Tattoo removal: True or False?

Laser tattoo removal
By Ellie Taylor 13th April 2022 Category: Advice

We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked tattoo removal questions, from the facts to the myths, so keep reading for everything surrounding laser tattoo removal.


Can a tattoo be removed in one session? 

In some cases, yes. A small, faint tattoo can be removed in one session. However, it is not always possible to predict the number of sessions needed pre-consultation. As standard, our doctors and practitioners recommend an average treatment course of 5-6 sessions. 

Factors such as size, colour, age, density and the type of ink used, are indicators of treatment length and often vary from person to person. Recent developments in laser tattoo removal such as the Picoway lasers have accelerated the tattoo removal process making it less time-consuming.

Can you donate blood after laser tattoo removal? 

According to the NHS Give Blood website, you can donate blood after laser tattoo removal. You are only allowed to give blood once the skin has completely healed which can take around 1 – 2 weeks

Can I go in the sun after laser tattoo removal? 

No. It is recommended that after any laser treatment, you should avoid exposing the treated area to direct sunlight for at least 48 hours. This is because the skin is more sensitive and prone to burning after laser treatment. 

Laser tattoo removal strips away any present ink pigment and has caused, to some extent, some localised skin cell damage. Therefore, your treated skin will be weaker than usual and more receptive to the detrimental effects of UV rays. 

When exposed to sunlight, your skin will absorb its ultraviolet radiation easily which leads to burns, pain, and in worse case scenarios, permanent scarring. 

We recommend avoiding sun exposure, but if you do need to go out in the sun, wear a mineral sunscreen with SPF 50 against UVA and UVB rays, as well as protective clothing.

Can you get a tattoo after laser removal?

Yes, you can get a tattoo after previous laser tattoo removal. However, tattooing over previously tattooed skin does require some patience as the treated area needs to be completely healed beforehand. 

Remaining scar tissue present in the skin is the only complication when getting a new tattoo and may distort the new design. During your consultation this will be assessed for you. 

Click here to learn more about getting a new tattoo on previously tattooed skin

Can you go swimming after laser tattoo removal?

No. It is best to not go swimming after laser tattoo removal. This is because any water and heat interaction, like baths, saunas and hot tubs, can cause reactions. 

As chemicals are added to pools to help maintain the correct pH levels, the presence of chlorine may react negatively with your recent skin treatment. 

It is best to wait 4 – 5 days before fully submerging your treated area in any water, even in the shower or bath.  

Can I get a tattoo removed while pregnant?

Whilst there is no evidence that suggests laser tattoo removal can indefinitely affect the foetus’ health, there is no research to affirm it either. 

For this ambiguity in research, we do not perform any laser treatments on pregnant women. It is best to visit us once you’ve had your baby to avoid any potential risks. 

pregnant young woman with tattoos

Can you get laser tattoo removal while breastfeeding? 

No. We usually perform laser tattoo removal on mothers’ whose babies are completely weaned off breast milk. This is because laser treatment dissolves ink particles which are then expelled through lymphatic fluid which may, in turn, pass into breast milk. 

Can you get a tattoo after laser hair removal? 

Yes. Laser hair removal is possibly even recommended before having a tattoo. This long term hair removal method is often beneficial as the desired treatment area will be smooth and hair free. 

However, before getting a tattoo, your course of laser hair removal needs to be completed and the hair fully sheded. This process can usually take 4 – 6 weeks. 

Can tattoo removal cause cancer? 

The NHS has stated that there is no evidence to suggest that laser hair removal causes skin cancer. However, when wanting any laser treatments it is always required to go to a qualified practitioner and reputable clinic to avoid burns and blistering. 

Can tattoo removal remove scars? 

Tattoo removal itself is not designed to remove scars, however there is a form of laser treatment that is developed specifically for reducing and eradicating their appearance.

Laser resurfacing treatment works to remove the initial damaged skin and encourages skin regeneration.

It can work effectively in reducing: 

This treatment can also target skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation and improve the signs of ageing

Can tattoo removal make you sick? 

After tattoo removal, some side effects can manifest. Due to the nature of tattoo removal, the laser shattering the ink particles of the tattoo which is then dissolved by your body, sickness may be one of them. 

The expulsion process of the ink particles may interact with your lymphatic system, especially if the type of ink used contains high levels of metals, metal oxide and chemicals – which is usually the case with older tattoos. 

The lymphatic system is responsible for fighting infections and protecting against foreign bodies, such as the ink fragments, so as your body flushes out the pigment, you may feel a bit nauseous. 

A weakened immune system may also cause you to feel sick after laser tattoo removal. This should pass once the toxins are completely out of the body, which can take up to 6 weeks. Yet, with each day that passes, you should feel less sick and adjust to your newly found clear skin.  

UK’s leading dermatology and skin care clinic


As sk:n is the UK’s leading skin clinic, we have exceptional clinical standards, state of the art equipment, rigorous safety regulations and experienced laser clinicians (amongst many doctors and nurses) to help you remove any unwanted tattoos.

Find your nearest clinic and book your appointment today!

sk:n nurse

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