40+ People Are Opening Up About Their Tattoo Removal Experiences

Tattoos are expensive, painful, and pretty permanent — so it’s safe to say that getting inked is a big commitment. No one wants to go through the painstaking tattoo removal process, but unfortunately, not everyone leaves the artist’s chair feeling overjoyed with their creation. These Reddit users have hit the message boards to share their tattoo removal experiences. Keep reading for some surprising success stories and some horror stories that will make you think twice before booking your next piece!

The Disappearing Anchor

The advancement of technology over the past decade has meant that tattoo removal can be seriously successful. This Reddit user was proud to share their tattoo removal journey, as they had seen some excellent results since the beginning of their treatment.

The Disappearing Anchor

It wasn’t a quick process, as they had to sit through a whopping 12 sessions in a year and a half, plus three additional sessions the following year. However, the wait was worth it — the tattoo is almost gone.

Slowly Getting There

When it comes to tattoo removal, there is no quick fix. It can be tough to look down at your body and see an unwanted piece of ink, and that’s why the process can be so frustrating. Due to the impact of lasers on skin, most tattoo removal experts recommend waiting a minimum of six weeks between treatments.

Slowly Getting There

You also may have to wait a long time to see results. Thankfully, this person’s floral tat is fading slowly but surely.

Unwanted Angel Wings

This unlucky Reddit user couldn’t wait for their nine-year-old tattoo to fly away! They hesitated when it came to booking their tattoo removal appointment, as there are rumors that laser procedures can hurt more than getting the tattoos! However, they found that the pain was worth it in the end.

Unwanted Angel Wings

After only one treatment, they began to notice their angel wings fading away. The outline has almost completely disappeared, leaving only some shading. Those are some good results.

Goodbye Koi Carp

Ink doesn’t just disappear after one tattoo removal appointment. You can expect to be shelling out hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on treatment, with appointments usually being spread out over weeks and months. This is especially relevant for those who are trying to get rid of a huge tattoo, just like this giant back piece!

Goodbye Koi Carp

The not-so-proud owner of this koi carp tattoo decided they wanted to kiss goodbye to their fishy friend, and it’s looking good so far!

Teenage Tattoo Regret

Most teenagers are itching to get inked as soon as they can, but this can often lead to some questionable choices. If you’re considering getting a tattoo, remember how painful and expensive tattoo removal can be!

Teenage Tattoo Regret

Do you really want to put yourself through that process when you grow up and decide that you don’t want that My Chemical Romance tribute on your left thigh? This Reddit user felt the regret. After three sessions, their ink isn’t looking too bad.

Heart in Chains

Yikes. This elaborate back piece consists of a colorful human heart encased in chains, with huge wings spanning out from either side. It looks like the dream tattoo of an emo teen, but it’s not the kind of ink that would suit a professional adult.

Heart in Chains

Some tats simply do not age well, and that’s why this Reddit user wanted to get their piece removed. They originally planned on covering it up, but it looks like it will eventually fade completely.

Needs More Sessions

This tropical yin-yang design is actually quite cool! We can’t help but wonder why the owner wanted to remove this tattoo. We’ll never know what inspired them to embark on the difficult tattoo removal journey, but it’s safe to say that getting rid of this design will be no mean feat.

Needs More Sessions

The stubborn black outline does not seem to be budging, so it looks like they will need more than two sessions to finally say goodbye to their unwanted ink.

10 Sessions Later

Wow. This brightly colored cartoon portrait is pretty striking. Getting a bold tattoo like this on your upper back is a brave move, albeit one that hasn’t quite worked for this Reddit user. They decided to get their ink removed. After 10 removal sessions with a Naama laser, the results are impressive!

10 Sessions Later

However, it looks like they will need to endure a few more sittings before the design is completely gone. The black outline doesn’t seem to be going anywhere!

Mistakes Were Made

Getting a hand tattoo is a bold choice. Having such noticeable tats can make it difficult to find employment, and as your hands are almost always in your eye line, you are constantly staring at your ink. We can’t even tell what this is supposed to be! It looks like some kind of amorphous blob.

Mistakes Were Made

Removing this ink was a challenge thanks to the dark, thick lines, but the results are impressive! It only took three years and 11 sessions!

Removing a Tribute Tattoo

Unless it belongs to a treasured pet or family member, it’s not a great idea to get names or initials inked on your skin. We’ve all heard horror stories about break-ups and friendship fallouts, leading to expensive tattoo removal appointments.

Removing a Tribute Tattoo

Unfortunately, this seems to have been the case for this unlucky Reddit user. This bold, dark design is certainly not going to be easy to remove. We wonder what Wilson did wrong to warrant the removal of their tribute tattoo!

