Tattoo Removal

Tattoo Removal

Topic Overview

Options for removing tattoos

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 tattoo.

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.

Related Information

Credits

Current as ofSeptember 23, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.