system. The healthier the individual means the quicker the results. So, for someone who smokes and drinks regularly, the process can be slower. This is because your body is having to deal with so many other toxins.

Give your immune system a boost before a tattoo removal treatment, to help prepare your body. In short, drinks lots of water, eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest before and after a laser tattoo removal treatment. Learn more here to speed up your tattoo removal.

Amount of ink & ink depth

We need to look at the amount of ink applied by the tattoo artist. Is the tattoo ink quite dense? Is there a lot of ink? If so, this could result in needing more treatments to remove.

Age of the tattoo

Although tattoos are permanent, the pigment does actually fade over time. Ever wondered why a tattoo a 20 year old tattoo might look more faded than say a tattoo only 6 months old?

This is because the body is naturally trying to get rid of the ink over time. The body knows there are foreign elements that need to be removed . However the ink particles are too large. Which is why it can’t shift the entire tattoo. Not without the help of a professional laser machine designed to break the ink down.

This is why older faded tattoos can be easier to remove. If you have multiple tattoos you want to get rid, might be an idea to start with the oldest one and work backwards from there.

Professional or Amateur tattoo

You’ll be surprised at how many people get their tattoo done by a friend…..with a tattoo gun… the garage. Or maybe a more basic at home job called Stick and Poke

The difference with a professional tattoo to an amateur one or a Stick and Poke one is that professional tattoos can take more sessions. Because the ink is placed deeper into the Dermis (the deeper layer of the skin), hence harder to shift. Whereas amateur tattoo aren’t that deep in the skin so the laser machine can generally shift the ink quicker.


So there you go. Hopefully you have a bit more of an idea of wow many tattoo removal sessions you might need to remove a tattoo.

If you want to do more reading, head to our blog section. For a free consultation or for laser tattoo removal Northern Beaches. Get in touch today and our friendly staff will give you all the information you need. 1300 74 50 74 or email

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