Not So Rosy

After only one session, this tattoo removal is looking promising. The red rose design has been changed under the laser, with the black lines and shading being completely eradicated. All that remains is the red pigment. In previous years, experts said that colored ink could not be removed by laser technology.

Not So Rosy

But, it’s good news for this Reddit user, as all hues can now be targeted — even stubborn reds, yellows, and greens! This rose will be gone in no time.

A Pricey Mistake

There doesn’t seem to be much difference between these two photos. It looks like this Reddit user will need to spend some more cash in order to fully get rid of this huge warrior angel design! Tattoo removal is an intensive process that can take months, and removing an entire half sleeve is a huge (and expensive) challenge.

A Pricey Mistake

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates that the average tattoo removal session will set you back $463! Better get saving!

A Success Story

Unlike the previous tattoo on this list, the progress of this removal is impressive! After only two sessions, a significant amount of the shading and line work has faded away. There is no one size fits all procedure when it comes to tattoo removal.

A Success Story

The success and efficiency of laser tattoo removal can depend on the type of laser used, the size of the design, and the length of time left between sessions. You need to have a lot of patience!

Feeling the Regret

You might think that removing a simple script tattoo would be an easy job. In order to make cursive writing legible and stand out against the skin, tattoo artists often have to use thick, dark line work. Therefore, removing these tattoos can be tough! After only six months, this Reddit user began to regret their ink.

Feeling the Regret

After two tattoo removal sessions, the text is beginning to break up, but it looks like there will be a few more appointments needed.

Always Think it Through

The r/tattooremoval Reddit message board is a great place to go for tattoo advice. The owner of this elaborate chest piece had one message for his fellow Redditors: “Always think your tattoos through!” Getting such a large design removed is undoubtedly one of the most painful and pricey experiences you can go through.

Always Think it Through

Not only does the procedure itself hurt, but you are likely to experience some side effects afterward — including tenderness, headaches, and blistering. It’s definitely not pleasant.

We’re Getting There

Removing a sleeve tattoo is tough, to say the least! You have to be prepared to spend a lot of money and a lot of time in the doctor’s chair. It’s widely recommended that you get your tattoos removed by a dermatologist rather than an aesthetician.

We’re Getting There

If you go to a doctor’s office instead of a salon, you know that your skin is in safe hands. This lucky Redditor is seeing great progress across his forearms and elbows. Good job!

Not for the Faint Hearted

Most people report blistering and a lot of pain following tattoo removal sessions. It’s not for the faint-hearted! This Reddit user had to channel the strength of the gladiator in his tattoo, as he endured two lengthy laser removal sessions.

Not for the Faint Hearted

There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two photos, but the dark pigments and shading do seem to be slowly fading. He’s hoping that eight sessions will do the trick. Do you think that seems too optimistic?

A Waiting Game

It’s safe to say that patience is a huge part of the tattoo removal process. If you rush appointments, you risk damaging your skin with permanent scarring. The waiting time can vary depending on the size of tattoo, but this person has had to wait 12 weeks between appointments.

A Waiting Game

The slow progress can be discouraging for people, but staying positive is key! The ND:+YAG laser is a powerful one, often used in dentistry and hair removal. Trust the process!

Hoping for Full Removal

Not every tattoo removal story is a successful one. Sometimes, there can be traces of the original design still visible on the skin, even after multiple laser treatments. However, smaller tattoos like this one have a much higher chance of being completely removed. After only one session, this tattoo has faded a lot!

Hoping for Full Removal

The Reddit user is hoping for a full removal. Proper aftercare and adequate recovery time between sessions should boost their chances of success. Send them positive vibes!

A Happy Ending

Finally, an unwanted tattoo story with a happy ending! After heading to the tattooist and choosing this star design with Gothic text beneath, one Reddit user regretted their decision. Rather than live with a tattoo that they hated, they decided to do something about it!

A Happy Ending

Three years and six sessions later, the design has faded significantly. Sure, if you look closely, you can still see the outline, but it’s very faint. We consider this a win! Bye-bye, ugly tattoo

Removing the Raven

Sometimes the idea of a tattoo is better than the actual design itself. When you look at the ink on your skin, the reality doesn’t always match up with your expectations. That was certainly the case with this unwanted design. It was intended to show a raven and an open book, but the execution looks messy.

Removing the Raven

And that’s why this Reddit user wanted to get it removed! Six sessions in and the thick, dark pigment is starting to disappear gradually.

Slowly Slithering Away

Many people get a tattoo in a moment of madness and immediately regret it. That’s what happened to this Reddit user, who chose a serpent design that didn’t really match her personal style. She decided that she preferred dainty and feminine tattoos, and made it her mission to remove the snake!

Slowly Slithering Away

After three treatments, the design is starting to slowly fade. However, it looks like she will need some extra sessions to fully remove the dark, large design. Almost there!

