Treatment to remove a tattoo is not always successful. There are many
ways to try and remove tattoos, including:
Laser treatment. This is the treatment of choice.
Many types of lasers have been used to remove tattoos. Different lasers remove
different types of ink better than others. For example, the Q-switched ruby
laser and YAG lasers effectively remove blue-black and red ink but may not
remove green ink. Light blue ink usually cannot be removed with a laser. Be sure to ask your doctor which kind of laser is
better for your specific tattoo.
Surgery to remove the layers of
the skin (excision).
Chemicals to irritate and remove the skin
(dermabrasion or salabrasion).
There are several reasons tattoos are hard to remove. Tattoo
inks aren't regulated for color density, and the ink is pierced into the skin
at different depths. Color also affects how the tattoo fades. Dark blue and black tattoos are the
easiest to fully remove, while green and yellow tattoos are the hardest. It may
take several sessions or several different types of treatments to remove your
Do not try any home techniques for tattoo removal, such as the use of a hot
cigarette or heated coat hanger. The scarring and
infection rates are very high with these methods.
If you have a tattoo that you would like to have removed, talk with
your doctor about what steps you should take. The cost of tattoo
removal may not be covered by insurance.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.