Home » How Many Sessions To Remove A Small Or Big Tattoo?

How Many Sessions To Remove A Small Or Big Tattoo?

Getting a tattoo is always such an exciting event in someone’s life. It’s something that many look forward to for years, and when they finally get it done, it brings along a sense of joy and accomplishment.

You stare at it for hours, click pictures of it, and speak about it to all your loved ones. However, what happens if you don’t like your tattoo? Or if you need to remove it for some reason? Fret not because this is why tattoo removal procedures exist.

The wish to remove a tattoo is not uncommon or unheard of at all. Many go for it for various reasons. While some don’t like the work done on the tattoo, others have to get rid of it since their job doesn’t allow tattoos.

Some others might want to remove it because it reminds them of sad memories. Whatever the reasons, there are numerous procedures to help you say goodbye to your tattoo.

Before you book an appointment for tattoo removal, you might have some questions. These questions could be: How many sessions are needed to remove a tattoo? What are the factors that could influence this process? And so on. In this piece, we cover all these topics to provide you with all the information you need.

How Many Sessions To Remove a Tattoo?

How Many Sessions To Remove a Tattoo?

The number of sessions it takes to remove a tattoo depends on various factors. Whether it’s a big tattoo or a small tattoo, the procedure involving tattoo removal is done in multiple sessions.

It takes somewhere between five to 10 sessions to get rid of a tattoo, with each of the sessions being spaced out six to eight weeks apart. If it’s a small tattoo, it could take five sessions, and if it’s a bigger tattoo, be prepared for it to take at least 10 sessions.

Factors Affecting Tattoo Removal

Factors Affecting Tattoo Removal

Much like the process of getting a tattoo, the procedure involved in removing a tattoo can be elaborate and time-consuming. The following are some of the factors that affect how long it takes to remove a tattoo:

1. Skin Tone

Tattoos are meant to be permanent entities. When you get a tattoo, the ink in it penetrates the dermis, which is the second layer of the skin. The dermis is kept protected from all the external layers by the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin on your body.

To obliterate a tattoo from the skin: the laser penetrates the dermis in a manner such that the epidermis is left unharmed. Due to the deep involvement of the various skin layers in tattoo removal, skin tone affects the time it takes for the dermis to penetrate during the laser tattoo removal procedure.

For individuals with a darker skin tone, it would take longer to remove a tattoo. The reason – a higher wavelength laser is used on them to avoid causing any damage. A higher wavelength, though, is slightly less effective when it comes to removing a tattoo. It is, however, important because if darker skin tones come in contact with a low-frequency wavelength, it can lead to hyperpigmentation or scarring.

Bonus Read: How Much Does it Cost to Remove a Tattoo [Cost Per Square]

2. Ink Quality And Ink Type

Ink Quality and Ink Type

The design of a tattoo is not the only thing that makes it unique. The quality and the type of ink play a vital role in forming the composition. For an outstanding tattoo pigment, a tattoo artist employs numerous compounds; and one such compound is henna.

Certain compounds in tattoo inks, such as beryllium, can be difficult to remove. Through the use of effective laser treatments, however, it has become much easier to break down even pre-treated or darker inks.

3. Tattoo Location

The location of a tattoo is a crucial factor in determining the speed and success of tattoo removal. The closer a tattoo is situated to your heart, the easier it will be to remove. The body parts that have a higher blood and lymph node count tend to be easier to be removed.

Some examples of this are your neck region and face. Your legs, arms, lower back, and upper back also fall under this category. The lower your tattoo is situated on your body, the more difficult it is to get rid of.

4. Size of the Tattoo

Size of the Tattoo

The size of your tattoo is another important factor in how long your tattoo removal procedure will be. If it is a small tattoo, it will be removed relatively quickly, and the bigger the tattoo is, the longer it will take to get rid of. Tattoo sleeves, for example, require multiple sessions to be removed.

5. Aftercare

A tattoo is essentially a wound, which is why taking care of your tattoo is extremely vital. How you look after your tattoo and the rate at which it heals can also impact how long it will take to remove.

Your skin gets pinched by a needle repeatedly while getting a tattoo, and if not taken care of properly, scar tissue could develop. If that happens, then getting rid of a tattoo from scar tissue becomes a more tedious procedure.

6. Age of The Tattoo

Age of The Tattoo

Once a tattoo has been on your skin for long, it tends to sink in, which explains the faded appearance of older tattoos. Older tattoos take longer to be removed, and newer tattoos are easier to remove in comparison.

