Questions & Answers

Recovery & Downtime

You should be able to return to work and most normal activities immediately following your procedure, although strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 24 hours. Ideally, treatment sessions should be spaced at least 3-4 weeks apart. This is mainly because the laser itself does not actually remove the ink. It simply breaks the ink down into smaller pieces, en

Question: Will Laser Tattoo Removal Remove My Tattoo Completely?

Answer: It is quite possible that your tattoo will appear to have been removed completely, although usually some small amounts of ink remain, even if they are not readily visible to the casual observer. Of course, this is not the case with every patient or with every tattoo. Some ink colors (lighter, brighter, and flesh-toned colors) and skin types (darker and thicker skin types) make complete removal less likely. Location of the tattoo is also important in determining how well your tattoo responds to treatment.

Question: I Am Dark-Skinned. Will Laser Tattoo Removal Work on Me?

Answer: Yes, laser tattoo removal can be performed on people of color. Because both hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation are possible, your doctor will most likely proceed more conservatively in order to minimize the risk. This usually means that more sessions will be necessary, and total removal may not be possible if the ink color is too close to the skin color.
Darker-skinned people also tend to be more prone to forming keloid scars. People prone to keloids are generally not good candidates for laser tattoo removal. If you fear you might be prone to forming keloids, you should ask your doctor to perform a small test patch in an inconspicuous area before proceeding with laser tattoo removal.

Question: What Kinds of Tattoos Are Hardest to Remove?

Answer: The hardest tattoos to remove are:
  • newer tattoos
  • professional tattoos (Amateur tattoos are usually less dense and not as deep, which makes them easier to remove.)
  • light-colored or flesh-toned tattoos (including most permanent makeup tattoos)
  • tattoos with exotic or very vibrant colors (especially the newer flourescent inks)
  • tattoos on the lower extremities (Tattoos that are closer to the heart are easier to remove.)
  • tattoos on darker-skinned people (because the area must be treated more conservatively to minimize risk of scarring and pigmentation problems)

Question: Are There Some Ink Colors That Can't Be Removed?

Answer: Although most colors will respond at least somewhat to the laser, there are certainly some colors that are very difficult to remove and that may not reach full resolution. The hardest colors to remove are colors that are close to the patient's skin color, or that are colors highly present in skin. These colors include browns, yellows, oranges, pinks, whites, and purples. This is one of the reasons it is more difficult to remove cosmetic tattoos (permanent makeup).Other colors that can be difficult to remove (and in some cases cannot be removed at all) are the more exotic bright colors, pastels, and especially fluorescents.

Question: Can Permanent Makeup Be Removed?

Answer: In theory, it is possible to remove permanent makeup. However, many doctors refuse to perform laser tattoo removal on patients with these types of cosmetic tattoos. First, the colors used in permanent makeup are generally the colors that are hardest to remove, in part because they closely resemble colors found in the skin. Second, some doctors worry about their liability when dealing with an area as important as the face.

Who Is a Good Candidate
for Laser Tattoo Removal?

The best candidates for laser tattoo removal are patients who are generally in good health and who have a positive outlook and realistic expectations about the procedure's outcome. Although all skin types can be treated, patients with pale skin and dark tattoos usually enjoy the fastest and best results.

Who Is Not a Good Candidate
for Laser Tattoo Removal?

Laser tattoo removal should not be performed on those with compromised immune systems, including patients with diabetes, HIV or other immune disorders. If you tend to form keloids or hypertrophic scars, you are not a good candidate for laser tattoo removal. The same goes for people taking certain medications, especially those which make the body and skin more sensitive to light (i.e., accutane, some antibiotics, antidepressants, and others).

Try to keep the treated area elevated above the level of the heart for the first 24 hours. Apply ice to control swelling and the feeling of excessive heat. Keep the area scrupulously clean to avoid infection, and do NOT apply tight bandages or apply thick layers of occlusive substances such as petroleum jelly and the like. (This only traps heat, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do.) Avoid environments like hot tubs or steam baths.