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Tattoo Removal Questions


The internet is calling and we must answer, our clinical director Chelsea Labrecque had a moment to sit down and chat about some of the not so frequently asked questions we get.

Q: “Will tattoo removal give me cancer?”


A: The simple answer is…no. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, laser tattoo removal poses no known risk for cancer and has been studied by dermatologists without showing any threat to developing any form of cancer. The lasers that we use to remove tattoo ink are all FDA approved to be safe for consumer use. Tattoo removal can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun exposure immediately following treatment so we recommend using sunscreen and covering the treated area. If you are concerned about skin or lymphatic cancer or are at risk for developing cancer we suggest speaking with a dermatologist or an oncologist.


Q: “Can tattoo removal make you sick?”

(can tattoo removal make you ill?)
A: A healthy immune system is a key part to tattoo removal because it is the lymphatic system which is responsible for picking up the ink particles that are broken down by laser. Due to an immune response being illicit by a laser treatment, there is a possibility you could feel a few mild cold-like symptoms after your removal session. Though this is rare, if it does occur, it will not last long. Typical and expected reactions which we see with laser tattoo removal are localized blistering, swelling, itching, and mild pinpoint bleeding.


Q: “Can tattoo removal cause scaring?”



A: Our Q-switched and PicoSure lasers pulse is so quick that they’re able to dissolve the ink without destroying the live tissue in the process. Practicing proper aftercare ensures that there will be no scarring.


Q: “Can tattoo removal cause swollen lymph nodes?”

A: Typically no, it cannot. Since your lymphatic system is the main part of immune health it is important to support healthy habits to eliminate these minor risks. A healthy diet, exercise, hydration and not smoking are all things that help prevent negative effects of removal.


Q: “Can tattoo removal be covered by insurance?”


A: Currently this procedure is not included as a health insurance benefit. Insurance companies consider this a cosmetic or aesthetic procedure.


Q: “Can tattoo removal cause keloids?”

A: The removal process itself will not cause keloids and as long as you are not prone to them and follow proper aftercare instructions they will not happen. Your appointments will be scheduled with enough time in between treatments to reduce any chances of scaring.

Q: “Can tattoo removal go wrong”

(Can tattoo removal be dangerous?)


A: When laser tattoo removal is provided by a trained professional in an established, professional business it is going to be safe. The Finery takes all necessary precautions to eliminate risk during your treatment.


Q: “Can tattoo remover cream really work?”

A: The ingredients commonly used in tattoo removal creams do not reach deep enough into the dermal layer of the skin to permanently remove your tattoo. The ingredients used in them can bleach the skin or cause peeling/shedding which can leave you with uneven skin tone and scaring.

Q: “Can tattoo removal cause nerve damage?”


A: The laser does not penetrate that deep into your body to cause any kind of nerve damage.


Q: “Can laser tattoo removal get infected?”

A: The removal process itself does not break the skin so it cannot cause infection. Aftercare is a huge part of proper healing and your technician will explain it all thoroughly to you. If not followed correctly there can be a low risk of infection if your tattoo blisters after treatment.


Q: “Can tattoo removal really work?”

(Is tattoo removal effective?)
(Is tattoo removal successful?)
A: Yes! In most cases, tattoos are completely removed. The depth, density, and colors are the biggest determining factors but if you stick with the treatments it really does work! Most clients see full removal results after 8-12 treatments.


Q: “Can tattoo removal affect pregnancy?”


A: There are very low risks it could cause during pregnancy, however, The Finery always wants you to be 100% safe and will not perform laser tattoo removal on pregnant clients.


Q: “Can tattoo removal cause infertility?”

A: Absolutely not! The body’s immune system is what clears the ink and fades your tattoo after a treatment with the lasers break down ink particles. Nothing about the process is a risk to fertility.

Q: “Which tattoo removal is best?”


A:  This is dependent on what a client is looking for. The safest and non-invasive way is with laser tattoo removal. The Finery uses two types of lasers a Revlite (Q-Switch) and a Picosure which are the most advanced in laser technology!