In it for the Long Haul

This Reddit user decided to take photos after every tattoo removal session, which is super helpful for anyone considering undergoing treatment! After only three sessions, you can see that the design has faded significantly! However, it’s not been an easy or quick process.

In it for the Long Haul

They had to wait a whopping eight months between sessions. This is the key to successful tattoo removal, as it gives the skin a chance to heal and recover after intensive layering. Keep going, it’s worth it!

That’s Gotta Hurt

Blistering is normal after receiving tattoo removal treatment. It’s not pleasant, but it’s nothing to be worried about. This Reddit user was feeling the burn after their first two sessions!

That’s Gotta Hurt

To protect the skin and give it a chance to heal, aftercare is key. It’s recommended to cover the area in a salve and bandage it for a few days. After this time, the skin will probably scab, peel, and regenerate. If you’re squeamish, maybe tattoo removal isn’t for you!

Removing a Half Sleeve

It’s time for another encouraging success story from the r/tattooremoval message board! Removing one tattoo is difficult enough, so you can imagine how tough it would be to get rid of an entire half sleeve! However, it can be done. This Reddit user was pleased to see significant progress after only one session of laser tattoo removal.

Removing a Half Sleeve

Some major fading had started to occur, with the dark, black ink disappearing before their very eyes! The results are very promising.

Tattoo Removal Fail

At first glance, this tattoo removal effort doesn’t look like a success. At second glance, it still looks like nothing has happened. Unfortunately, tattoos with dark pigments and bright colors can be some of the toughest designs to remove — especially when they feature thick lines like this one.

Tattoo Removal Fail

It looks like this Redditor will have to book a few more appointments before they start to see results. If you’re considering a similarly bold tattoo, make sure to think it through!

Fallen Out of Love

This tattoo choice is pretty ironic. Even though the design is a heart, it’s safe to say that this Redditor did not love their ink! In fact, they hated it so much that they simply had to get it removed.

Fallen Out of Love

The tattoo artist had been quite heavy-handed, leading to some hyperpigmentation and scarring. This kind of thing is difficult to get rid of, so they will most likely have to get a cover-up to fully disguise the original sketch.

Time Really Flies

Ouch. Getting laser tattoo removal on your wrist is bound to hurt! Would you be able to handle it? Long breaks between appointments are necessary to protect the delicate skin.

Time Really Flies

This Reddit user approached their tattoo removal process with a positive attitude, and the results have been impeccable! After seven sessions over the course of a year, their ink is almost completely gone. It just goes to show that patience and positivity are key when getting unwanted tattoos lasered off.

Patience Is Key

When you are considering getting a tattoo removed, no one tells you why you need to wait so long in between appointments. The science behind it is actually pretty cool. Lasers shatter the ink, and your body needs adequate time to dispel the tiny ink particles.

Patience Is Key

If you rush into another appointment straight away, your skin will not have had enough time to heal. This Redditor had to wait for six weeks between treatments, and the results speak for themselves.

Unhappy Halloween

This removal process for this tattoo bound is going to be scarily tough! The Halloween-inspired design uses plenty of dark colors, making it a real challenge for any doctor who’s trying to break down those pigments. We can’t even fathom how many appointments this Reddit user is going to need before the ink is completely gone!

Unhappy Halloween

We can see why they wanted the original tattoo removed, as the dark area lacks definition and looks like a huge blob.

Don’t Stick and Poke

Do-it-yourself stick and poke tattoos have become a huge trend in the last few years. The process involves amateur tattooists marking people’s skin with needles and ink, rather than using professional equipment! Qualified tattoo artists always advise against getting hand-poked tattoos.

Don’t Stick and Poke

The one positive side is that they are more easily removed, because of the amount of ink used, and the shallowness of the penetration. This hubby felt the regret when he allowed his wife to hand poke a dragonfly on his foot!

Facing the Truth

It doesn’t take a genius to know that getting a face tattoo is a huge commitment. Every time you look in a mirror, you will be forced to look at the designs, and if these are ill-thought-out, this is going to lead to some major regrets.

Facing the Truth

After nine years, this Reddit user had had enough of his face tats. He has been able to successfully fade them after his first session of Picosure laser removal. What an ordeal!

Pain in the Neck

Having an unwanted tattoo can have a real negative impact on your mental health. No one wants to look in the mirror and hate what they see. Thanks to new laser technology, even the most distinctive tattoos have a chance of being removed with careful treatment.

Pain in the Neck

This person has been lucky to see great results after just two sessions. It’s not going to be easy (or cheap!) but one day, his neck tats will be a thing of the past.

Going to Be Worth It

If you are planning to get a tattoo removed, it’s important to do your research! The type of laser used will have a big impact on your results. There are lots of different lasers used in tattoo removal, so you should ask your doctor to find out which one is right for you.