7. Immune System or Health of The Patient

Did you know that the strength of your immune system can also be a deciding factor to see whether your tattoo will be removed quickly or not? The healthier a patient is, the easier it will be to remove a tattoo of them.

If a patient is young and healthy, they will require fewer sessions for their tattoo removal. When a patient is older or has a weaker immune system, it will naturally take more sessions for them.

Keeping yourself healthy is imperative for numerous reasons. When your body is healthy, your skin stays healthy as well, making it easier to remove a tattoo of you. Make sure to get enough sleep every night, exercise moderately, manage a balanced diet, and keep alcohol and cigarettes at bay.

8. Depth of The Ink

The depth of the ink of a tattoo refers to how deeply it penetrates into your dermis. The more skilled tattoo artists utilize ink that tends to go in a little deeper than the newbies who are just starting out. The deeper the ink is embedded into your skin, the more difficult it will be to remove.

9. Colors of the Ink

As opposed to what you might imagine, black ink is the easiest to get rid of. Certain colors pose a stubborn problem and are more challenging to remove; some include red, orange, yellow, white, blue, and green.

Even when these colors fade a little with time, they can still be a task to get rid of. The combination of efficient tattoo artists and evolving technology makes it possible to remove even the most stubborn of colors.

10. Skills of the Tattoo Artist

Skills of the Tattoo Artist

A tattoo artist’s experience level also matters when it comes to removing tattoos. Someone with less experience might ink you in a way that leads to scarring. This is why choosing a reputed tattoo parlor with experienced tattoo artists is imperative. They ensure that your skin doesn’t get scarred while getting the tattoo because, as mentioned, scarring makes tattoo removal difficult.

11. Laser Type

The type of laser used to remove your tattoo decides how many sessions you will require till your tattoo goes away completely. The traditional types of lasers that have been around for a long time usually take somewhere between 10 to 20 sessions. Since newer technologies have been in the market for quite a while now, they tend to be 75% quicker than traditional laser treatments.

Bonus Read: 5 Best Lasers for Tattoo Removal Reviews 2022 (Buyer’s Guide)

12. Smoking

Smoking makes it extremely difficult for a tattoo to be removed. When considering a ten-session period, the chances of a tattoo being successfully removed reduces by 70% due to smoking. The number further decreases to 35% when it’s a 20-session period. Therefore, smokers find it more difficult to have their tattoos removed.

13. Sun Exposure

Sun Exposure

If you have a sunburn, your tattoo can’t be removed. Even those with a slight tan will find it difficult to get rid of their tattoos. If you do have to go out in the sun, it is recommended to cover the tattooed area and not have your skin exposed to the sun for more than 10 minutes at a time. It is always advised to avoid sun exposure during, before, and after the procedure.

14. Scarring

Tattoos can often lead to the formation of scars. If you have scarring on your tattoo, removing it will not only be difficult but will also require more sessions.


How many sessions to completely remove a tattoo?

The number of sessions required to completely remove a tattoo depends on several factors. While some tattoos are removed in five sessions, some take up to 10 sessions to be removed.

How long does it take to remove a small tattoo?

It can take about five sessions to remove a small tattoo.

What’s the duration to remove a big tattoo?

The time it takes to remove a big tattoo is about 10 sessions, with all of them spaced six to eight weeks apart.

What are the factors that affect tattoo removal?

Many factors affect tattoo removal. They are the size of the tattoo, the age of the tattoo, where it’s located, how deep and big it is, and what its colors are. The aftercare you put into your tattoo, and the tattoo artist’s skills are also deciding factors, along with the client’s health status, whether they are smokers, and if they’re sunburnt or not.

What are the different kinds of methods to remove a tattoo?

The different ways to get rid of a tattoo are through laser removal, surgical removal, and dermabrasion. Of these methods, laser tattoo removal is the most popular and also the most convenient.

Which is the most effective way to remove a tattoo?

Laser tattoo removal is the most effective way to get rid of a tattoo. This is why most clinics use this method on their clients to ensure it is as painless and efficient as possible.

Can I get my tattoo removed if I have a sunburn?

No, you can’t get your tattoo removed if you have a sunburn. The effectiveness of the procedure also reduces tanned skin.


Getting a tattoo is a commitment indeed, but so is removing a tattoo. It requires time, dedication, and patience. If you’ve decided that you wish to remove your tattoo, for whatever reason it is, there are questions you might have in mind for sure.

You also need to be aware of the various factors that could affect or delay this entire procedure. Go through this article to find out the sessions you will have to take out time for or the factors that could affect your tattoo removal process.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!