Home Health Topics Health Reports Learning Centers Find a Dermatologist Medical Website Design

Tattoo Removal

Overview of Tattoo Removal

Tattoo removal must be tailored to the type of tattoo. When applying tattoos, artists use assorted inks and the sources of tattoo inks are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Amateur tattoos usually are closer to the surface of the skin and are more responsive to laser tattoo removal. Professional tattoos, which often are are deeper in the skin, usually require more laser treatments. Tattoos that have a variety of ink colors may be more difficult to remove and may require multiple laser wavelengths and possibly, more than one laser to treat.

Article Continues Below

Laser surgery is most common method used to remove tattoos. The preferred laser type is called a q-switched laser. These lasers, which safely pulse in the millionths of a second range, do not cause excess heat build up in the tissue, reducing scar formation. Laser tattoo removal requires multiple treatments and is considered to be the most effective and safest treatment.

Black tattoos (India ink) are typically the easiest to treat. Pastel colors, green, and sky blue tend to be more difficult to remove. In some cases, a tattoo cannot be completely removed using a laser, resulting in a "ghost" tattoo, with a faint outline remaining. Occasionally, a tattoo results in underlying skin scarring that becomes apparent when the colored portion is removed.

In most cases, the tattoo is treated every 6 weeks. The number of treatments required depends on the colors, location, and depth of the tattoo, as well as the patient's skin type. In patients who have darker skin, more conservative treatments are needed to prevent scarring.

Alternative methods for tattoo removal include dermabrasion ("sanding" the tattoo off the skin) and surgical excision, in which a scalpel is used to remove the tattoo and the wound is stitched. These methods are more likely to result in scarring.

There are risks involved with tattoo removal. Risks include scarring, infection, and skin discoloration. In some cases, it is impossible to remove the tattoo completely.

Physician-developed and -monitored.
Original Date of Publication: 27 Jul 2006
Reviewed by: Christopher J. Dannaker, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 16 Apr 2008

©, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Jon Lovitz Gets Serious About Psoriasis
  • How to Control Psoriasis This Winter
  • New Cholesterol Drug Shows Great Potential
  • Study Slams Dosing Instructions for Childhood Medicines
  • Kids Enjoy Low-Sugar Cereals, Study Finds
  • Alpha-Carotene Linked to Longevity, Study Suggests
  • Higher Risk of ADHD in Children with High Blood Pressure
  • New Discovery Assists in Cancer Research
  • Can Probiotics Help Kids With Upset Stomachs?
  • Could Feeding Infants Formula Help Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
  • Race, Gender and Location Influence Risk of Hypertension
  • FDA Approves New Drug for Late-Stage Breast Cancer
  • Study Compares Treatment Options for Women With DCIS
  • Diabetes and Depression: A Two-Way Street
  • Study Finds Common Chemicals May Hinder Immune Functioning
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants Linked to Cardiovascular Disease
  • Rates of Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases Rising, CDC Reports
  • Prostate Cancer Treatment May Promote Colorectal Cancer
  • Secondhand Smoke Kills Over 600,000 Annually
  • Smoking Increases Risks of Rheumatoid Arthritis Among African Americans
  • A good tip for the regenerati... (12)
  • Skin scars (2)
  • Never consider laser hair rem... (2)
  • Spider Vein Removal (24)
  • Overview (24)
  • Stretch Marks Removal (24)
  • Laser Hair Removal (24)
  • Tattoo Removal (24)
  • Scar Removal (24)
  • STRETCH MARKS... (12)



Alternative Medicine

Animal Health

Avian Flu







General Health


LGBT Health

Male Health

Mental Health





Pediatric Health





Senior Health

Sexual Health

Sleep Disorder




Women's Health

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

This page last modified: 01 Oct 2010

Remedy Health Media logo
Magazines: Diabetes Focus® | MediZine's Healthy Living™ | Remedy® | RemedyKids™ | RemedyMD™
Websites:® | RemedyLife™ | | |
© 2010 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.