Going to Be Worth It

Lasers that are too hot can damage the skin’s surface, whilst weaker lasers break down the ink more slowly, meaning you will need to book more appointments.

Hoping This Is a Bruise

Getting a tattoo using entirely red ink is a risky choice. It has been linked to allergic reactions, and colored ink is notoriously difficult to remove. However, in recent years, tattoo removal technology has improved, and most pigments can now be safely lasered.

Hoping This Is a Bruise

This person has noticed some dark purple discoloration on their skin. This could be temporary bruising, but it could also be a sign of permanent hyperpigmentation. Some people choose to cover up these patches of darkened skin.

One Happy Customer

This Reddit user was thrilled with the results after their first tattoo removal session. The pigment seems to have faded down slightly. To the untrained eye, this might not look particularly impressive. However, the experts in the r/tattooremoval Reddit community had lots of positive comments to share!

One Happy Customer

This is actually a significant amount of fading for a tattoo that is so dark. Over time, this tattoo should continue to fade, as long as they take appropriate breaks between sessions.

Break on Through

Getting a tattoo dedicated to your favorite musician or band is a risky choice! What if your music taste changes as you get older? This Reddit user expressed their regret after getting a tattoo of the legendary frontman of The Doors, Jim Morrison.

Break on Through

They still liked their music, but not enough to have a portrait of him covering their entire forearm. Hopefully, the laser will continue to “break on through to the other side” and remove the ink!

Feeling Instant Regret

People typically debate tattoo removal over the course of a few months or years! Not this girl. After only six weeks, she knew that she had to get rid of this unique snake tattoo on her ear. She booked an appointment and after one session, it seemed to be fading.

Feeling Instant Regret

As the skin on the ear is so delicate, this is going to be a long process. She’s going to have to deal with the snake for a bit longer!

Rock Off

There are plenty of reasons why people get their tattoos removed. Maybe they have had a break-up or endured some kind of personal event that makes them want to get rid of their ink. Sometimes, a tattoo can simply turn out differently than how you imagined it.

Rock Off

When this Redditor envisioned his guitar and skull tattoo, he didn’t think it would look so childish! Rather than making him look like a cool rocker, it ended up having the opposite effect.

The Boy Who Lived

Everyone knows that Harry Potter is a worldwide phenomenon, even though the books came out over 20 years ago! Plenty of hardcore ‘Potterheads’ chose to get tattoos to represent their beloved franchise.

The Boy Who Lived

However, as time has passed, many fans have decided to move on from the series. As she was no longer interested in the escapades of the Hogwarts crew, this woman decided to have her lightning bolt tattoo lasered off. If only she could have used a vanishing spell!

Don’t Try This at Home

This has to be one of the most impressive tattoo removals on the list! After only one session, this huge back tattoo has almost completely disappeared. However, those with professionally applied tattoos can’t expect the same results. This has an amateur tattoo that had been done using a homemade tattoo machine!

Don’t Try This at Home

If you don’t use a professional-grade tattoo machine, the ink barely grazes the skin’s surface, so it’s much easier to remove. We don’t recommend trying this at home!

What Does That Mean?

Math and science geniuses will probably love this tattoo. The rest of us are left scratching our heads, trying to work out what this equation means or represents! The owner of this tattoo was probably sick of people asking them about it.

What Does That Mean?

So, they decided to have it lasered off. The tiny lettering is beginning to fade after only two sessions, so they are bound to be happy with the results. Maybe next time they will think before they ink!

The Fading Angel

Removing this huge tattoo is going to be a challenge. Due to the design’s large size and detailed shading, this is definitely going to take a number of appointments before it is completely removed.

The Fading Angel

We’ve established that you need to let your skin rest between sessions, so this person is going to have to get used to seeing their gladiator angel on their arm for some time yet. Hopefully, they have been saving, because this is going to be pricey.

No Need to Rush

If you are searching for a lesson in how not to approach tattoo removal, look no further. This person has decided to get two laser removal sessions in one week, which contradicts the advice of many experts and doctors.

No Need to Rush

You can tell that their skin is reacting badly to the treatment, as there seems to be some scarring and blistering. We understand that the early 2000s cartoon Invader Zim isn’t really relevant anymore, but there’s no need to rush!

A Floral Nightmare

And here we have a real whopper. This tattoo satisfies most of the major criteria for tattoos that are notoriously tough to remove. It’s a large piece using lots of brightly colored ink! Unfortunately, after four sessions, it still looks like this person has a lot of appointments ahead of them.

A Floral Nightmare

The tattoo looks like it has faded in places, but there’s some blistering and skin discoloration to be seen. This unlucky Reddit user better be careful!