Q: “Where is laser tattoo removal”


A: The Finery has 4 standing offices in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Buffalo. We also partner with over 25 tattoo shops and travel in our mobile studio offering tattoo removal across the North East!

Q: “Is tattoo removal painful?”


A: Most patients say that the laser treatment feels like being snapped by a rubber band and that the discomfort is roughly equivalent to having a tattoo applied.

Q: “Is tattoo removal expensive?”


A: The Finery offers monthly payment plans for full removal to keep our services affordable for you!

Q: “Is laser tattoo removal easy?”

A: You’re typically in and out of the door in less than 30 minutes. The procedure itself does not take long and the area of your tattoo will be iced before and cooled during removal with our Zimmer to keep things easy and comfortable for you.

Q: “What are tattoo removal options?”


A: The most effective and safest removal options are laser tattoo removal or having the tattoo surgically removed by a plastic surgeon.

Q: “How much are tattoo removal sessions?”


A: The Finery prices your tattoo per square inch. Based on the size and which laser you need for your tattoo prices can vary.

Q: “Why does tattoo removal hurt (painful)?”


(what tattoo removal feels like)
A: The light pulses from the laser enter your body’s dermis where the pulses shatter the ink particles in your tattoo. Since the light pulses enter the body this is why there can be a feeling of pain. It only lasts for the treatment and after the treatment, there is typically very little discomfort after the initial day of your treatment.


Q: “Why is laser tattoo removal not working?”

A: The lasers only break up the ink, your body is what fades the ink. Proper health aids in the laser tattoo process working. If you have unhealthy habits like smoking and poor diet it can drastically slow the process. The ink used in your tattoo is also a factor as tattoo ink is not FDA regulated so it’s impossible for us to know what’s in it.


Q: “When tattoo removal blisters”


A: Blistering is a normal occurrence to some after a session using the lasers. The Finery provides all clients aftercare kits and explains what to do if you blister. Wipe the area with alcohol, use the sterile needle provided to drain any blisters larger than a dime and then leave them alone. Do not peel the skin and do not bandage them.

Q: “When is tattoo removal most effective?”


A: As long as your tattoo is completely healed (six weeks if new) the laser removal process is effective!


Q: “how does tattoo removal work?”

A: lasers deliver very short pulses of high-intensity light into the treated area. The tattoo inks and pigments then selectively absorb the light without destroying the normal surrounding skin tissue in the process. The tattoo is dissolved into smaller ink particles that are harmlessly removed by your body’s immune system in the weeks following treatment.


Q: “How long tattoo removal”

A: Full removal of a tattoo using laser removal typically takes between 8-12 sessions with 6-8 weeks between treatments. However, the treatment itself only takes a few minutes!


Q: “What tattoo removal looks like”

A: During the laser tattoo removal session “frosting” typically occurs where the surface of the tattoo can appear white. This fades shortly after the session. As for after, the tattoo will start to fade and areas of your tattoo will look lighter and eventually fade completely if you stick with treatments!


Q: “What is Picosure removal?”

A: The PicoSure laser uses pressure wave technology to break down ink pigments into crystallized particles smaller than any other skincare laser. Ideal for green, blue, purple, and black inks on lighter skin tones.


Q: “What is Rejuvi tattoo removal?”

A: Rejuvi tattoo removal is a removal cream that is applied similarly to receiving a tattoo where a cream is put into the skin that attracts and lifts pigment resulting in large scabbing of the skin over the following weeks of treatment.


Q: “What is saline (aka salabrasion) removal?”

A: The area you want to be lightened is tattooed using almost the same process as traditional tattooing to open up the skin (essentially a wound is created) a saline paste is then applied to the skin and the salt is supposed to draw pigment out of the skin. This is a long and slow process that can fade ink but is not used for full removal.


Q: “What is tca tattoo removal?”

A: TCA stands for Trichloroacetic acid. This method uses acid that is topically applied to the skin and causes the skin to peel. The cell turnover process can cause light fading on the surface of your tattoo but cannot reach down to the dermis to permanently remove your tattoos.

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