How Many Sessions Will It Take to Remove My Tattoos?


Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the best idea to have “No regrets” tattooed on the side of your neck. Or maybe you should have gotten to know whatshisface before you tattooed his name on your breast.  But whatever your reason for seeking out laser tattoo removal, you’ve come to the right place. At Siti Med Spa in San Diego, we’ve helped hundreds of people remove their unwanted tattoos, and we can help you, too. 

One of the first questions most people ask us is: How long will it take, and how many tattoo removal sessions will I need?

The answer varies widely from person to person, making the question impossible for us to answer without looking closely at your tattoo and evaluating the particulars of your tattoo. But there are some general rules of thumb when it comes to assessing whether the number of tattoo removal sessions needed will be closer to 3 or closer to 10. Take a look below:

A smaller tattoo will likely require fewer sessions to remove

You’ve probably already guessed that the large, detailed tattoo of your ex-girlfriend’s face on your thigh will take longer to remove than the tiny little tattooed initials of your other ex-girlfriend on your forearm. Makes sense, right?

The cheaper the tattoo cost, the easier it will be to remove

Ok, so we’re being a little cheeky here, but it does tend to hold true that we can usually remove amateur tattoos faster than professional ones. This is because the ink density is usually much lower in amateur tattoos, which makes them easier to remove. The depth of professional tattoo ink also tends to be much deeper, causing the professional tattoos to require more sessions to remove.

The older the tattoo, the fewer removal sessions you may need

Older tattoos are likely to be removed more easily and quickly than newer ones.  The years have given the sun and your own body time to do some ink breakdown, so the process has already gotten started. Tattoos that are 10+ years old are usually easier to remove than new ones. 

An abundance of darker inks may make your tattoo easier to remove

Black is the easiest tattoo color to remove. The lighter colors require more sessions. Red, dark orange, and dark blue respond more quickly to the removal process than green, purple, brown, light orange, and light blue. 

Tattoos on darker skin usually require more removal sessions

Lighter skin does not absorb the laser light. Instead, the laser energy focuses on the tattoo ink. But because darker skin does absorb some of the laser energy, we have to use a lower energy setting in order to avoid unwanted side effects when removing tattoos from darker skin. The lower laser energy means more removal sessions may be necessary. 

It’s easier to remove tattoos near the heart than on the hands and feet

Your immune cells play a large role in the laser tattoo removal process. Areas of the body with a high blood and lymph node count have more immune cells passing through. Tattoos in locations near the heart and on the back, arms, and upper legs may require fewer removal sessions than those on the lower legs, hands, and feet. 

Smokers usually need more sessions to remove their tattoos

Strange as it may seem, smoking reduces the chance of successful tattoo removal by 70% over 10 sessions. Over 20 sessions, the number goes down to 35%. Still, it’s clearly cheaper to just quit smoking.  

Looking for laser tattoo removal in San Diego? We can help!

At Siti Med Spa, we use the Cutera Enlighten Laser to safely and effectively remove unwanted tattoos. Enlighten uses short, high-powered picosecond laser pulses, which remove tattoos more completely and in fewer sessions than standard lasers can. 

Don’t worry if the tattoo you want to remove is not tiny, all-black, old, and etched into light skin centered over your heart. We can remove the tougher ones, too; it just might take an extra session or two. 

Give us a call to schedule your tattoo removal consultation today.