The Least Painful Way to Finally Erase That Regrettable Tattoo

Tattoo removal: A lesson about paying for your mistakes.

It takes bigger balls to get a tattoo removed than having your skin relentlessly punctured by a needle for a good three hours to get inked. Not only does laser tattoo removal cost thrice as much as, it’s also twice as painful (sometimes even more depending on which laser treatment and area you’re treating).

But we’re not discouraging you from having your ink zapped off—especially if it’s a fully colored Winnie the Pooh on your back (what the hell were you thinking?) or your ex’s name written all over your torso (who does that?). What if your job or promotion or relationship on the line? What if you’re like the many men who simply outgrew the look or design of their ink?

The simpler and darker the color of your tattoo (like black and blue), the easier is it to erase.

Recent innovations in laser treatments allow less painful and more effective tattoo removal procedures, as opposed to older technology that caused wounds or scarring, if not only partial erasure of the tattoo even after multiple treatments. What makes tattoo removal a difficult process is that different kinds of lasers with different wavelengths may be required to remove particular colors.

The takeaway is: the simpler and darker the color of your tattoo (like black and blue), the easier it is to erase. 

Q-Switched Nd Yag (QSNY) lasers are normally used for treating ink, deep pigmentations, and birthmarks. If you’re itching to get yours removed, the latest of its kind, the Spectra XT, is regarded as the laser of choice for tattoos.


“Before, they would use QSNY lasers on patients, but they would get wounds from it as the laser causes a mechano-acoustic reaction that ‘shatters’ the pigment,” explains Dr. Windie Villarica-Hayano, managing director at the Skin Inc. Dermatology and Laser Clinic, which offers the Spectra XT treatment. “Now, these lasers can do the job without so much damage and they have expanded the use of this machine to other concerns.”

1| The Pain Level

With topical anesthesia applied over the area for treatment, each pulse—there can be quite a lot—only feels like having a rubber band snapped against your skin. Other patients describe the pain as getting specks of hot oil splattered on them. Truth be told, the sound of each zap can be more terrifying than the actual feeling, which really doesn’t amount to much.

2| Post Treatment

An ice pack is used to soothe the treated area, before applying a topical antibiotic. After that, your zapped skin should always be covered or topped over with sunblock when outdoors.

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While it could take you a few trips to the dermatologist (four to five sessions for black tattoos and up to 10 sessions for colored ones) to completely remove your tattoo, the Spectra XT is your safest bet as it only targets the pigments in your skin. Dr. Hayano adds, “This specificity ensures that it treats what only needs to be treated, bypassing all the other structures making it safer and effective.”

The Skin Inc. Dermatology and Laser Clinic is at 304 Tritan Plaza Building, San Gregorio Street, Paseo de Magallanes, Magallanes Village, Makati City.

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About The Author
Nicole Limos Morales
Nicole is the former managing editor of Town & Country Philippines. After working as features editor and beauty editor of the title’s print edition for 6 years, she helped launch in 2016, creating new concepts and story formats, analyzing data, and mastering digital audiences—establishing the title to become the Philippines’ leading luxury lifestyle website. She left her full-time position in 2019 to focus on family life, while carrying on writing beauty content for T&C as a contributing editor. “I think what’s amazing about beauty is that in its arena, you can really only be a skeptic for so long,” she says. “There will always be a product that will make you believe.”
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