Removing Tattoos? Here’s What To Expect

Got a tattoo 10 years ago and regret it now? Thanks to technology these days, unwanted tattoos can be removed – but keep in mind that some tattoos can be harder to remove than others as a number of factors come into play.

So if you’re looking to remove an unwanted tattoo or even if you’re thinking of getting one, it’s good to keep these issues in mind:

Q-switched laser treatments are the most effective tattoo removal method.
There are multiple ways to remove a tattoo: Q-switched laser treatments, surgery, or dermabrasion (in which the tattooed skin is shaved down, allowing the tattoo ink to leach out of the skin). Laser treatments generally tend to require the least downtime and have more predictable results.

What happens during a laser tattoo removal session? A topical numbing cream is first applied to the tattoo to ensure that your treatment will be as comfortable as possible. Our patients generally report that the laser treatment itself feels like a warm prickly sensation – and very tolerable.

How do laser treatments remove tattoos? A tattoo is essentially made up from ink pigments being injected just beneath the top layer of your skin.
Essentially, what happens is that the energy pulse from the laser shatters the tattoo pigment into smaller fragments, just like how a sugar cube disintegrates into smaller grains. Your body then naturally flushes away these smaller ink fragments, causing the tattoo to fade slowly over time.

Depending on the size and colour of the tattoo, multiple laser sessions might be needed.

Some colours can be removed more easily than others.
Take note: white and green tattoo inks are the hardest to remove, while black tends to be the easiest!

This all boils down to how much light energy a colour can absorb. The light energy from the laser will be directed into the skin at a certain wavelength – the better the colour is able to absorb the energy, the more it will shatter into smaller fragments, making it easier for your body to dispose of.

As a result, different colours might require different laser wavelengths to try to fully remove them.

Some inks, especially white ink, also contain titanium dioxide which may oxidise immediately after treatment, causing the area to look darker after a treatment. This should resolve after multiple laser treatments, but this is something to take note of!

The location of your tattoo could matter!
It has been debated that the closer the tattoo is to your heart, the better the circulation, and the easier it is for your body to remove disintegrated ink fragments once your tattoo has been treated by the laser, hence the faster the tattoo tends to fade.

That said, it’s no surprise that ankle tattoos tend to be one of the hardest to remove.

There might be some temporary side effects.
Some of the potential side effects include swelling and redness, which should subside within 1 – 2 weeks for most patients. Other side effects include either the darkening or lightening of the skin, but this usually corrects itself within 6 – 12 months.

Don’t worry about scarring – scarring from a tattoo removal laser is quite unlikely, as the laser does not penetrate the skin deeply enough to cause a scar, and the laser energy pulses delivered into the skin often precisely target the tattoo ink pigments while leaving surrounding tissue intact.

However, if you have a history of keloid scarring, it is something worth bringing up to your doctor. But more often than not, any scarring that occurs is due to pre-existing scarring – scarring that occurred when the tattoo was originally applied by the tattoo artist.

For more information on our laser tattoo removal treatments, call us at +65 6738 4700, email us at, or visit us at Wisma Atria Office Tower, #10-04, along Orchard Road.

We provide honest advice, quality care, and affordable prices.