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Laser Tattoo Removal | Cosmetic Solutions Laser & Skin Care Center

How Long Does Laser Tattoo Removal Take? Managing Expectations

When considering the removal of an unwanted tattoo, one of the most pressing questions is, “How long will it take?” At Cosmetic Solutions Laser & Skin Care Center in Cedar Rapids, IA, we understand that time is of the essence. Whether it is a change in lifestyle, career, or simply a shift in taste, the desire to remove a tattoo efficiently and safely is common among many. Here, we aim to shed light on what to expect from the laser tattoo removal process, helping you manage expectations and plan accordingly.

What Is Laser Tattoo Removal?

Laser tattoo removal is a sophisticated treatment designed to eliminate unwanted tattoos through a series of laser treatments. At the core of this treatment is advanced laser technology that breaks down the ink particles in the tattoo. The body’s immune system then naturally disposes of these particles, gradually fading the tattoo over time.

How Long Does Laser Tattoo Removal Take?

Each laser tattoo removal session usually takes a few minutes to an hour, depending on the tattoo’s size and complexity. Typically, treatment involves multiple sessions spaced about six to eight weeks apart. Depending on the above factors, the total number of sessions needed can range from about five to more than 10. The duration of the tattoo removal process varies depending on several factors:

Size and Location

The size of the tattoo is a significant factor because larger tattoos have more ink that needs to be broken down, requiring more treatment sessions. The location affects removal because areas with more body fat and better blood circulation, like the arms or chest, tend to respond better to laser treatment than areas with less circulation, such as the ankles or fingers. Tattoos located on parts of the body that experience more movement may also take longer to heal between sessions.


Different ink colors absorb light at different wavelengths, making some more difficult to remove than others. Black and darker colors typically respond better to laser treatment because they absorb all laser wavelengths. In contrast, lighter colors like green, blue, and yellow require lasers with specific wavelengths, making them more challenging and sometimes more time-consuming to remove.

Ink Density and Depth

Tattoos with a high concentration of ink or those inked deeply into the skin pose more of a challenge in removal. Dense ink means the laser must break down more particles; deeper ink requires more powerful laser settings to reach and affect the ink. As a result, these tattoos often require more sessions, and each session may need to be conducted with greater care to ensure deep-seated ink is effectively targeted without damaging the skin.

Age of Tattoo

Older tattoos tend to fade naturally over time as the body absorbs some of the ink particles, and exposure to the sun can also break down ink pigments. The fading can make older tattoos easier to remove since the laser has less pigment to target. However, the type of ink used and how it has settled in the skin over time can also affect how easily an older tattoo can be removed.

Skin Type

The individual’s skin type can impact the effectiveness of tattoo removal. Darker skin tones are more challenging to treat because melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, can absorb some of the laser energy intended for the ink. Special considerations and adjustments in laser settings are needed to minimize the risk of skin discoloration, making the removal process potentially longer and requiring more sessions for those with darker skin.

What Do We Use for Laser Tattoo Removal?

At Cosmetic Solutions Laser & Skin Care Center, we are committed to providing our patients with the best technology available for laser tattoo removal. That’s why we utilize Cutera’s Enlighten® III, a leading technology specifically designed for the removal of unwanted pigmentation, including tattoos.

Advanced Technology for Optimal Results

The Cutera Enlighten III is the first FDA-approved laser system that uses nano and picosecond pulse durations. This state-of-the-art machine has three different wavelengths: 1064 nm, 532 nm, and 670 nm. When combined with the dual pulse durations, these wavelengths are highly effective in removing a wide range of tattoo colors, sun spots, and other forms of skin pigmentation.

Versatility and Effectiveness

The Enlighten III is uniquely capable of treating all colors of tattoos. Its technology integrates three distinct wavelengths with picosecond and nanosecond technology, delivering fast and effective tattoo removal experiences. Additionally, the Enlighten III can also address other skin concerns, such as signs of aging, epidermal and dermal pigment, and overall skin revitalization.

Start Your Journey to Clear, Ink-Free Skin in Cedar Rapids, IA

At Cosmetic Solutions Laser & Skin Care Center in Cedar Rapids, IA, we prioritize your understanding and comfort from the initial consultation through every session of your laser tattoo removal process. We recognize that each tattoo removal journey is unique and influenced by factors such as the tattoo’s age, size, location, and color complexity, as well as your skin type. By discussing these elements, we aim to set realistic expectations, helping you visualize the timeline and effectiveness of your treatment plan.

Starting the path to remove an unwanted tattoo is a significant decision, and we are here to support you every step of the way. If you have questions about the process, the technology we use, or how to prepare for your sessions, we encourage you to contact us. Contact us online or call (319) 368-5566 for a consultation. We are ready to provide detailed information and guide you toward achieving clear, ink-free skin.


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Cosmetic Solutions is a luxurious medical aesthetics center founded over 15 years ago by OB-GYN Associates on the principle of helping patients look and feel their best.

Laser and Skin Care Center located in the Med Quarter of Cedar Rapids, IA
Medical Director Morgan Keck ARNP


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