Will Laser Tattoo Removal leave a scar

Will Laser Tattoo Removal leave a scar?

If you’re wondering about getting rid of your ink, you may be asking will Laser Tattoo Removal leave a scar? It’s a common question I get asked a lot.

So here’s what you need to know, and the factors you need to consider:

Firstly it helps if you have a basic understanding of how the process works.  To remove a tattoo, a laser is passed over the ink, and the high powered beam, shatter the ink particles it sees.  Your body then removes the ink which has been broken apart. Your white blood cells mop up the particles and then they get flushed away in your urine.  This is how your tattoo fades.  This process is repeated over and over again (roughly every 6-8 weeks) until the ink is removed.

Before and After laser tattoo removal

The Equipment

Q switch Laser Tattoo Removal is the most effective method of removing a tattoo.  If you use the correct laser and get an experienced operator then there’s less chance of you getting a scar.

However I know of removals being offered using IPL technology.  This will most definitely leave a scar and is not the right equipment to fade your tattoo away. That’s because instead of just targeting the ink in the tattoo, it will also target the skin, and the hair. It will cause too much heating and probably many blisters.

There are also other methods of removing tattoos such as acids / creams / rejuvi which are not as clinically effective.  I have personally seen some horrid scars from these techniques.  I am not an expert in these other removal methods though, so don’t take my word for it.

The Number of Sessions / Whitening

The more sessions you need to laser your tattoo the more chance there is of you removing the pigment in your skin.  This is not a scar, although many people refer to it as a scar. Others refer to it as a ‘ghost’ of the tattoo.

What’s actually happening is that the laser will eventually remove a build up of pigment such as freckles and the build up of colour in the skin. The area will begin to look paler than the surrounding skin.  This can leave the shape of the original tattoo but instead of seeing ink, you will just see paler skin.  However over time your skin can recover and start to colour/tan again.

The Original Tattoo

You may also find that your original tattoo has left you with scar tissue.  This could be because the tattoo artist went too deep or just because your skin didn’t heal very well.  If you run your finger slowly over your tattoo and feel for any raised bumps, then you may be able to detect this.

As you laser the ink away, any scar will become more and more apparent.  Often the client will believe that the laser has caused the scar, whereas in fact, it’s just revealing what was already there.

Also it’s not always possible to get every last trace of ink out of the skin.  So you may be able to detect that there was something there once, but you won’t know what.  Look at this photo below.  This is a good example of a small amount of ink left, coupled with slightly paler skin, and a small amount of scar tissue from having the tattoo done in the first place.  Still this client is delighted with the result!

Will laser tattoo removal leave a scar

Blistering / Bleeding

If your tattoo is very bold and contains a lot of coloured ink, then there’s a good chance that you’ll get a blister or some bleeding along the way.  The more ink there is in your skin, the more laser sessions you’ll need overall.  This also means that the power required to shatter the ink will have to be increased, and may cause some bleeding.

I tell most clients to expect a blister and some bleeding during the removal process.  The key is that you look after your skin well after this.  If you pop blisters and pick scabs then you’re running the risk of getting an infection and a scar.  If you follow the instructions by leaving blisters alone, and letting your skin heal naturally then you’ve got much less chance of a scar.  Plus it’s important to protect your skin from sunlight while having a tattoo removed. You need to wear a high factor sunscreen to protect your skin.

The Area of the Body

Some areas of your body are more sensitive than other areas, and the skin is also thinner.  For example on the inside of the wrist the skin is thinner than the forearm. On front of the neck, the skin is thinner and more fragile than the shoulders.  Since these areas are more fragile you’re potentially more at risk of getting a scar here.

Your Skin

Some people just heal better than others.  Do you scar easily? Have you ever scratched yourself and been left with a scar.  Or does your skin heal remarkably well no matter what.  This is a good indication as to how you’ll react to laser treatment.


So will laser tattoo removal leave a scar? You now realise that it’s not such an easy question to answer. There are many factors to consider, including the amount of ink, where it is on your body, plus your own healing ability.  And the fact that whitening of the skin, is not a scar, but is a visible difference.

You should probably also ask yourself, what would you prefer to see?  The tattoo still there, or the tattoo gone with perhaps your skin looking slightly uneven, and maybe a bit bumpy.

Most of the time clients tell me they are delighted to have removed a tattoo, even if their skin is a bit paler in that area.  In 15 years I’ve had very few clients scar as a result of laser treatments with me.  I’ve seen plenty who’ve come with existing scarring, and a few who’ve had ‘whitening’ of the skin.  So despite telling you all of this, you’ve still got less chance of scarring than not with the right Laser treatment.


I hope this has helped answer your question. If you have any more questions feel free to email me at: rach@radiantliving.co.uk

You may also like to read “Can you completely remove a tattoo?’ Click here for that article.