Tattoo Removal

How Effective is Tattoo Removal?

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Published: 03.19.2021
Updated: 11.01.2023

Does tattoo removal work?

Absolutely—if you choose the right technique. Laser removal is a highly effective and safe way to remove a tattoo. For most people, it can completely eliminate an old tattoo, although in some cases, the client and specialist may determine that substantial fading will meet the client’s goals best.

A tattoo can often be entirely removed through laser removal. No other technique has been proven as effective for tattoo removal. We see clients every day who are completing their tattoo removal journey with no remaining ink. Needless to say, they are ecstatic!

How effective is tattoo removal on darker skin? A skilled laser specialist will often fade the ink to the point where it becomes unnoticeable. Many colors will become invisible once faded to a certain extent, depending on the client’s exact skin tone. A skilled specialist will evaluate the best course of action for a particular client, determining whether full removal or fading will meet the client’s goals best.

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What Is the Most Effective Tattoo Removal Method?

Today’s top-of-the-line lasers—namely, PicoWay—have the ability to use every wavelength necessary to target every color of ink. While some lasers used widely in the past, like PicoSure, can only break down certain colors of ink, today’s more advanced lasers can handle breaking down a much broader spectrum of colors. That’s why laser removal with PicoWay is far more effective than other tattoo removal methods.

How effective is tattoo removal with other methods? You may have heard about tattoo removal creams or other home remedies like lemon juice. Although these techniques may sound harmless at first glance, they can actually expose your skin to significant damage. Exposing your skin to sunlight after doing a lemon juice treatment can even cause burns!
And tattoo removal creams actually peel away the skin using a powerful acid, which can cause lasting scarring. Furthermore, these treatments don’t actually eliminate the ink from the dermis, the deeper layer of skin where it is located. It’s not just a matter of wasting time and money on such methods—it’s a matter of causing permanent damage.

Who Should Get Laser Removal?

You may be wondering if laser removal is for you, particularly if you have a darker skin tone. Outdated equipment (which certain facilities still use today) cannot safely remove ink from all skin tones. Fortunately, today’s high-end lasers can remove ink from any skin tone when operated by a highly trained specialist.

Make sure you trust the person who will be handling your laser removal and ensure that they will be using the best available equipment: the PicoWay laser. People with darker skin tones have a higher risk of experiencing issues like hypopigmentation if they go to the wrong facility. This involves lightening of the skin in the area where the tattoo was removed, which is often permanent. Hypopigmentation is usually completely preventable, however.
When the right laser is in the hands of the right specialist, laser removal will be extremely unlikely to cause this issue. Likewise, hyperpigmentation from tattoo removal(when the skin in the tattooed area becomes darker than the surrounding skin) is unlikely to happen as well.

How Long After Laser Tattoo Removal Will the Tattoo Fade?

Tattoo removal can take a year to two years, depending on factors like the size of the tattoo as well as the age and colors of the ink. A black and gray tattoo that has already faded may take less time than a tattoo with colors like turquoise and lime green.

In regard to the number of sessions needed, most people achieve their goals in 6 to 12 treatments. Sessions must be spaced at least six weeks apart, allowing time for the skin to heal completely between sessions. This also gives the body plenty of time to expel the ink between sessions, so you won’t be overtaxing it.

After each treatment, the immune system begins flushing out the affected ink (the ink that the laser has broken down in that session). You may not see the results immediately due to redness and scabbing, which are a completely normal part of the process. As your skin heals over the next couple of weeks, you will probably notice that the ink has faded. Further fading may occur in the remainder of the time before your next session since the body is still actively working to remove the ink particles that have been targeted by the laser.

What Does a Removed Tattoo Look Like?

The results of tattoo removal depend on the client’s goals. Many clients seek to fade for a coverup, meaning the old tattoo must be lightened substantially. It will look like a greatly faded version of the unwanted tattoo. The degree of fading depends on the design of the client’s new tattoo. Those who want a tattoo with more negative (blank) space within it will need more substantial fading than those who want a darker, traditional-style design.

Others want the tattoo to disappear completely, and they don’t want anything in its place. For these clients, a complete removal is typically possible. This erases all visible traces of the tattoo. You wouldn’t even know it had ever been there!

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Importance of Tattoo Removal Aftercare

Tattoo removal aftercare will help you achieve the best possible results (and avoid any complications like hyperpigmentation). Proper aftercare plays a major role in ensuring the effectiveness of tattoo removal. After each tattoo removal session, follow the aftercare guidelines given to you by your specialist, such as the following:

  1. Keeping the area clean and dry for three days.
  2. Not engaging in rigorous exercise for the first 24 hours.
  3. Applying hydrocortisone cream as directed by your specialist.
  4. Avoiding sun exposure.
  5. Not picking at any blisters or scabs.

Check in with your specialist about any questions that arise. In most cases, they will simply provide peace of mind that any symptoms you notice, like redness, are a completely normal part of the process.

Laser Removal of Tattoos: Before and After

How effective is tattoo removal and what does a removed tattoo look like? We are thrilled to have helped innumerable clients remove tattoos they no longer want. Here are several before and after photos that show how effective tattoo removal is.

Tattoo removal is effective and safe on dark skin
Tattoo removal work for dark, heavy ink
Heavy script is history after laser removal

Before & After Gallery

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Dr Josh Weitz Dr. Josh Weitz Board Certified Physician

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We’re on a mission to give you the most straightforward, easy and efficient laser tattoo removal experience. Your estimate will be entirely bespoke to your tattoo; the size, the colors, the ink. It won’t take long and afterwards you’ll have a plan to finally get rid of your unwanted tattoo and get back to being you.

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