Tattoo Removal Questions


If you’re thinking about removing a tattoo these are the questions and answers you should be thinking about. But if there’s anything you’re unsure or you think we’ve missed, then please do contact us.

How much does it cost?

A single treatment can start from around $50, or cost up to $200. It depends greatly on how large the design is. But be prepared that you will most likely need more than one treatment.

How many treatments will it take?

This depends greatly on the type of tattoo. Small, single colour designs with only minimal lines and no fill are much easier to remove, and may only require a single treatment taking just a few minutes. Large, complex, highly coloured and fully inked in designs will take a lot more time and a lot more treatments. Most designs require somewhere in the range of 6 to 10 treatments, but it could require more for very large and/or heavily inked tattoos.

This can all be discussed and planned out at your initial free consultation. So you don’t have to start until you know pretty much what will be required, and how much it will cost you.

How long do I have to wait between treatments?

Although you will see some fading right there during the sessions, this will continue after you leave the clinic. And your body will continue to process and get rid of the ink in the weeks that follow. So it’s recommend that you leave at least 4 weeks between treatments.

Where can I find a clinic to remove my tattoo?

There are clinics and specialists now appearing all over New Zealand, but you can easily find one in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

How does the laser work?

The latest Q-switched lasers fire short bursts of light at the skin, each burst taking just a fraction of a second. This highly concentrated light passes through the outer layers of the skin, but is absorbed by the tattoo ink and forces it to break apart. This allows your body to then naturally remove those tiny ink particles.

Does it hurt?

It ranges from uncomfortable to quite painful, depending on your tolerance to pain. Some describe it like an elastic band being repeatedly flicked at your skin. But follow your therapists advice and you can use painkillers and pain-numbing creams to minimise any discomfort. The treatment itself is however surprisingly quick so you won’t have to tolerate it for very long on small tattoos anyway.

What about afterwards?

After treatment you will be red and sore. If you’ve ever been sunburnt, that gives you some idea of what it’s likely to feel like for the next week or so. You will be given detailed aftercare advice, but obviously you will need to look after the area and keep it out of the sun.

What colours are hardest to remove?

It may surprise you to find it’s the dark reds, blues and blacks that fade best. Purple and orange are also quite quick to respond. But it’s the yellows and greens that you will have most problems with – they will take longer and require more treatments to remove. But once the ink has gone, it is permanently gone, so it can’t reappear.

What about scarring?

It’s important to set your expectations properly. Your skin is unlikely to ever look like completely untattood fresh skin, although it will continue to heal and improve many months after treatment. And the latest Q-switched lasers greatly reduce the chances of scarring.

All of the factors mentioned above come into play, but the final results can range from virtually undetectable to some minor scarring or ghost image. Some customers prefer to just fade unwanted ink with laser treatment and then cover the area with a new tattoo.